Friday, October 31, 2008

McCain's Cousin Endorses Obama

Vaulx Boles says “straight talking, commonsense John McCain” is “long gone.”

(READING, PA)—John McCain’s cousin, Adam Vaulx Boles, today released the following statement:

I’m working with Keystone Progress in the hope that you will forward this email to any friends, family or co-workers who may still be undecided about who to vote for President.

Recently, my father gave me an envelope full of press clippings, which detail the years my cousin, then-Lt. Cmdr. John S. McCain, was imprisoned in North Vietnam. John and I are related through our grandmothers. Katherine Vaulx McCain and Huetta Vaulx Boles, both of Fayetteville, Arkansas, were sisters.

When John threw his hat in the ring in 2000, my father and I were both very proud and encouraged, and not just because he's our relative. This was the first politician in a long time that, on a national stage, was saying things like, "Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer-reaches of American politics."

Jump ahead to the campaign Sen. McCain is currently running. Clearly, a lot can change in eight years.

Where is the straight-talking, commonsense John McCain of 2000? I'm afraid he is long gone, replaced by a desperate version of himself who seems to contradict nearly everything he once stood for. What becomes apparent in his ideological about-face is just how out of touch my cousin John really is with America's working families. A part of me is made very sad to write this email. As I've said, my family has followed John's life and career with no absence of pride. But like many Americans of good conscience, my father and I can no longer consider voting for our own cousin.

Instead, we will be voting for the hope and real change embodied by Barack Obama this Election Day.

Adam Vaulx Boles

Not authorized by any party, candidate or candidate's committee. Keystone Progress is a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization that combines cutting edge online organizing and communications with rapid and hard-hitting earned media strategies.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

McCain Supporter in Pottsville: “Bomb Obama!”

Others waiting in line shout racist, hate-filled speech at demonstrators

(POTTSVILLE, PA)—In what has become a regular occurrence, dozens of supporters of Senator John McCain shouted racist and hate-filled speech at about 100 demonstrators yesterday in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

One of the McCain supporters was caught on video shouting “Bomb Obama!” repeatedly. When asked what he meant, he said “Get rid of him. "I've had a number of people in the... when he gets in the White House..."

He then formed a gun with his hand and made a shooting sound.

The incident was reported immediately to Pottsville Police Captain Richard Wojciechowsky, who said it did not sound serious.

The video later was shown to the Secret Service.

The video can be viewed at

Yesterday’s video, and similar videos from McCain and Palin rallies around Pennsylvania, were shot and produced by Keystone Progress. Keystone Progress is a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization that combines cutting edge online organizing and communications with rapid and hard-hitting earned media strategies.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Both used taxpayer funds for re-election campaign.

Reading, PA – A report released by the House Committee on Government and Oversight Reform shows that Rep. Jim Gerlach and Rep. Tim Murphy directly benefited from the improper and unethical use of taxpayer money to support his 2006 re-election bid.

The House Committee on Oversight has documented that senior Bush political aides used federal funds to support the re-election campaign of Gerlach and Murphy by sending federal officials to their Congressional Districts for campaign events disguised as official business. White House communication records show that the trips were specifically intended to help Gerlach and Murphy win re-election – the very definition of political activity.

The report shows that Rep. Gerlach accepted taxpayer-financed help for his 2006 campaign on four separate occasions. The four events were:

1) 3/10/06 – Visit by Commerce Secretary Gutierrez (Exton, PA)
2) 5/15/06 – Visit by Commerce Secretary Gutierrez (Malvern, PA)
3) 9/18/06 – Visit by EPA Administrator Johnson (Pottstown, PA)
4) 10/2/06 – Visit by HUD Secretary Jackson (Reading, PA)

The report shows that Rep. Murphy accepted taxpayer-financed support for his re-election campaign on six separate occasions. The six events were:
1) 1/6/06 – Visit Energy Secretary Bodman, with Melissa Hart (Pittsburgh, PA)
2) 3/17/06 – Visit HHS Secretary Leavitt (Pittsburgh, PA)
3) 5/12/06 – Visit EPA Regional Administrator (Cannonsburg,, PA)
4) 8/25/06 – Visit HHS Secretary Leavitt (Philadelphia, PA)
5) 9/14/06 – Visit Education Secretary Spellings (Pittsburgh, PA)
6) 9/26/06 – Event HHS Secretary Leavitt (Washington, DC)

“Congressmen Gerlach and Murphy have some explaining to do to the people of Pennsylvania,” said Jeff Garis, Executive Director of Penn Action. “Using tax dollars for campaign purposes is clearly unethical. We’re calling on Representative Gerlach and Representative Murphy to reimburse Pennsylvanians the public funds that the Bush White House spent on his campaign.”

Full documentation can be found at

Monday, October 20, 2008

McCain is paying a top GOP operative whose tactics include destroying voter registration cards and disenfranchising voters

“The Difference Between ACORN And Sproul Is That ACORN Doesn’t Throw Away Or Change Registration Documents After They Have Been Filled Out.”

- Congressman Chris Cannon (R-UT) [Joint Hearing of the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law and Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the House Committee, 05/14/08]

Nathan Sproul – Top GOP Dirty Trickster

Sproul Is Former Exec. Director Of AZ GOP, AZ Christian Coalition, And Head Of The Controversial GOP Consulting Firm Sproul And Associates.
According to Alternet, Sproul is “the former Arizona Republican Party and Christian Coalition director, has cozy ties to a group of consultants working on the Bush/Cheney campaign. According to a Democratic source well-placed in Arizona political circles, Sproul’s firm, Sproul and Associates, operates next door to the office of Gordon C. James Public Relations (GCJPR) in Phoenix, a Republican PR company which is coordinating various Bush/Cheney campaign events nationwide and has provided PR services for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.” [Alternet, 10/15/04]

Sproul And Associates Scrubbed Its Name To Form A New Company Called “Lincoln Strategy Group.” According to the Arizona Republic, “Arizona Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Jessica Pacheco announced Friday that she’s teaming up with Republican strategist Nathan Sproul in the formation of Lincoln Strategy Group, named for our nation’s 16th president. Employees of Sproul & Associates, including former Arizona GOP spinmeister Garrick Taylor, are joining the new firm, as are a couple of other players whose names can’t yet be announced.” [Arizona Republic, 12/09/07]

Lincoln Strategy Group Website Still Refers To Itself As “Sproul And Associates.” According to the Lincoln Strategy Group website, one member of the staff has the following in her biography: “Chris brings in over 10 years of experience in organization and office management to Sproul & Associates.” [Lincoln Strategy Group website, accessed 10/19/08]

Nathan Sproul Is The Managing Partner Of Lincoln Strategy Group. According to the Lincoln Strategy Group website, “Nathan Sproul is the managing principal of Lincoln Strategy Group.” [Lincoln Strategy Group website, accessed 10/18/08]

McCain Has Hired Sproul For The 2008 Election – And Maintains Close Ties To Sproul’s Firm

The McCain Campaign Paid Sproul’s Lincoln Strategy Group At Least $175,000 This Year For Voter Registration. According to CQ Money Line, “CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY/V8” paid Sproul’s Lincoln Strategy $175,000 on June 9, 2008 for “registering voters.” CQ Money Line notes the California Republican Party/V8 committee is sponsored by “McCain-Palin Victory California.” According to a Sarah Palin fundraiser letter in California, the “McCain-Palin Victory California” committee is a “a joint fundraising committee by and composed of the Republican National Committee, the California Republican Party, and McCain-Palin Compliance Fund.” [CQ Money Line, accessed 10/18/08; Sarah Palin fundraiser letter, accessed 10/18/08; Federal Elections Commission July Disbursement file, accessed 10/20/08; Federal Elections Commission Statement of Organization file, accessed, 10/20/08]

The Republican Party Has Additionally Paid Sproul At Least $37,000 This Year For Voter Registration. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Republican Party paid Sproul’s Lincoln Strategy $15,000 for ‘voter registration’ on February 14, 2008 and $22,000 on April 1, 2008. The Federal Elections Commission shows the Pima County Republican Party committee made the payments. [Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 10/18/08; Federal Elections Commission May Disbursement file, accessed 10/20/08; Federal Elections Commission March Disbursement file, accessed 10/20/08]

Nathan Sproul’s Business Partner Jessica Pacheco Is An Adviser To John McCain. According to a McCain campaign press release, Jessica Pacheco is on John McCain’s National Hispanic Advisory Board. Referring to members of the Board, John McCain said, “I look forward to their support and expertise as I work to take on the tough challenges facing all Americans.” [John McCain campaign press release, via States News Service, 12/09/07]Sproul Employs Former John McCain Staffer Chuck Coolidge. According to the Lincoln Strategy Group website, “Chuck Coolidge joined Lincoln Strategy Group in March of 2006. […] Prior to joining LSG, Chuck worked for Senator John McCain in Tucson and Tempe as the Southern Arizona correspondent and also managed Senator McCain’s Arizona federal grants program and Arizona press articles.” [Lincoln Strategy Group website, accessed 10/18/08]

Sproul Has Donated Nearly $30,000 To McCain’s Campaign. According to CQ Money Line, Nathan Sproul has donated $29,600 to John McCain’s campaign this year. An analysis of CQ Money Line shows Sproul has donated $25,000 to the McCain Victory 2008 PAC, and has donated $2,300 twice to John McCain 2008 Inc. [CQ Money Line, accessed 10/19/08]

Two Key Operatives Who Worked For Sproul In 2004 Now Work For PR Firm Hired By McCain For 2008 Campaign. According to Alternet, “as chairwoman, Lisa James operated directly out of Sproul’s office” and “Meghan Rose, worked with Sproul on a clandestine campaign to get Nader on the Arizona ballot last spring.” According to the Phoenix Business Journal, “Gordon C. James Public Relations is handling logistical work for an April 5 McCain campaign event in Prescott and could plan more events for the Republican candidate.” According to the Gordon C. James Public Relations website, both Lisa James and Meghan Rose are employees of the firm, and John McCain for President is a client. [Alternet, 10/15/04; Phoenix Business Journal, 04/04/08; Gordon C. James Public Relations website, accessed 10/20/08]

Sproul Accompanied Cindy McCain To The 2000 Republican National Convention. According to the New York Times, “Nathan Sproul, executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, said the state’s 30 delegates had unanimously voted for Mrs. McCain to lead them at the Republican convention from July 31 to Aug. 3 in Philadelphia.” [New York Times, 05/15/00]

Sproul Orchestrated Massive Voter Registration Fraud Effort During The 2004 Presidential Election – Systematically Instructing Workers To Illegally Destroy And Discard Democratic Registration Forms

The Republican National Committee Paid Sproul $7.8 Million For 2004 Election Work. According to the East Valley Tribune, “Sproul was paid millions by the Republican National Committee to boost their numbers. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the RNC paid Sproul and Associates more than $7.8 million in 2004 for consulting and various other fees.” [East Valley Tribune, 09/07/06]

In Nevada, Sproul’s Front Company Was Investigated For Destroying Democratic Voter Registration Forms. According to CNN, in Nevada during the 2004 Presidential election, a probe was launched to investigate a “private voter registration firm, Voter Outreach of America, which collected registrations from voters in Nevada, a pivotal presidential battleground state. The company was set up by Sproul & Associates Inc., a Republican political consulting firm based in Phoenix, Arizona.” An employee “Eric Russell, alleged that he saw a supervisor destroy forms collected from Democratic voters. KLAS quoted Russell as saying that ‘we caught her taking Democrats out of my pile, handed them to her assistant, and he ripped them up right in front of us.’” [CNN, 10/14/04]

In Nevada, People Who Registered As Democrats With Sproul Found Their Names Absent From The Voter Registration Rolls. According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, “Eric and Traci Amberson went to the Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday, claiming a Republican-financed voter drive either lost or destroyed their registration forms.” The article notes, “The Ambersons’ voter registration receipts show their forms were among a batch assigned to Voter Outreach of America, which is operated by Sproul & Associates of Phoenix.” Additionally, the article reports, “The Ambersons registered as Democrats on Oct. 2 with a canvasser outside the Wal-Mart story on Kietzke Lane. The couple didn’t give it a second thought until they didn’t get their sample ballots in the mail.” [Reno Gazette-Journal, 10/29/04]

In Oregon, Sproul Was Investigated For Destroying Democratic Voter Registration Forms. According to KGW News, canvassers “collecting signatures in downtown Portland, who said he was instructed to only accept Republican registration forms. He told a KGW reporter that he ‘might’ destroy forms turned in by Democrats since he was being paid by the Republican party.” County Clerk Barbara Nielson “said she had gotten calls from Roseburg-area voters who said that canvassers from the Sproul group had implied that their cards wouldn’t be turned in if they registered as Democrats.” Additionally, “a librarian was approached by a group claiming to be affiliated with the progressive, nonpartisan America Votes organization, with a request to set up registration booths in the library. […] When librarian Megan O’Flaherty probed into the group, she found that instead, they were part of Sproul & Associates, and had nothing to do with America Votes.” [KGW News, 10/13/04]

In Minnesota, Sproul Was Accused Of Firing Workers For Bringing Back Democratic Registration Forms, Incentivizing Discrimination Against Democratic Registrations. According to the Star Tribune, “Three former canvassers for a company working in Minnesota to reelect President Bush have come forward to say they were paid bonuses for registering Bush supporters but got nothing for registering voters who favor challenger John Kerry. One man, who worked for only a few hours for the company, Sproul and Associates, said it was implied that he could be fired for coming back with only Kerry registration cards.” Other canvassers said they were paid “$13 an hour, with the $3 bonus for every Bush, undecided or Ralph Nader voter registration. Canvassers returned that information, and verifiers called those who registered to confirm their support for Bush. In one case, Banse said, he registered his brother, who is a Kerry supporter. When the verifiers called to check the brother's support for Bush, the brother lied to get Banse the bonus.” [Star Tribune, 10/27/04]

In Pennsylvania, Sproul Was Accused Of Instructing Workers To Avoid Registering Democrats. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Sproul & Associates, a consulting firm based in Chandler, Ariz., hired to conduct the drive by the Republican National Committee, employed several hundred canvassers throughout the state to register new voters. Some workers yesterday said they were told to avoid registering Democrats or anyone who indicated support for Democratic nominee John F. Kerry.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/20/04]

In West Virginia, Sproul Was Accused Of Instructing Workers To Avoid Registering Democrats. According to the Charleston Gazette, Sproul’s “employees were to approach One Stop customers and ask if they favor George Bush or John Kerry for president. If Bush was their answer, they were then to inquire if the person was registered to vote and offer them a voter registration card. If the person supported Democrat Kerry, they were only to say thank you and give them a registration card only if asked.” [Charleston Gazette, 08/20/04]

Sproul Systematically Employed Deceptive Tactics To Only Register Republicans, And Told Workers To Turn Away Democrats. According to Salon, Sproul’s “canvassers were told to act as if they were nonpartisan, to hide that they were working for the RNC, especially if approached by the media.” The article also notes, “if the respondents to this pretend poll said that they were Bush supporters, canvassers were told to offer to help them register to vote. If they said they were Kerry supporters, the canvassers would politely walk away.” [Salon, 10/21/04]

Sproul Deceived Libraries, Claiming To Be From America Votes, –To Set Up GOP Voter Registration Efforts. According to the Main Tribune, “Meghan O’Flaherty, headquarters library manager, contacted Kevin Looper, who informed her America Votes did not hire the firm. That’s when she learned that Sproul & Associates, Inc. is a political consulting firm headed up by former Arizona state Republican Party executive director Nathan Sproul. […] Sproul & Associates, Inc. of Phoenix, Ariz., phoned and mailed the library in September, saying it had been hired by America Votes. That came as news to America Votes..” [Main Tribune, 09/21/04]

Republican Congressman Chris Cannon (R-UT): “The Difference Between ACORN And Sproul Is That ACORN Doesn’t Throw Away Or Change Registration Documents After They Have Been Filled Out.” According to a Congressional Hearing transcript, Congressman Chris Cannon said, “the difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn't throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out.” [Joint Hearing of the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law and Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the House Committee, 05/14/08]

Oregon State Investigation “Confirmed Suspicions That Some Disturbing Things Happened,” But Lack Of Evidence Halted Criminal Prosecutions. According to the Associated Press, “State Elections Director John Lindback said Friday that while the state’s investigation did not turn up large numbers of forgeries or alterations of voter registration cards, ‘it did confirm suspicions that some disturbing things happened.’ Myers and Bradbury, in a joint release, said the state’s inquiry "confirmed instances of wrongdoing by some persons" involved in the voter registration solicitation efforts. However, they said, the state's investigation ‘was thorough and comprehensive and concludes that insufficient evidence exists to commence criminal prosecution against the organizations and individuals named in the complaints.’ Still, the two officials said the problems in 2004 underscore the need for the Legislature to make it illegal for canvassers to be paid for each voter registration card they collect a system that they say encourages fraud and abuse.” [Associated Press, 09/22/06]

Bush Administration’s Department of Justice Refused To Investigate Sproul; Instead Invited Him To The White House Christmas Party Following The Election. According to House Judiciary Congressional Testimony, New York University Law Professor Mark Miller noted, “Sproul & Associates clearly merited a full investigation by the Justice Department; and yet the DoJ did nothing. If there has been a federal probe of Sproul's activities, I've never heard of it. Far from coming under federal suspicion, Nathan Sproul, the firm's director, was invited to the Christmas party at the White House two months after the election.” [House Judiciary Congressional Testimony, 05/14/08]

Sproul’s Dirty Tricks Extended To Other Campaigns

During 2006 Midterm Elections, Wal-Mart Banned Sproul’s Partisan Voter Registration Efforts In Tennessee. According to the Associated Press, “The Republican National Committee confirmed Wednesday that it hired a voter registration group that was banished from Tennessee Wal-Mart stores for failing to meet the retailer’s standards of nonpartisanship. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. told Liberty Consultants a group paid by GOP operative Nathan Sproul to sign up voters that it could not set up voter registration stands on its properties last week.” [Associated Press, 08/24/06]

In Arizona, Sproul Employed Deceptive Tactics To Gain Signature For Anti-Clean Elections Referendum. According to Salon, Sproul “was hired by No Taxpayer Money for Politicians to conduct a signature drive to get the anti-Clean Elections bill on the ballot.” Sproul’s petitioners would “routinely just lie about the nature of the bill they were hawking. Even though their measure repealed Clean Elections, canvassers would say either that the measure didn’t alter Clean Elections in any way, or that it actually helped Clean Elections.” [Salon, 10/21/04, emphasis original]

Sproul Was Behind GOP Efforts To Place Nader On The Ballot. According to the American Prospect, “In addition, according to several sources, the Nader campaign was assisted in its petition drive by an unlikely figure: the ultra-conservative former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, Nathan Sproul. Sources say Sproul -- who is also spearheading an initiative to block public funding from political campaigns in the state -- made payments to the petition contractors working on his public-funding initiative to gather signatures for Nader as well.” [American Prospect, 06/25/04]

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Have you gotten late night or anonymous robo-calls?

Two years ago supporters of Rep. Gerlach made up to 24 to 24 robo-calls to the phones of voters in Berks County. The calls started by saying, "I have important information to tell you about Lois Murphy."

By starting the calls that way, the receiver of the messages would think that the calls were coming from the Murphy campaign, when in fact they were pro-Gerlach, anti-Murphy calls.

Most people didn't hear the rest of the call because they hung up. The calls were made around the clock, waking up voters and irritating many to the point where they said they wouldn't vote, or they would never vote for someone (Murphy) who would make so many calls disrupting their lives. Some have said that this tactic tipped the scales and allowed Gerlach to eke out a victory last cycle.

It appears that the GOP is using this vote suppression tactic again. In an email I received today, the writer says the following:

The other night I was awakened at 3 am by a phone call from what at first seemed to be a "robo-call" from the Obama campaign. However, the voice sounded like an Obama impersonator, and at the very end of the message I was informed that it was actually sent by the republican party. Apparently this is being done on behalf of the McCain campaign to make people angry at Obama for being awakened by a late-night phone call. Had I not listened to the entire message I would not have known that it didn't come from Obama's campaign. I'll say one thing though, the call did help me make up my mind about who I'll be voting for... Barack Obama.
[Name withheld at writer's request]

This is the only instance I have heard of this tactic so far. If this has happened to you, please let me know so we can build a case for the media. This is an illegal and unethical tactic, if it is indeed happening again, and it must not be allowed to happen again. (All political calls must cite the origin of the call at the beginning of the call.

If this has happened to you, please email us with your contact information and the date and time of the call(s). Please try to record the call or save it if it's on your voicemail. Send the information to:

Michael Morrill
Keystone Progress

Thursday, October 9, 2008

McCain Supporters Spew Hate in Bethlehem, PA

On Wednesday, October 8, your intrepid diarist stood in line with McCain supporters in Bethlehem, PA. While they were waiting in line to see Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin, they threatened protesters, called Obama a terrorist and repeatedly told the protesters to go home.

One McCain supporter hit the lowest point, IMHO. When a protester asked how the McCainites would feel if a friend of theirs had to pay for her own rape kit, one of them shouted back "She should die!"

Meanwhile, McCain and Palin continued to incite audience inside (no video available here). And the County GOP head twice called him "Barack Hussein Obama."
Truly horrendous, scary and revealing stuff.

If you've had enough of this sleaze, sign the petition:

We'll deliver it to McCain the next time he's in PA. And we'll bring cameras!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mandatory Overtime Ban Passes House, governor Will sign

Nurses and other patient caregivers celebrate a victory, praise lawmakers, and look forward to safer work environment.

(HARRISBURG, PA) – It’s been seven years in the making, but on Wednesday, legislation against mandatory overtime for health caregivers passed its last hurdle on its way to the Governor’s desk.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a concurrence vote on House Bill 834, accepting amendments made in the Senate. Governor Rendell has pledged to sign the bill.
“This is one big positive step forward for patients and nurses across Pennsylvania,” said Kathy Magaro, RN, Coordinator of the SEIU Nurse Alliance of Pennsylvania. “We had champions in both the House and the Senate, but the real heroes are the nurses and other direct patient caregivers who met with legislators again and again to tell them the reality of mandatory overtime and why this ban is so important to them and their patients.”

Twelve other states have also passed laws banning mandatory overtime, including neighboring New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.

Extensive research has demonstrated the link between overtime in health care and medical errors, including a 2004 study by University of Pennsylvania Researcher Ann Rogers finding that the risk of errors increased when nurses worked overtime or worked more than 40 hours per week. In fact, the risk of error was 3 times higher when a nurse worked 12.5 hour shift or longer.

A more recent study published in January of 2008 in the journal, Sleep, links long work hours to incidents of drowsy driving by nurses leaving their scheduled work shift. Two-thirds of nurses reported at least one episode of drowsy driving during the 4-week research study period.

“I’m so proud of the work our members did all across the state to support this bill. Many nurses in our union already have protection against mandatory overtime in their union contracts, but they reached out again and again to stand up for all patients and nurses who don’t have the benefits of a union,” said Neal Bisno, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. “Because of them, now all nurses and patients in Pennsylvania are protected.”

The passage of this bill will make it the first piece of legislation passed in years that protects nurses and patients and marks a huge step forward for nurses and their union.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the Commonwealth’s largest and fastest-growing union of nurses and other health care workers, representing over 20,000 members in hospitals, nursing homes, home care, and state health facilities. For more information go to:
The Nurse Alliance of Pennsylvania is an affiliate of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, uniting over 10,000 nurses across Pennsylvania in our commitment to provide the safest and highest quality of care for our patients and the public we serve. For more information visit:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

GOP Sinks to Historic Low: Calls Obama “A Terrorist’s Best Friend”

Demand an apology from McCain

The Republican Party has reached a new level of sleaziness, unseen even by veteran political reporters. On Monday, the Chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, Robert A. Gleason, Jr., sent a news release to media across the state headlined “PAGOP: OBAMA - A TERRORIST’S BEST FRIEND.”

Will Bunch, a columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News, said “I've been writing about political campaigns for more than a quarter-century now, and it really takes a lot to surprise me, but I am absolutely stunned at the depths that the Republican Party is willing to sink to try in win this election.”

We agree. This shows real desperation from the Republicans and the McCain campaign.
But more important, this shows who really lacks character. The issue of Senator Obama’s relationship to 1970’s radical Bill Ayers has been scrutinized by news organizations of every political stripe. All have concluded that there has never been a substantial relationship between Obama and Ayers. However, facts are unnecessary for the PA GOP when spreading sleaze.

If you’re tired of the lies and sleaze, click here to tell John McCain to apologize and stop his party’s desperate and despicable descent to what the Will Bunch calls “truly a rock bottom moment in American politics.”

Michael Morrill
Keystone Progress

Friday, October 3, 2008

McCain's Disastrous Healthcare Plan

From the Pennsylvania Progressive

Have you looked at John McCain's proposals for healthcare? They are so scary you might get cardiac arrest. If so do it before the inauguration. After that may be too late for your health.

The centerpiece of McCain's healthcare plan is taxation. He revokes the deduction businesses and corporations currently get for providing you coverage and adds a tax on those benefits for you, if you receive employer based health care coverage. This means companies will no longer pay for your coverage from pre-tax earnings. Estimates are that millions of Americans may lose this coverage if businesses opt to no longer provide such benefits.

On top of this you will now pay income tax on the value of your benefit should your company choose to keep offering it to you. An average family plan costs $12,600. This means McCain will add $12,600/year to your taxable income. This translates to about $1,200/year in taxes. On the other hand he'll give families a $5000 tax credit and $2500 for individuals.

Read the entire article and see videos from the Keystone Progress/Center for American Progress news conference at the Pennsylvania Progressive.

Clean Water Action and Sierra Club Score State Legislature on Environment Votes

Clean Water Action and Sierra Club Score State Legislature on Environment Votes

(Harrisburg) – Sierra Club and Clean Water Action released today a “Pennsylvania General Assembly Environmental Scorecard” which rates state legislators on their voting record on environmental issues in 2007 and 2008.

The Scorecard covers a range of environmental issues tackled by both the State House and State Senate over the past legislative session. Votes on the Scorecard include ones on air quality, energy, climate change, open space, transportation, and environmental funding.

The Scorecard is available for download at either or at .

Myron Arnowitt, State Director for Clean Water Action, stated, “The state legislature tackled some important environmental issues over the past two years, including funding the cleanup of our toxic waste sites, and funding alternative energy programs. However, critical work is left undone, including helping residents save on their energy bills through energy efficiency, and protecting the safety of our drinking water supplies.”

Dennis Winters, Political Chair of the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, said, “Many of the issues included in this Scorecard affect the health, safety of Pennsylvania’s citizens and the environmental we all depend on. We believe that the public has the right to know how their elected officials vote on these matters, so they can hold their legislators accountable. The public interest is better served when these decisions are exposed to daylight.”

Two State Senators, Vincent Hughes (Philadelphia) and Michael Stack (Philadelphia) got perfect 100% scores. Close behind were Senators Ferlo (Allegheny), Fontana (Allegheny), Kitchen (Philadelphia), Tartaglione (Philadelphia), and Anthony Williams (Philadelphia) with 90% scores. The highest scoring Republican Senator was Stewart Greenleaf (Bucks) with an 80% score.

Sixteen State House members scored a perfect 100%: Bennington (Allegheny), Casorio (Westmoreland), Freeman (Northampton), Hanna (Centre), Josephs (Phila.), Kessler (Berks), Leach (Montgomery), Lentz (Delaware), Mundy (Luzerne), Roebuck (Phila.), Samuelson (Lehigh), Santoni (Berks), Taylor (Montgomery), Vitali (Delaware), Wagner (Allegheny), Walko (Allegheny). The highest scoring Republican Representative was George Kenney (Phila.) at 90%.

The lowest scoring Senators were Mike Folmer (Lebanon) at 10% and John Eichelberger (Blair) at 20%. The lowest scoring House member was Bob Bastian (Somerset) who scored a 0%.

Sierra Club is national environmental organization that was founded in 1892. It has 10 local Groups in Pennsylvania, representing over 27,000 members. The Sierra Club works to protect and restore the natural and human environment through education and advocacy.

Clean Water Action is a national, member supported, environmental organization working to protect our waters, build healthy communities, and make democracy work for all of us. Operating in Pennsylvania for 25 years, Clean Water Action has over 100,000 members in the state.