It’s Time For A Regime Change?

It’s time for a Regime Change in the GOP

 The Red Coats Are Coming


In a recent letter to Senate Leader, Dominic Pileggi, ( Scott Wagner called him out on his lack of leadership. In four years of a Republican controlled government, Governor, House and Senate we’ve seen no real reform legislation come to reality. With Governor Corbett down in the polls we’re seeing attempts at a failed comeback that included a major win in a debate that did nothing to offer any sense that Governor Corbett can actually win the November election.   In fact, it would appear that the leadership in the GOP has spent the last 4 years planning for this defeat. Senator Wagner hits the nail on the head as to the reason behind this.

Over the past few months we’ve been pointing out a collusion between public sector unions and the GOP that implies a partnership with anti-reform legislation. In the meantime Pennsylvania’s credit rating slips downward and more people are leaving this state, shaking the dust off their sandals from this state as they do.

We watch as Pennsylvania only makes the top 10% when it comes to economic negatives in the country. While the GOP tries to spin all of this, it’s not working. The people in this state know that this spin doesn’t change a thing when it comes to their own bottom lines. Things are bad in this state.

While we’ve worked to advance SB/HB 76 we’ve seen time and again that when the bill makes forward progress leadership in the House and the Senate comes in and places obstacles in the path. SB 76 was on the calendar for two consecutive days to move this bill to the Appropriations Committee and on both days the bill was stopped, not by a vote of the Senate but by an act of leadership.  Immediately after the vote in the Finance Committee, Dominic Peliggi went to the press to appease his public sector union allies and let them no that there would be no vote on SB 76.    He is apparently oblivious to the statewide support for this legislation and is more concerned with the PSEA opinion of him, than ours.  That’s not leadership unless you are leading the way to kill one more reform bill.

It’s not just SB/HB 76; school choice, paycheck protection, right to work…at every step of the way the obstacles to this legislation is the leadership.

It doesn’t take a lot of investigative digging to find out why. Leadership is beholding to powerful unions in this state and they are all too willing to sell the rest of this state into the chains of servitude to appease their campaign contributing union buddies.

A website ( that tracks union influence through campaign contributions reveals a lot about the power being exerted over Pennsylvania Politics with people like Pileggi. The PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association), AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) and SEIU (Service Employees International) are buying votes regardless of our legislators attempts at claiming that these generous campaign contributions have no undue influence on policy. It is absolutely ridiculous for any reasonable thinking person to accept that these unions are willing to spend this kind of money because it has no influence on our legislators.

As we’ve already discussed in previous blogs, this reaches beyond campaign contributions directly to candidates. The Unions work through powerful lobbying firms like Long, Nyquist and Associates who double as campaign consulting firms. Their desire to control elections to keep those campaign coffers full will go so far as to violate internal rules in their attempts to hold on to that power.  Then they will brazenly continue to violate those rules in the promotion of a candidate with absolutely no accountability to the rules or to the people.  Yet some will still not see through this ploy and vote to empower that candidate because the party says so.  These lock-step voters are part of the problem.  If you violate principles you violate the trust between the people and their party and we no longer have any allegiance to do their bidding because of their actions.  It’s time for them to stop blaming everyone else and to look into their own souls.  They may have compromised their principles but in doing so they violate our principles as well and they have no problem with this whatsoever.

Whenever a reform-minded piece of legislation starts to move there are hearings on that legislation. During these hearings the PSEA will send out representation, along with them you find the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center whose administrative board is made up of members of the PSEA and other Union representatives. You’ll also probably hear from the Keystone Research Center which is actually a part of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center made up of the same members.

When it involves education reform, you have the appointed members of the Department of Education many of whom have ties to the PSEA and the same applies to the members of the PSBA (Pennsylvania School Board Association).

If you’ve attended the Lebanon 9-12 Projects meetings on Property Tax Independence you’ve probably seen the huge books that represent the Public School Code of 1949 and Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Code, both of which contain massive unique protections to State public sector Union employees. These unique protections permeate our laws and regulations as evidence by AG Kane’s recent pornography political scheme where she stated that she couldn’t release names of individuals involved in the distribution of pornography on government time, in state government positions, because they were UNION employees.

None of this will change until leadership in the GOP changes. That’s not going to happen unless we hold our own legislators feet to the fire to force that change in leadership and that include our State Party Committee representation because that’s part of the problem. In this person’s opinion, we need a regime change within the party. That regime change has to be through a process where the GOP stops attacking those who serve as the conscience of the party to remind them of the rule of law in this Commonwealth.  They can’t keep pointing at the Democrats when they’re doing the same thing and continue to expect the people to rally behind them when they get themselves in political peril.

We can’t continue to empower people like Long, Nyquist and Associates and think things are going to change. We can’t continue to allow leadership that sells party principles to the highest bidder or candidates who are willing to hire campaign consulting firms that are working to advance the PSEA, SEIU and their ilk.

Let’s face the facts, we aren’t going to see real reform in this state until we put an end to this elitist mentality within the GOP who is only really interested in $100 and $200 dollar functions with the candidates that a great many of the people who they claim to represent simply can’t afford. This buying and selling votes for political leverage that always comes down to being paid for through legal extortion in taxes is destroying this state and we have more than our share of Republicans who are willing to sell us down this river.

From what I see, the people of this state are angry.  They are angry because they feel betrayed and nowhere is this more evident than within the Grand Old Party.   Each election cycle we get charlatans proclaiming to be conservatives and standing up for certain issues. The campaign rhetoric isn’t working like it used to work and people are getting wise that the campaign rhetoric is, in reality, a lie. They have no more intention of fighting for reform than those who are fighting against it. In more cases then not, they are all too willing to get in bed with those fighting against reform.

They can’t be that blind to what this is doing to this state. They have to see that this policy is damaging this state and placing the citizens of this Commonwealth in servitude to a system of government that has no regard for The Commonwealth’s Constitution.   If they’ll put their hands on a Bible and then lie in their Oath of Office, they’ll lie to me and you. They see but they don’t care so long as they can live and then retire in a comfort zone that the majority of this state will never see but have been taxed to the limit to provide for them.

Frankly, I don’t see a path to victory for Tom Corbett as Governor as he continually refuses to listen to the voice of the people and take a solid stand on issues that are most important to them.    Someone is advising him against this but ultimately he is going to be held accountable. I do see that the leadership in the House and Senate as well as the leadership of the Grand Old Party bear as much of the responsibility for this defeat because of their refusal to address any of the reform minded legislation placed in front of them. We’ve seen all too often when someone in leadership does take a stand they say something so incredibly stupid that it damages the efforts of moving the legislation forward. They can’t be that stupid so I have to think it’s intentional. Then again, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they are that stupid.

Quite frankly, I fear a Tom Wolf administration….not just because of Tom Wolfe but because we have too many Republicans in key positions in the House and Senate who are all too willing to give Tom Wolf what he wants to make sure those contributions from the PSEA and the SEIU keep rolling in.   Wolf makes Ed Rendell look like a fiscal conservative. His campaign is enough to prove to all of us that transparency in his administration will be non-existent.  The only reason he is where he is at in this election cycle is because the GOP has spent that last 4 years doing everything in its power to alienate its base. Party Unity to them means the voters putting on their political party chains and marching in step to leadership no matter what impact it has on our daily lives. They decide who gets a seat at the table is for sure there are NO SEATS Reserved for the Tea Party or other like-minded patriot groups in this state. As soon as individuals rise up, as they did on the Lebanon County Committee, the likes of Long, Nyquist and Associates target that area and will seek to destroy them even to the point of using the home of the District Attorney to wage a campaign against their own party and then call that action UNITY. If you happen to point out a rule of law to them, you become an ANARCHIST just like the Democrats throw around the word RACIST. Honesty is irrelevant to them. So are you and me. All they really care about is power and that power is exerted over you and me. Local control to these people doesn’t mean our control of government but government’s control over us. That’s servitude, not freedom.

It is time for a regime change. The Grand Old Party isn’t so grand any more, not to me. I was once proud to be registered to the party of Principle but those principles no longer matter and that disease has spread from local government up through the stream all the way to the river of federal Government. As I’ve said before, this battle has to begin at the local level. You cut off the streams that feed the river.

It’s time to insist that our legislators change leadership. If they won’t, then it’s time to get rid of those legislators. We need people in these positions that are accountable to the citizens of this state, not legislators who will sell their political souls for campaign contributions.   That means calling out those legislators who are on the Public Sector union payroll at the expense of the taxpayers. That also means calling out legislators who hire political consulting firms that also work for the PSEA, the SEIU and others like them.

No more games, no more excuses. Most importantly, no more lies to the voters of this state.

Where do we go from here?

Since the Finance Committee vote on Senate Bill 76 our opposition has ramped up their efforts to try and stop any future progress on this important piece of legislation.  While this has happened I’ve been getting phone calls and emails suggesting that all is lost because the legislation may not make it through the Senate and House by the end of this year.

From the beginning we have told everyone that we are in for the legislative fight of our life.  While the focus from the public has generally been solely on the elimination of the school property tax, the other part of this struggle has largely been ignored.  This is an education finance reform bill.  That shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us.  In David Baldinger’s presentation he has explained over and over again that Property Tax alone wasn’t the problem.  David’s presentation always began by explaining the premise that its the way we finance education is the problem.

The School Property Tax issue is only one of the means by which education is funded in the state.  The current 6% sales tax collected by the state also goes to education funding as does local EIT taxes.  There’s also Federal grant money.  That 6% sales tax is filtered out to the school district based on a seriously flawed funding formula that needs to be repaired but the legislators have known this and have done nothing, much like the problems created by the pension expansions.  It’s not likely they’ll do anything with the flawed funding formula or the pension problem until they have to.  After all, one of the arguments against HB 76 (the House version of the bill) was raising the question of how the pensions would be paid for if they eliminated the school property tax.

Trying to fix all the problems in Harrisburg through one piece of legislation is ridiculous and we knew that.  We focused on the education finance reform through the School Property Tax.  The other aspects of education finance reform are battles for other bills on another day.  Let’s not, however, overlook the fact that Senate Bill 76 goes a long way towards making those other bills and other debates happen.  That’s part of the problem in this struggle to get this bill passed.  Our legislators know what happens when this passes….they will have to fix the problems that they created.

We often hear about the battle for School Property Tax going on for the past 30 years.  That’s true.  The battle for SB 76 is shorter.  In this unique version of Property Tax Elimination, this fight has been going on for about 3 years.  Both The Senate and the House Bill had to be reintroduced back at a time when we only had a handful of sponsors in the House and the Senate.  Some of our opposition still resorts to previous versions of property tax elimination while trying to pretend that SB 76 is one of those previous bills.  It’s not, it never was.

SB 76 is a responsible education funding finance reform bill that looked at the problem and the obstacles in the solution to that problem to draft a bill the attempts to find a fair and equitable system of funding that protects the interests of the school districts while protecting the interests of the property owners.  It is a balanced bill that also sought to protect the interests of the business community as well, especially the small business community which remains the second largest employers in the state.  It is a bill that recognizes the legislative responsibility under the Commonwealth Constitution to provide for a thorough and efficient system of education while preserving other portions of our Commonwealth Constitution in the Protection of property and in the preservation of the uniformity clause.

chart 1The existing system is unsustainable.  The IFO report on this legislation proved that beyond any shadow of a doubt as evidenced by the above graph.  Since 2001 the Property Tax burden has continued to increase greater than Personal Income.  In 2008/09 when Income was hit very hard, the school property tax continued to increase.  We also know that with the coming underfunded Pension problem it’s only going to get worse.  We need a responsible solution to this problem.  Not some hackneyed plan that is only going to create more problems like pension reform or the ridiculous education funding formula from 1991.  We need a plan that explains exactly how the replacement revenue from the School Property Tax will be enacted…a plan that continues to protect the interests of the people, the school districts and the business community…a plan that places a uniform responsibility on everyone in the participation of funding for our public school system.  There is only one bill that does this…SB 76.

As the bill made its way through the Senate Finance Committee, it crossed a major hurdle.  For the first time since the bills were introduced (HB and SB 76) this Committee decided that this bill deserved the full discussion of an entire Body and moved the bill forward.

During that time we have always stated that the real battle for this legislation is going to have to take place from the grassroots efforts.  We went so far as to say that you have to treat these bills as though it is a candidate that you want to see get elected.  That’s why David and others worked at promoting the Town hall approach to getting the word out on these bills and those town halls have always been effective in bringing on more supporters.  It was going to take more than internalizing the issues within the grassroots coalitions, you had to reach out beyond the supporting citizen members.  Some of the groups realized this very early and in the past few months that message has really begun to resonate.

We also stressed the need for word of mouth communication: Family, Friends and neighbors-telling anyone who will listen.  We’ve seen that ramp up in the last few months as well.  Yet one more aspect was grassroot candidacy for the issue.   Two years ago, this legislation was just a part of a platform,  during this election cycle it is becoming a centerpiece across the state. even to the point of candidates getting in this race because of their passion to see this move forward.  And it has worked.

The Senate Finance Committee vote gave us statewide press on this issue for the first time.  Think about this, when you consider the number of bills that go through the legislative body in a years time…how many of those bills get actual press coverage.  Most people are completely unaware of what is happening with bills in Harrisburg but we have more people in this state that not only know about the bill, they know the bill number.  And yes, I know that there are still a lot of people who don’t know.  We are changing that though.

Let’s assume that the bills do not pass this session.  Let’s assume that these bills have to be reintroduced next year.  Do we quit the race because we haven’t got to the finish line yet or do we think this issue is important enough to take the momentum we have seen and ride that wave to its inevitable conclusion?

I know the answer to that question from the large percentage of our supporters but for those newer to this fight , now is not the time to lose heart.

Our opposition has tried to spin the slow process of this bill while asking us to ignore the monumental reform this legislation brings.  Our opposition has taken every step forward and tried to make that forward step look like one more failure.  Our opposition has tried to convince others there is no plan in spite of the evidence of the forward efforts of this legislation showing that there is a plan…one that is flexible enough to adapt to what needs to be done based on what is happening while staying focused on the ultimate goal.

We’ve had more than our share of obstacles thrown in our way.   Each time this has happened we’ve seen that core group of supporters rally together to overcome that obstacle and keep moving this issue forward.  The spirit of unity behind the common cause has kept us alive when it could have killed this effort a long time ago.  Sometimes we have seen individuals more interested in self-promotion than issue promotion get out there and do damage to the effort as they ran off like loose cannons but that core group of support mobilized and ran successful damage control efforts.  Again, it made the task more difficult than it needs to be; it became one more obstacle but the core group of supporters would not let it defeat them or their efforts to get this done.

As I write this we are still seeing this sort of activity.  Individuals who are promoting their own agendas while trying to divide the united front to get this through the legislative body.  Within the core framework we know the truth about what has been done and what is being done to get this across the finish line but there are others who don’t.  This divisive faction wants to generate a mistrust of those who are leading on this issue and so they focus on attacking anyone who is perceived as leading on this issue.  This divisive faction spreads the myth of naivety or outright incompetence but when it comes from individuals who claim to support the effort, you have to wonder who they are trying to kid.

We have every reason to feel frustrated at the amount of time its taken to get this far but don’t let the detractors fool you into ignoring what we have accomplished.  It’s all part of a process of bringing real, responsible and beneficial reform to this state.

We have gone from 13 Senate co-sponsors to 26.  No one single effort accomplished that.  It was the combined efforts of a lot of people including some legislators who are constantly being attacked for allegedly not doing enough because some individuals have personal vendetta’s against those legislators.  As the bill advances in the Senate, House members are going to be looking into this legislation once again.  We have a chance to make sure that our vote in November matters on advancing this issue in the house.  We don’t need candidates who waffle on SB 76 feigning support while attacking everything that’s been done to advance it..  If they aren’t recognizing and supporting the grassroots efforts, they aren’t supporting the legislation no matter what they tell you.

The effort of getting a majority of co-sponsors in the Senate happened because of the town halls, letters, phone calls, emails, rallies, petitions, door-to-door efforts, direct mail campaigns, signs, T-Shirts, Letters To The Editor, Newspaper Articles in support, Legislative efforts, the work of the amendment process, PAR…and the list goes on.  In other words it happened because of the people who worked to make this happen.  By that I don’t simply men people whose names have become synonymous with School Property Tax Independence…I mean all of the supporters working together in a united front to make it happen.

We’ve done this with major opposition by major players in this state like the PSEA who has done everything in their power to spread lies and misinformation about this legislation.  The efforts of the PSEA is advanced every time we allow another person who claims to be a supporter further perpetuate those lies in their attacks of what has been accomplished and what is being advanced as we speak.

Real reform is more than just tapping into anger and then exploiting that anger for whatever motivations; personal promotion or otherwise. Real reform is about working for responsible and principled legislation. Its about building coalitions’ of support based on sound moral and fiscal policy. Real Reform will require the input of the people in this type of legislation and will require their active participation as unpaid citizen lobbyists who fight for the principles because they understand the importance of those principles.

Real Reform will come about through incremental changes that may not give all of us everything we want in one clean sweep but starts moving us in a direction that will make other reforms possible, some of those reforms are necessary if Pennsylvania wants to see itself as being once again in the top half of performing states instead of in the bottom half where we constantly find ourself.

Sometimes those incremental steps are big steps, like it is with SB 76.  Sometimes those steps will be smaller.  The important thing to remember is that no matter how difficult the struggle, the struggle must continue until victory is realized.  The battle for complete property tax independence doesn’t end with SB 76 but it is a major step in that battle and pardon me if I boast a little about this legislation.

This is the best darned piece of legislation in bringing real legislative reform to this state through the elimination of one aspect of an archaic and broken system of taxation and replacing it with a fair and equitable system of taxation that I have ever seen.  By shifting education funding from the mythology of estimated property worth determined by how much they need, we’ll see a system of taxation based on income and spending capabilities applied to each individual  uniformly exactly the way the our Commonwealth Constitution says it should be.   By capping future spending to economic growth we’ll see a more efficient system of education.  For all their excuses, there is no reason that so many of our public schools under perform home schooling students or students in alternative education programs even though the spending in those alternative schools is often much lower per student than our public school system.  By including no-exemption voter referendums for any local special projects we restore real local control to the people in the school districts.  A bad decision made by a local school board is a decision that still has to be paid for long after voters can decide to remove that school board from office.  Since we are the ones who will ultimately have to pay for it, shouldn’t we be the ones deciding.

If I have to continue this fight next year…so be it.  We’ve come too far in the battle for School Property Tax independence to end it now.  With Cornwallis and Yorktown on the horizon, do we really just want to go back to Boston and pretend that it all wasn’t worth it?

Like I sated earlier, we have a right to be frustrated…a right to be angry,  We have to channel that anger in the right direction and seek out positive results but continuing to do what we know has worked while targeting areas of the state where it needs to happen.  That’s already happening so we’re on the right path!  Let’s continue this struggle and when the naysayers and detractors come out, let’s spank them soundly with the facts and then send them on their way.

Never forget what we have accomplished…that history is important.  When someone comes along and pretends that those things didn’t happen to try and divide us to stop us from doing what has worked…why should we give them credence by allowing them to make these statements unchallenged.

Stand up and be proud of what you have accomplished in this fight. Now let’s go out there and responsibly do what it takes to get this across the finish line.

Can we get back to the Issues?

While I can’t vote in the 102nd district, I have been following this race very closely and a post by Russ Diamond about Wanda Bechtold as a write in candidate ( has really gotten under my skin.

Now, as I’ve said many times, we don’t elect gods, we elect human beings and human beings have flaws so there is no such thing as a perfect candidate.  None of the candidates in the 102nd race are going to be perfect but can we stop with the Wanda is a flawed Candidate while pretending that Russ has no flaws?  Can we get off the trash the opponent bandwagon to fight for the issues?

In spite of years of being rejected by the voters, now he wants us to believe that Wanda shouldn’t be running as a candidate because she didn’t win a write-in during the Primary.  What happened to the Russ that told everyone that they needed to be involved, to not just look at the odds or the money but to look at the importance of the race?  That’s the sort of rhetoric that is betrayed by his actions. If losing a Primary is enough to keep you from pursuing office, what does it say about Russ?  That’s not saying that Russ shouldn’t be in the race, it’s just saying that Wanda has every right to run as a Write-in Candidate as Russ does to be the Republican nominee.

I get the split the vote issue what I don’t get is why Russ didn’t apply that to himself when he ran for the House as a Libertarian candidate in 2004 or when he launched the Draft Russ Diamond political committee of 2006 as he launched his bid for Governor.  Apparently what was once okay for Russ is now not okay for somebody else, especially if it challenges him.  It’s that sort of double speak that has really bothered me.  Again, I don’t fault Russ for running…I do however fault him because his words now seem to betray his former actions.  It demonstrates an inconsistency that makes me uncomfortable.

The double speak on House Bill 76 where he claims to be a supporter but proposes a different plan is just one more of those “What is truth?” moments for me.  While during the last two years in Lebanon County we haven’t heard a peep from Russ Diamond to support the efforts of local grassroots efforts to get this done, he still says he supports it.  When we do hear from Russ it’s any chance he gets to take shots at the legislation and trying to diminish the progress made by the grassroots efforts to push this bill forward.  And this is nothing new.  He took cheap shot at efforts after the first rally in Support of this legislation 2 years ago.  The push for an alternative plan just days before the vote in the Senate Finance Committee makes it even harder to believe he really does support House Bill 76.  Immediately after that press release, Diamond supporters converged on the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition Facebook page where they attacked the coordinator of the effort to get this bill finished, claiming that SB 76 was dead and it was time for plan B.

I had a meeting with Russ some time ago where he gave us this alternative plan.  There were some other things that were discussed that were totally out of line with the purposes and goals of the PTCC and we simply let it go at that.  Russ asked us to sit on that alternative plan and not make it public and we were more than happy to comply because we knew it would just be one more distractions from getting SB 76 passed.  What we didn’t know was that he planned on using this as a cornerstone when he announced his candidacy and that whenever progress was made on pushing SB 76 he would again push this alternate plan just as he most recently did.  He didn’t tell us he was going to planning on running, but I do feel that his intention was to use the PTCC for his own purposes.  I am not alone in that perception.  All involved in that meeting save Russ, felt the same way.  Once Russ announced, we knew about the alternate plan and we also knew it was only a matter of time before he’s advocate for it.  We kept our word…Russ did not keep his.  He told us that his plan was only to enacted once it was certain that SB/HB 76 failed.  Russ knows that this played into the endorsement of Wanda by the PTCC.  That being said, her work in the past to advance it had more weight in that decision than Russ’s actions with the alternative plan.  She got the endorsement because she earned it.

Another supporter then writes a blog for the Lebanon Daily News, again hitting Senate Bill 76 for what she’s sees as flaws, while not really understanding the mechanics of the bill and then closes with a veiled hit at Wanda implying she’s a one issue candidate.  Apparently she hasn’t been on Wanda’s page to see that while she sees the importance of SB/HB 76 she also supports other issues. She’s been willing to take those Issues out to the people in public, not invitation only, town halls.

I’ve known both Wanda and Russ Diamond for a liitle while.  I know that Wanda has worked with us on the Property tax Independence Issue.  I also know she is working with us to promote other issues as well, like Right To Work and Prevailing Wage.  Wanda was doing this long before she decided to become an candidate in the 102nd.  She came out to meetings and town halls on these issues and helped us when we asked for help to push these issues.  Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Russ.  That’s why this whole effort to promote Wanda as Wacky Wanda gets under my skin.  It dismisses the hard work she’s done because she’s challenging Russ Diamond and that’s not enough reason to me.  Wanda’s voluntary work in the efforts of supporting our troops is a commendable commitment to community service that demonstrates something of Wanda’s character.  The Lebanon 9-12 Project has an Adopt-A-Soldier program and it has been a pleasure to be able to work with Wanda at times as these efforts have crossed paths in support of one another.  After retiring from the Military her commitment to the troops didn’t end. It was a lifetime commitment.  That same attitude of commitment can be seen in other areas of her life and the volunteer work she has done.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that with Wanda, I see more than just a campaign rhetoric promise, I have seen active participation in doing what she can to make a difference.

Russ has referred to SB/HB 76 as a scheme and I beg to differ.  It is not a scheme….its a well thought out plan that responsibly places a replacement funding mechanism to provide for future education costs capped to the the rate of inflation while eliminating the School Property Tax.  There is nothing like this is Russ’s plan and frankly, in my opinion it’s his plan that is the scheme.  It’s a scheme to divert away from HB/SB 76 while attempting to undermine the efforts of the grassroots coalitions across the state and the work they’ve done.  Like most schemes of this nature part of the aim is to divide in its attempts to conquer and the efforts of the supporters of his plan are trying to do exactly that.  For the most part that has been unsuccessful.  In pushing this alternate plan when he did has turned that effort into the sideshow distraction.

In calling Wanda’s campaign a sideshow distraction he is not only attempting to insult Wanda, he is insulting those who support her because they feel she is the better candidate.  Again, why is it only a sideshow distraction because it’s Wanda, but when Russ did it he claims to have been fighting for the people.  Can’t the same also be true of Wanda?

A little over a year ago, when Russ stated he was leaving politics to pursue the life of a trucker, I have to admit to being somewhat relieved.  In every election involving Russ we spend more time talking about Russ and his past then we do about the issues at hand that impact the voters on a day to day basis.  I have had serious issues with Russ as a candidate but I do feel that every one seeking this office has a right to do just that.  I was looking forward to a Primary Race where the frame of the dialogue would be focused on issues like Property Tax, Right To Work, Paycheck Protection and then Russ threw his hat into the ring for this election cycle.  I’ll admit to being frustrated because I feared that once again the issues would go out the window.  I wasn’t wrong.  Even when Wanda tried to talk about the issues of Property Tax, Right To Work and Paycheck Protection at her announcement as a candidate out comes the Diamond supporters to drag the campaign down into the mud again with one of them acting more like a Rodeo Clown doing what they could to try and cause a disturbance.  That seems to be the game plan.  Hit piece web-sites thinly veiled delibertely using the Camp Wanda effort to create confusion.  Personal attacks of supporters of Wanda even to the point of implying that wearing Red Shirts makes them a Communist even though a Red State is clearly defined as a Republican State so that implication would have to be carried to the logical conclusion that some of Diamond Supporters think that Republicans are communists.  Laugh if you want to but the same leap being made about Camp Wanda’s Red Shirts can be applied to their way of thinking.  Not happy with just attacking Wanda, Russ’s supporters extend those attacks going after the integrity of the PTCC while taking cheap shots at David Baldinger and other members of the PTCC.  Some have suggested that this is Russ sending out his minions but we have no proof of that…what we do have proof us is that during this entire time Diamond has never come in to these groups or pages to try and set the record straight or to refute the actions of these people.

Equally disturbing was the notion that our standing up to the Executive Committee for their decision to try and remove Diamond from the ballot was maligned to become us defending Russ Diamond.  It wasn’t.  It was about defending the voice of the people in free and open elections.  By focusing only on some war between the Long’s and Diamond, the real issue of what the Executive Committee did in violation of the by-laws was ignored.  As soon as we go back into that territory and talk about how some members of the committee are still violating those by-laws, it immediately turns back into this Long/Diamond affair.  Frankly, I find the actions of the Executive committee to be wrong but this constant harping on Wanda as a write-in candidate from the Diamond campaign isn’t any different.  What we’re still hearing is technicalities to try and have people removed from the voting process.

When we did stand up to the Committee some attacked us as somehow defending Domestic Violence and when I made it clear that I do not support Domestic Violence and that I abhor such actions I get an email telling me that I was wrong in that statement and that I was somehow accusing Russ of being guilty of the same.  That’s bull.  That’s just more character assassination.  I don’t know what happened before those PFA’s were filed and both sides tell conflicting stories.  Of course, only one side has ever really gotten press on it.

There have been so many things that went on behind the scenes in this election cycle and it all started once Diamond through his hat into the ring.  That’s not to claim that he is responsible but I find it more and more difficult to believe that he hasn’t played a role in it.  That started long before the flyer that went out from Wanda Bechtold and no Russ, that is not going to go down in history as the most underhanded hit piece in political history.  There have been worse including flyers that had absolutely NO basis in truth.

For me it really boils down to this.  We had a chance to start fresh in the General Election.  We had a chance to go into the General Election and tackle the big issues.  To their credit both Bob McAteer and Wanda Bechtold began that way.  When Russ had a chance to truly applaud the successful victory of SB 76 he used that time to diminish that success.  I’m sorry but “Pleased as Punch” and then almost dismissing the impact of that vote doesn’t cut it for me. When Contacted by the press it was only Wanda who applauded the action of the Senate Finance Committee for giving this bill the respect it deserved and in her press release on the matter stated that she gives her full support to SB/HB 76 where she promised to keep fighting for it if elected….not some alternate plan to distract from SB/HB 76 but to keep pushing until it becomes law.

Instead of talking about the issues, we see those advancing the issues being attacked about everything but the issues and so it goes on.  That’s probably the way this will continue to play out.  As the other candidates try and talk about the issues there will be those coming out who don’t seem to want those issues discussed and will do everything they can to keep from allowing the important issues to be advanced.   I’m tired of the rodeo clowns that make a mockery of this process and I’m tired of the distractions from issues that are going to impact my life and the lives of my children and grandchildren for as long as we can still afford to live in this state.

Let’s get back to the real issues at hand and stay focused on what the candidates mean when they say Property Tax Independence, Right To Work or any other issue.  Let’s put this battle back on the battlefield of ideas and then let the voters in the district make that call in November.  Along the way those peripheral issues are going to come in to play because that’s just part of the process.  Let it be discussed but not at the peril of the things that have direct impact on us as a voter.

While I can’t vote in the 102nd, whoever wins this race is going to have an impact on my life in the 101st.  They are going to vote on these issues and that’s why this matters to me, especially with HB/SB 76 if it carries through til next year.  I need to know if these candidates are going to be behind this bill 100%.  I feel the same way about their support of Paycheck Protection and other Right To Work Issues.  It’s not enough to tell me you’ve been fighting for me when, as a grassroots advocate working at the local level to see those things come to fruition, I don’t see it happening.  I need more than words.








Property Tax Independence Vote Gets Wide-Spread Media Coverage

Yesterday’s vote on SB76 in the Senate Finance Committee moved us through a major hurdle in moving this legislation forward.  During this time it was difficult, outside of a few media outlets, to get press coverage on these bills.  The importance of yesterday’s vote can be seen in the wide-spread coverage of that vote in press outlets across the state.  The Associated Press picked it up and many newspapers simply carried that AP release.  While it may be the same article, it’s the same article appearing in various newspaper outlets across the state.  Other newspapers, like our own Lebanon Daily News, wrote a more comprehensive look article on the bill.

Sometimes we get caught in our own windows and don’t get to see the bigger picture.  This blog posting is simply to demonstrate the far reaching press coverage of this vote.  It’s not all of them but I wanted to give you a glimpse at the news coverage we’ve received.

Also not included here are the many press releases from supporting legislators and candidates.  Those press releases are often sent out to their constituents who are on electronic media mailing lists.

The point is simple: Yesterday’s vote was a major victory in this battle and the media coverage and press releases are only helping to spread the word on this issue.  The more people who know across the state, the more support we have.  The more support we have, the better our chances of seeing this realized.

Property tax elimination bill passes key vote

Lebanon Daily News

A bill that would abolish property taxes as a means of funding education … By a bipartisan vote, the Pennsylvania Senate Finance Committee … Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon)who has long been a strong advocate of property tax reform, and was at the meeting for a vote on another bill that he is sponsoring. Sen.

Bill that would eliminate school property tax advances in Harrisburg

Pittsburgh Business Times

A bill to abolish the school property tax in Pennsylvania has made it out of the Senate Finance Committee. Senate Bill 76, known as the Property Tax Independence Act, was first introduced in January … “Today marks the first time in Senate history that there has been a vote in favor of eliminating the school property tax and represents a major victory for homeowners throughout the state,” Argall said in a prepared statement. “For too many years, legislative plans to remedy this problem have languished in committee, …

Property tax elimination bill advances along long road to passage

Pocono Record

Instead, that chamber last year approved a bill that would empower Pennsylvania school boards to reduce or eliminate school property taxes and to make up the revenue from other tax increases. That bill hasn’t advanced in the Senate. Aides say that support …

Property tax elimination bill moves forward in Pa. Senate

York Dispatch

A bill that would eliminate property taxes narrowly passed through the state Senate Finance Committee Tuesday but was opposed by two York-area senators on the committee. Senate Bill 76 would eventually eliminate all school property taxes and replace …

Pennsylvania school funding shift to higher sales, income taxes passes Senate …

The Express-Times –

A Pennsylvania state Senate panel is advancing a bill that would eventually eliminate school property taxes by increasing taxes on sales and income. The Senate Finance Committee narrowly approved the bill, SB76, Tuesday by a vote of 6-5. Senate Finance …

Popular property tax-elimination bill passes Pa. Senate committee

The Patriot-News

Some broke into tears of joy, a show of the emotion some supporters have applied to killing the much-loathed tax that they say is driving elderly people from their homes. The bill would eliminate school property taxes, replacing the lost school funding with $13 …

Bill to kill school property taxes in Pennsylvania takes small step in state Senate

Greenfield Daily Reporter

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — A Pennsylvania state Senate panel is advancing a bill that would eventually eliminate school property taxes by increasing taxes on sales and income. The Senate Finance Committee narrowly approved the bill Tuesday, 6-to-5 …

Property tax elimination bill passes committee

Republican & Herald

“Today’s historic vote has only strengthened my resolve to continue to fight for the elimination of an antiquated property tax system that is hurting so many Pennsylvania families and senior citizens,” state Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-116, said in a release. Senate Bill …

Senate bill to kill school property tax takes step

The Reporter

HARRISBURG, Pa. >> A Pennsylvania state Senate panel is advancing a bill that would eventually eliminate school property taxes by increasing taxes on sales and income. The Senate Finance Committee narrowly approved the bill Tuesday, 6-to-5. Senate …

Senate bill moving forward to end school property tax

The Sentinel

HARRISBURG – A Pennsylvania state Senate panel is advancing a bill that would eventually eliminate school property taxes by increasing taxes on sales and income. The Senate Finance Committee narrowly approved the bill Tuesday, 6-to-5. Senate …

Senate bill to end school property tax takes step

(Harrisburg) — A Pennsylvania state Senate panel is advancing a bill that would eventually eliminate school property taxes by increasing taxes on sales and income. The Senate Finance Committee narrowly approved the bill 6-to-5. Senate Finance Committee …

Senate bill to kill school property tax takes step forward

The Mercury

4, 2014, in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke). Posted: 09/16/14, 2:37 PM EDT |. # Comments. HARRISBURG (AP) — A Pennsylvania state Senate panel is advancing a bill that would eventually eliminate school property taxes by increasing taxes on …

Pa. Senate bill to kill school property tax takes step

Youngstown Vindicator

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania state Senate panel is advancing a bill that would eventually eliminate school property taxes by increasing taxes on sales and income. The Senate Finance Committee narrowly approved the bill today, 6-to-5. Senate …

Pa. Senate bill to kill school property tax passes committee

York Dispatch

HARRISBURG – A Pennsylvania state Senate panel is advancing a bill that would eventually eliminate school property taxes by increasing taxes on sales and income. The Senate Finance Committee narrowly approved the bill Tuesday, 6-to-5. Senate …

Senate bill to kill Pennsylvania school property tax takes step

The Times Herald

HARRISBURG — A Pennsylvania state Senate panel is advancing a bill that would eventually eliminate school property taxes by increasing taxes on sales and income. The Senate Finance Committee narrowly approved the bill Tuesday, 6-to-5. Senate …

Property tax reform passes hurdle in state Senate


Casino revenue would round out the money needed to eliminate property taxes. With a record number of supporters, including six state representatives and two senators from Lancaster County, the School Property Tax Elimination Act has wide bipartisan …

Property-tax elimination bill clears state Senate committee

Reading Eagle

HARRISBURG — By a 6-5 vote, the state Senate Finance Committee approved a bill that would do away with the school property tax in Pennsylvania, in exchange for increases in the income and sales taxes. “This is one for the history books,” a joyful Sen.


Pennsylvania Senate committee approves property tax reform bill

WFMZ Allentown

The state’s Senate Finance Committee voted 6-5 to approve Senate Bill 76, which would reform the way schools generate revenue from property owners by creating a $13 billion tax shift, said Sen. Michael Brubaker, the committee’s chairman. “Although it was ..

Grassroots effort pushes along PA property tax reform

Pennsylvania Independent

When the panel narrowly approved Senate Bill 76 — known as the Property Tax Independence Act — she jumped to her feet, applauded and …

Sexual Predators in Our Classrooms

The following information information is not my research and was taken from  A special acknowledgment goes out to reporter Steve Gunn for having the courage to write to raise awareness of problems with sexual predators in our Public School Classrooms. The headlines of the stories included with this article only cover page one and if you want to learn more I recommend heading to this website and reading more about this problem that is altering the lives of so many children in our classrooms. Most of the text on this page comes directly from the pen of Steve Gunn and this is, in no way an attempt to plagarise his content but rather to raise aware of a growing problem.  This is also not an indictment of the teaching profession. There are a great many teachers who are responsible and fantastic teachers but we can’t keep ignoring this problem out of some misdirected fear of tarnishing the reputations of the good teachers.

Abuse exists in many forms. It is not confined to domestic violence issues.  At play in abuse as a common thread is an individual using their position of power or physical dominance to abuse those over which they can exert that power. The contents that follow is about sexual abuse in our classrooms.  It is a reflection of the moral decline of our society in general and the fact that there is not more of an outcry about this problem should shock us.

Just today  (September 9) Sen. Toomey sent out a plea for support of his legislation that would require more background checks on school employees.  He introduced this legislation on April 16 but he faces strong opposition and that begs us to question why?

Earlier this year Teacher’s Unions successfully pressured the Discovery Channel into cancelling “Bad Teacher,” a series based on actual investigations of teachers molesting students.

Unlike the media frenzy when priests were accused of molesting children, the media seems to virtually silent when it comes to raising awareness when teachers violate the trust of the community while violating their students.  Is it because when a teacher molests a child it doesn’t fall into their convenient war on religion and faith principles?

Just how bad is this problem – this, as stated above, is just a summary of the links to articles that appear on page one of the website, there are more pages with more links if you go to that website (

Feb 5: Carrie Miller, 24, a teacher at Johnson County Central High School, faces accusations of sexual assault and enticement through electronic devices, based on her relationship with a 15-year-old male student, reports the Associated Press. According to court documents, Miller is accused of having sexual contact with the victim approximately 50-60 times during the fall of 2012.

April: A 27-year-old male teacher was arrested this past April for taking video of students in the Graham D. Healy. Mass., school locker room. Josh Wairi was arrested on child pornography charges in April. The criminal complaint alleges, among other things, that Wairi, a fifth-grade teacher, used his email account to trade and receive images of child pornography and also uploaded images and videos of children being sexually exploited. The complaint further alleges that Wairi transferred the images and videos of child pornography to other users.

April 7: LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Three teachers have been arrested for taking sexual advantage of students in just over a year. The latest to be arrested is theater teacher Phillip Hernandez, who has been charged with three counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News. A 17-year-old male student told police that Hernandez touched him inappropriately on numerous occasions between October of last year and January of this year. The teacher was suspended April 7 and resigned April 21. Last July, elementary teacher Jesus Solis was arrested on more than 50 felony counts for inappropriate behavior with three fourth-graders, the news report said. The previous March, middle school teacher Erik Khan was arrested for molesting a young male student during what was supposed to be a physical examination.

April 28 SMYRNA, Del. – A 37-old-educator who recently resigned her position as a teacher and coach at Smyrna High School was arrested Friday on accusations that she performed oral sex on a male student while another student stood watch at her classroom door. Jennifer Suarez was charged with first degree sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust, according to a news report from

May 6: OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma City high school basketball coach was arrested Monday after a student at his school told police that he had been touching her in an inappropriate matter for more than two years. Aaron Howell, 38, who coaches at Moore High School, is accused of touching the female student, who is younger than 16, in the kitchen and living room of a private residence, according to a report from

May 6: New Jersey. A former high school music teacher and band director has admitted touching a 15-year-old student in a sexual manner and sending her text messages with sexual content, according to a report in David Scheck, 31, a former teacher at West Morris Central High School in Morristown, New Jersey pleaded guilty to the charges of official misconduct and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. He accepted a plea agreement during jury selection for his trial, according to the news report.

May 7: WESTWOOD, Mass. – A 23-year-old Massachusetts man has filed a lawsuit against his former Spanish teacher, former principal and school district, claiming the teacher used pain-killing drugs to lure him into a sexual relationship when he was a high school student. He claims that former Westwood High School Spanish teacher Jamie Ashworth gave him special attention when he became her student in the tenth grade. The lawsuit claims that Ashworth offered him pain-killing drugs to help him deal with his discomfort, but only in return for sexual favors. It also claims that Doe’s mother informed former high school Principal Emily Parks that Ashworth had been leaving text and phone messages for the boy at all hours, and that other teachers in the building were aware of the relationship.

May 8: NIKISKI, Alaska – Middle-High School teacher Jeremy Anderson faces seven charges of sexual abuse on a minor for alleged sexual contact with a 15-year-old student, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Alaska State Troopers were told of the incidents on May 8, and Anderson was placed on administrative leave.

May 12: CROSS, S.C. – A South Carolina high school teacher has been charged with having sex with three high school students on several occasions, including one night at a party when she allegedly had sex with all three of them. Ellen Niemic, 29, a teacher at Cross High School in Berkeley County, South Carolina, has been charged with two counts of sexual battery, because two of the students were 17 at the time of the incidents, according to a report from the New York Post. The other student was 18 at the time. The teacher, a married mother of three children, allegedly had sex with the boys on and off school property, according to police investigators.

May 13: ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The family of a boy who was molested by his elementary gym teacher during the 2006-07 school year is suing the Rochester school district for its alleged failure to protect the boy. Teacher Matthew LoMaglio was convicted earlier this year of sexually assaulting the boy and sentenced to four years in prison.

May 15: BROOKHAVEN, N.Y. – A former high school social studies teacher was somehow acquitted of six felony charges for having sex with an underage student, but was convicted of a misdemeanor involving the same offenses and sentenced to six months in jail. The relationship between former Bellport High School teacher Jonathon Elsalam and the student began when the girl was 16, according to

May 19: Waynesboro, HA: – Debra Renae Tanksley, a 2012 Teacher of the Year, was arrested for allegedly sending inappropriate sexual text messages to a student at Burke County High School. Tanksley was charged with criminal attempt of sexual assault and electronically furnishing obscene materials to minors. A week before Ashley Ashe, 25, was arrested for her alleged transgressions with a student, WJBF 6 television station reports. Ashe, who is married, was arrested and charged with aggravated child molestation on May 6 after she allegedly admitted to having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old male student. Both teachers were put on administrative leave, according to Superintendent Rudy Falana, though it’s unclear whether they are receiving pay during their criminal proceedings.

June 6: Robert Yaek, a 25-year-old math and science teacher, resigned from Armada Middle School, located in Macomb County, Michigan, after accusations he was sexually involved with a 13-year-old seventh-grader.

June 9: Paul Joseph Johnson, 48, of Backus, Minn., is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student. Johnson taught math at the school for five years. Johnson plead guilty on June 9.

June 11: CBS Los Angeles wrote that Placentia police in Orange County, Calif., arrested Rebecca Eileen Diebolt. Diebolt, 35, is said to have initiated physically intimate relations with a female student at Valencia High School student who was 15 and a student of the language arts instructor

June 18: New Jersey. Snyder High School art teacher Keith McGee was charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old student in a classroom at the New Jersey school. McGee is charged with sexual assault on the girl who is now 17 years old, endangering the welfare of a child and child abuse. The alleged sex crimes occurred in McGee’s classroom in the Bergen Avenue school, the complaint says.

June 22: Austin, Texas – Alfredo Andrade-Gaytan , A local school teacher was arrested last week for aggravated sexual assault on a six-year-old student. He’s been accused of keeping a girl from going out to recess Wednesday and tricking her into performing oral sex on him in a classroom,” the news report said.

June 25: A Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee) review of disciplinary data over the past decade data shows teachers are increasingly failing to maintain appropriate boundaries as the proliferation of social media facilitates constant communication between teacher and student. The review found that 160 teachers have been disciplined for crossing the line with students or other minors since 2004. Some were caught sending inappropriate messages. Others had sexual relationships with their students. Many lost their teaching licenses after they were convicted of crimes like child abuse or statutory rape. In all, records show the Tennessee State Board of Education has taken action against 434 teachers in the past 10 years, but the numbers have been increasing. In 2005, the board disciplined 33 teachers. In 2013, the number was 51. Already in 2014, the board has taken action against 27 teachers.

July 11: In third day of trial, John Thomas Patterson – a retired fourth-grade teacher facing 110 charges of sex crimes against students – dredged up disturbing testimony from former students who claim he molested them. Patterson retired from teaching at Mt. Mourne Elementary School in Iredell County, N.C., in 1987.

July 16: Pennsylvania. Tiffany Leiseth, 26, has been charged with institutional sexual assault and furnishing alcohol to minors. Leiseth, a married, long-term substitute teacher for the New Brighton Area School District in “rural western Pennsylvania,” also allegedly sent nude photographs of herself to both students while her husband was out of town, the news reports said.

July 29: 41-year-old East Somerville Community School, Mass., female teacher, Alexandra Romanos, was arraigned the first week of July on two counts of aggravated rape of a child and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. Investigators were exploring the possibility that Romanos might have molested other students.

September 9: ALDINE, Texas – A middle school teacher has pleaded guilty to giving a student a “full contact” lap dance during class while students looked on. Felicia Smith, a teacher at Stovall Middle School near Houston, was busted after cell phone video of incident surfaced. She “will spend three years on probation after admitting to the felony of having an improper relationship with a student,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

* * * * *

More at stake than the Governor’s race!


News over the weekend of snow falling in the United States, something that generally doesn’t start until October, reminded me of the political pot-boiler taking place in Lebanon County.   August is generally a soft political month but, like the snow, events in Lebanon County seem more like the political climate of an October, not an August.  As we move in to September, it shows no changing.  Political heat is not only contained to Lebanon, it has hit the state race as well.

A recent article by John Fund addressing the problems Corbett is facing is a glaring commentary on the state of politics here in Pennsylvania ( While Fund touches on this, in my opinion the problem lies in the fact that in spite of Corbett’s pressure to bring reforms to Pennsylvania, he has been unable to get serious reform accomplished because of the Republican leadership, especially in the house, who is selling the moral compass of the Republican Party in the state to the highest special interest bidders.

As Fund reminds us, time and time again, Corbett’s agenda was blocked by key Republicans in the legislature. “His effort to pass school vouchers was whittled down to a measly $75 million increase in tax credits for private schools.: Fund Says “His bid to finally privatize the state’s antiquated system of state liquor stores was thwarted. Ethics reform was dead on arrival.”  None of this is the Governor’s fault.   Even in his fight to reform the Pension problem in the state, he needs a General Assembly willing to fight for that principle and they haven’t been willing to take up that mantle yet. The blame for this rests firmly on the shoulders of the leadership in the General Assembly which seems to be all to willing to cower to public-sector employee unions who as Fund continues “have their hooks buried deep inside both parties.”

The PSEA and the SEIU are powerful unions in and of themselves but since we don’t have Paycheck Protection in this state, monies from taxpayers that are used to collect dues for these unions goes to aiding in their ability to hire lobbying firms like Long, Nyquist and Associates to work on their behalf. When the Republican Senate Caucus got them-self in a bind by trying to manipulate the election process through a special election in York County they hired Long, Nyquist and Associates to run a smear campaign against write-in candidate (now Senator) Scott Wagner. There you have Republican leadership getting in bed with a lobbying firm that is also working against real reform in the state. The money paid to run this smear campaign against Wagner could then be used to advance the platforms of organizations who are working against conservative reform in this state.

That’s the real problem in this state, arrogant and powerful leadership willing to empower bodies that are working against Conservative principles and values like political opportunists with no regard to the impact this has on the common person in the state. As was pointed out in an ABC27news story by Dennis Owens the number of Republican legislators who hire this same firm should come as a shock to us. Why would someone alleging to be a Conservative during a campaign run hire a firm that is working against Conservative principles and real reform in the state?

I will admit to finding myself in a sense of Catch-22 when it comes to the Governor’s race. A Corbett win, especially after the point spread that now exists, will send a message to those in leadership that its business as usual in Pennsylvania and that they can count on Republicans to rally behind them when the chips get down. Their disconnect with the people in this state perpetuates their misconceptions of how and why we vote.  I do think that between the two candidates, Corbett and Wolf, Corbett is the choice.  At the same time I don’t want to perpetuate the notion that I am willing to sacrifice principles in the batter for lesser of two evils.

It is clear that a Wolf victory in November spells doom to conservative values in the state, not because Wolf as Governor will be able to run roughshod over the legislators but because the leadership will be able to appease their public sector benefactors and the lobbyists who work for these organizations. Wolf can’t enact any tax increase without it first being approved by the General Assembly and, frankly, a Wolf governorship is a frightening concept…not just because Wolf, in my opinion, is a died in the wool socialist but because we have far too many Republicans in the house who would be willing to give Wolf what he wants to make sure their campaign coffers remain full and they can hold on to their powerful high-paying benefit laden jobs.

A Wolf victory means Property Tax Independence, Paycheck Protection, Right To Work, Right To Life…. Any real conservative value in the state is dealt a fatal blow. At least we have a chance with those issues and Corbett but not without a change of heart by the GOP Insiders.  Wolf will get the blame by conservatives but it will be the General Assembly who will make it all possible and it will be Republicans, many of whom claimed to be a conservative in order to get elected, who will make this possible.

That begins to dispel my notion of a Catch-22 in the state. However, that is only dispelled if we begin to really understand how real reform comes to the state.   We need principled leadership in our General Assembly and that starts with our local representatives. We needs elected representatives who are more than name on a piece of reform-minded legislation but who are also stalwart champions of advancing those conservative principles. Representative who are willing to take up that mantle and bring it home to the people in their districts.

Here in Lebanon County we have been blessed with a Senator and a House Representative who have held accessible town halls to take those difficult questions to the people they represent. Senator Folmer and Rep. RoseMarie Swanger are to be commended for their attempts of staying connected to the people in their districts.   It is not surprising then that when it comes to reform minded legislation these two have made the case for this legislation to the people they represent.

We live in a time when our candidates can run long-distance campaigns where they don’t have to get in front of the people and take questions directly from them. We elect people by party endorsements or who can spend the most in those glossy cardstock flyers where they can find the least flattering pictures and least complimentary things to say concerning their opponents.   As we have seen in Lebanon County, especially in elections where the Long, Nyquist firm is associated, it doesn’t matter if what they are saying is true or not. Just ask Liz Judd or John Dissinger, two recent candidates who ran up against the Long, Nyquist political machine.

Part of this political strategy of politics in personal destruction is to keep us from talking about issues that are important to us. We get distracted and then we stop talking about issues and start talking about anything but. And yes, Character is an issue.

I happen to believe that character does matter. I define character by the individual’s involvement in community and the causes they work towards supporting.   I don’t define character by an isolated moment in their life when they, like all of us, made a mistake in judgment. A series of questionable activities and involvements is a different story all together. It’s really about looking at patterns of activity, not isolated moments. Community activism is also not enough when we begin to look at who we select to represent us.

Campaigns are times when we get the talking point memo of the legislation they support but without direct contact with the people, we rarely hear why they support those issues. This allows imposters to claim to support an issue because it happens to be the flavor of the day without any real substance behind their claim.

It is no mistake that every candidate in the 102nd is claiming to support Property Tax Elimination. The proof of that claim is, as they say, in the pudding. In the history of campaign lies you would think that we would have learned by now that many of our elected representatives will tell us anything in order to get elected. That, in turn, should have us demanding that they get out in front of us and explain their positions on these issues so we can separate the wheat from the chaff.  Rather than debates, I prefer one on one town hall. The 2 minute talking points never get into details and the town halls allow for the exchange between the citizen and the person who wants to be their representative. If you see that one of these candidates is out there, willing to talk to the people you owe it to yourself to go and hear them out. Then ask them why they support these issues if they don’t make those points clear. They can’t really represent you if they don’t know what you believe.

As we draw closer to the election, in spite of snow falling on the first day of September, the political climate in the 102nd is going to get hot. The Governor’s race is going to continue to be the focus of most of the statewide news stories and the Governor’s race is going to be important.   So are the legislative seats that are going to be up for election this November. At least in Lebanon County we have a choice regardless of attempts to put stumbling blocks in front of that process in both the Primary and now in the General Election. That choice is between Russ Diamond (Republican), Jake Long (Democrat), Robert McAteer (Independent) and, as announced today, Wanda Bechtold (as a write-in).

We are already hearing the split-the vote argument and frankly, I find that alarming. For me, I’d rather put an end to the entire Primary nonsense and just hold General Elections that force Candidates to go out and make their case to the people. We are essentially holding two elections, one for the party and the other for the people. How about we forget the parties and just hold elections for the people. The Primaries keep us in constant election mode and that would be fine if we were actually talking about the issues instead of all the things that result in many voters finding themselves in a state of being “peripherally visionless” when it comes to elections. (Explanation: peripheral visionless is a state of becoming so focused on one thing that you become unable to see the surrounding things related to the incident…look it up!).

Isn’t that really what happened with the Exec. Committee? They became so focused on an issue that they lost sight of their responsibilities in following their own by-laws.  Those spearheading this effort are doing everything in their power to try and keep that sense of a “peripheral visionless” argument in the forefront.   The argument from them continues to be that if you aren’t standing with them, you somehow support domestic violence. That is being peripherally visionless. Their attempts to grasp at this power makes them much like the “great and powerful” Oz telling us to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. They are, after all, just men and women capable of making mistakes just like the rest of us. The true test of character in situations like this is an ability to recognize that mistake and then correct it, not in making excuses or looking for someone else to blame for their mistakes. That is what responsibility and personal accountability is all about.

In many ways, Lebanon County has become a small window capturing the larger problems we face in advancing conservative principles in this state. We’ve seen the courts being used and we’ve seen over-exertion of the powers of the local committee spear-headed by the same lobbyist problems we face in Harrisburg all for the purpose of removing the voice of the people from this process. The real question comes down to the people…are you willing to get informed about the issues the candidates claim to support? Are you willing to take a stand or do you let the entrenched system that is corrupting our election process to persuade you, once again, that you don’t matter and that your vote doesn’t really count?

The Governor’s race is going to be important but there is more at stake here. There are the candidates who claim to want to represent us and there are also the issues at hand…those things that operate in the realm of the core of what we believe; Government limited by a Constitutional Rule of Law coupled with Personal and Financial Accountability to the people they represent.  Like it or not, none of this can be removed from our own faith principles. Those faith principles guide how we see those issues and can’t be separated. If you are willing to betray what you claim to believe for political expediency, you never really believed it in the first place.

As Abraham Lincoln reminded us “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” My problem is, with so many not willing to get to the facts and where the candidates really stand on the issues, it’s not just the blisters on their behind but the ones they are giving me as well. We all get burned, not just the ones who turn their backs on the fire.

Non-Mainstram outlets warning of attack by ISIS/ISIL on US Soil

We have received the following warning from Judicial Watch (  that confirms the fears the radical Muslim elements are in Mexico and planning another attack on US soil.


AUGUST 29, 2014


UPDATED: 08/31/2014 at 4:45 PM ET Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat. Specifically, the government sources reveal that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is confirmed to now be operating in Juarez, a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas. Violent crimes are so rampant in Juarez that the U.S. State Department has issued a number of travel warnings for anyone planning to go there. The last one was issued just a few days ago. Intelligence officials have picked up radio talk and chatter indicating that the terrorist groups are going to “carry out an attack on the border,” according to one JW source. “It’s coming very soon,” according to another high-level source, who clearly identified the groups planning the plots as “ISIS and Al Qaeda.” An attack is so imminent that the commanding general at Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army post in El Paso, is being briefed, JW’s sources say. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not respond to multiple inquiries from Judicial Watch, both telephonic and in writing, about this information. But two days after JW published this report Ft. Bliss implemented increased security measures. The statement that went out to the media attributes the move to several recent security assessments and the constant concern for the safety of military members, families, employees and civilians. However, El Paso’s newspaper credited JW’s Friday piece about ISIS terrorists planning an attack on U.S. soil from Juarez as a possible factor. The disturbing inside intelligence comes on the heels of news reports revealing that U.S. intelligence has picked up increased chatter among Islamist terror networks approaching the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. While these terrorists reportedly plan their attack just outside the U.S., President Obama admits that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to combat ISIS. “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” the commander-in-chief said this week during a White House press briefing. “I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggest that folks are getting a little further ahead of what we’re at than what we currently are.” The administration has also covered up, or at the very least downplayed, a serious epidemic of crime along the Mexican border even as heavily armed drug cartels have taken over portions of the region. Judicial Watch has reported that the U.S. Border Patrol actually ordered officers to avoid the most crime-infested stretches because they’re “too dangerous” and patrolling them could result in an “international incident” of cross border shooting. In the meantime, who could forget the famous words of Obama’s first Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano; the southern border is “as secure as it has ever been.”


These new revelations are bound to impact the current debate about the border crisis and immigration policy.


Breitbart has confirmed ISIS involvement in exposing the weaknesses of our southern borders (

WND is also confirming the information while warning of a possible attck on the power grid (

WND points out that the influx of illegal immigrants into the United States has allowed for an expansion of terror cells within the United States.

Meanwhile the San Jose News in California is reporting that a power substation that suffered a sniper attack last year now has a problem with unknown individuals who stole construction materials from the Metcalf substation in San Jose early Wednesday morning in spite of the fact that security was ramped up as a result of the sniper attack (

The Daily Caller is also reporting warning of an impending terrorist attack in the United States: They write “Saudi Arabia’s head of state King Abdullah issued a dire warning to the West if they choose to ignore the Muslim extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“If we ignore them, I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month,” Abdullah said at a Friday diplomatic ceremony and later quoted by Saudi television.

“Terrorism knows no border and its danger could affect several countries outside the Middle East,” he continued. “You see how they [jihadists] carry out beheadings and make children show the severed heads in the street.”


In a report from The Blaze earlier this month we read: “We’re struggling to determine who is really who and we’ve released so many, we don’t know if there are a number of terrorists or future terrorists among those we’ve caught, let alone those who’ve made it in without being spotted,” an ICE official told TheBlaze. “Just because somebody doesn’t show up as a terrorist on a watch list or with a criminal history doesn’t mean they aren’t one.” (


During Obama speeches concerning ISIS he used the term ISIL instead of ISIS.  He did so 5 times on June13, and 16 times in his commencement speech at West Point on June 19th.  ISIS is an acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or al-Sham while ISIL stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.  Few Americans really understand the difference but this alone is a confession by Obama that the ISIS/ISIL faction are a much greater threat.  The difference is that the Levant describes a territory far greater than simply Iraq and Syria. The Levant consists of the island of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey.  So back in June he already recognized that this was a greater threat and yet, 2 months later he still doesn’t have a strategy.  What’s he waiting for?

Where is the mainstream media on this?

By now, there should be no doubt that we have turned our backs on our allies while our enemies laugh at us as a result of this Presidential Administration. Obama may not have a strategy in dealing with ISIS but ISIS certainly has one concerning us. As has been stated many times, this can not all be incompetence, if he was incompetent he would accidentally do something right for a change.

I just don’t know what it will take to wake up Americans to the fact that this President has kept his promise to transform the fundamentals of America. He is doing it by enabling and empowering those who have called for our destruction. We know that members of the Muslim Brotherhood are holding key appointed positions in our government. As European countries have begun standing up the Radical Muslim uprisings but our President is busy as well….busy playing golf and going to fundraisers and bachelor parties with his celebrity friends. When the mainstream news media spends more time on Obama’s fashion statements than the fact that he just told the enemies of America that there is no strategy in dealing with their terrorist attacks that are killing Christians, Jews and anyone else who doesn’t agree them, we are in trouble.

Rather than do something about this Obama blames the social media for generating alarm about problems that do not exist. Excuse me?


Congress….it’s long past time to put on your big boy pants and do something about this administration and their intentional usurpations of power as he has trampled of the Constitution. You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem and frankly, for the last six years, you’ve been part of the problem.’

Our military has been demoralized and weakened as a result of this Administration.  Our veterans were ignored and left to perish rather than receive treatment while this Administration assisted in the importations of 10 of thousands of illegal immigrants.  In spite of lies about a recovering economy, the majority of Americans don’t see it. They’ve seen their taxes increase, the cost of living increase as utility, food and other necessities continue to climb.  In the meantime their bank accounts decrease, if they even have reserve funds anymore.

He told us that terrorism in the middle east was on the run…he just didn’t tell us they were running to America through our Mexican Border.   He told us (as did Janet Napolitano) that our border was more secure than ever before,  they just didn’t tell us that is more more secure for terrorists cells to come into America.  Now he tells us he doesn’t have a strategy…at least not one for Americans.