Monday, April 10, 2006



Pennsylvania has 19 congressional seats and a U.S. Senate seat in the November election, making it one of the most important battle grounds in the country. Rick Santorum, one of the most narrow-minded, bigoted, extreme right-wing and corrupt of anyone in the entire Congress, is widely thought to be the incumbent senator with the least chance for survival. Currently among the 19 House members 11 are Republicans, all of the rubber-stamp variety. Not a single one ever stands up against the extremist Bush-DeLay-Boehner agenda. Several of these rubber-stamp Republicans are thought to be in as much jeopardy from the voters as is Santorum, particularly Jim Gerlach (PA-06), Curt Weldon (PA-07), and Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) and possibly Phil English (PA-03).

There is a very bitter primary race among Democrats to oppose Santorum. The Inside-the-Beltway establishment candidate is a right-of-center Democrat with a big-name daddy, State Treasure Bob Casey (whose father was a beloved governor). He would probably prefer to be a governor himself but Chuck Schumer of the DSCC (and the current governor, Ed Rendell) imposed on recruited him to run against the much-hated Santorum. Not many Democrats are aware that Casey is anti-choice and, no doubt, Santorum-- also virulently anti-choice-- is hoping (and plotting) that closer to November Democratic women and progressives will find out about this and other reactionary Casey positions that will cause disillusionment and revulsion and hold down turnout among Democrats. Schumer doesn't seem to see this as a danger, and hopefully in November people won't be saying he had his head up his ass. I am worried that by electing Casey-- if that is even possible-- the Democrats will be creating another Zell Miller or Joe Lieberman or Ben Nelson, Democrats who tend to vote with Republicans on crucial issues. During the heated debate over Bush's extreme right-wing Supreme Court nomination, Sam Alito, Casey gratuitously chimed in that he would have voted to confirm Alito, something that was done by only 4 Democrats-- all in red states-- and something that even a sole Republican moderate, Lincoln Chafee, could not bring himself to do.

The progressive alternative to Casey is Chuck Pennacchio, although Schumer and the DSCC has been spectacularly successful in portraying Casey as THE Democrat running against Santorum and, with the lazy and superficial mass media, has given Casey's candidacy an air of inevitability. It's a damn shame because come November, more and more Democrats are going to find out that Casey is a kind of "Santorum-lite." Pennacchio's positions and values are Democratic positions and values. He would make a much better Senator. Another excellent progressive, Alan Sandals, is also in the May 16th primary, although he seems even a longer shot against Casey than Pennacchio is.

There are several Democratic primary races for House seats on May 16th as well. None of the 8 Democratic incumbents are in jeopardy in 2006. And of the Republicans, the most likely to lose is Jim Gerlach in the northwest Philadelphia suburbs (Ardmore, Norristown, Pottstown, Coatesville). Last year he barely won-- with less than 50% of the vote-- against Lois Murphy, who is poised to beat him this year. She's a solid candidate who has been endorsed by both progressive grassroots Democrats as well as the Inside-the-Beltway power-mongers. An even further left Democrat, Mike Liebowitz hasn't generated enough enthusiasm to make him a serious contender against Murphy. PA-06 is a moderate suburban district-- the kind of district that abandoned the Republican candidates in Virginia and New Jersey en masse in 2005-- and Lois fits the district a lot better than the extreme far right Gerlach or the somewhat more liberal Liebowitz. Gerlach consistently tries to pass himself off as a moderate -- although pro-choice supporters know he is as radical and extreme as DeLay and any garden variety far right fanatic. And when it comes to selling out his constituents to Big Business and to the radical DeLay agenda, Gerlach is considered one of the 3 or 4 easiest lays in the House. Jim Gerlach defines rubber-stamp Republican.

Between PA-06 (Montgomery County) and the New Jersey border is PA-08, primarily Bucks County. It goes from Croydon, Bristol and Levittown up through Doylestown and Quakertown. The seat is current held by another arch rubber-stamper, Mike Fitzpatrick won the seat in 2004 with 55% of the vote. In all likelihood he will face a far stronger challenge in November from Patrick Murphy, the archetypal "Fighting Dem." I fell in love with Murphy's candidacy when I noticed that he is one of the only DCCC-blessed challengers who had the balls to ignore Rahm Emanuel's instance that no one say a word about Iraq. Instead of embarrassingly ignoring the issue, like too many Democrats, Murphy-- a decorated Iraq vet and former West Point professor-- took the bull by the horns the way progressives wish Emanuel and the DCCC would. From his website: "When Rep. John Murtha, the first Vietnam combat veteran elected to Congress, started the debate on America’s role in Iraq by saying 'Our troops have done all they can do,' he was right. Our troops toppled the Saddam Regime and made sure that there were no WMDs. It is time to change the direction in Iraq, and we need to start bringing our men and women home now.
Patrick believes in a responsible exit strategy, with benchmarks and a timeline, which encourages the Iraqis to stand up on their own, brings our men and women home, and most importantly, closes this chapter of our history and refocuses our efforts to win the War on Terror." Every Democrat running for Congress should tell Rahm Emanuel to go to hell and take a clear, ethical, reasonable-- and popular-- stand the way Murphy has. His stands on other issues are consistent-- pro-choice, pro-environment, in favor of balancing the budget and saving Medicare and Social Security from the deprecations of the Far Right.

Yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer has a spectacular story on Patrick Murphy, which makes it clear why he would make an exceptionally great U.S. congressman and details his transformation from a naive Bush supporter in 2000 to a dedicated Kerry backer in 2004. "I fell for it when he said he was a compassionate conservative. I can't compound a mistake by doing nothing about it. I tried to change it in 2004," having grown disillusioned with the Bush Regime while he was in Iraq. "The administration wasn't looking out for us," he said.

Before Murphy can get to Fitzpatrick he has to defeat former Bucks County Commissioner-- and recent Republican convert-- Andrew Warren. Warren's website looks good and his positions look progressive, but friends in the district tell me his current positions ring somewhat hollow. In any case, the district's official Democratic club overwhelmingly endorsed Murphy last month.

The third of Pennsylvania's "big 3" pits former Admiral Joe Sestak against a right wing Moonie nut case, reeking of corruption, Curt Weldon. There is no primary and Democrats, independents and sane Republicans have rallied to Sestak's campaign.

In the northwest corner of the state (Erie), PA-03 is going to see a rematch of 2004, with Doctor Steven Porter taking on Congressman Gluttony, Phil English. In 2004 English was able to beat Porter with a campaign of outrageous lies and innuendo. Porter, who was accused of everything from wanting to force drunks to undergo sterilization to prohibiting hunting, is prepared for his sleaze this time and with volunteers and some financing a truly progressive and serious-minded Porter could rid the congress of a rubber-stamp dullard who has disgraced his office.

Although Democrats are also challenging Republican incumbents in PA-05 (north central Pennsylvania from State College, Lock Haven and Oil City, right up to the New York border-- John Peterson v Don Hilliard), PA-09 (south central PA from the western outskirts of Harrisburg to Altoona and Connellsville-- Bill Shuster v Paul Politis, PA-10 (the northeast corner of the state, around Carbondale and Williamsport down to Sunbury-- Don Sherwood v "Fighting Dem" Chris Carney, PA-16 (the extreme southeast corner of the state from Reading and West Chester down to Maryland-- Joseph Pitts v Lois Herr, and PA-19 (a southern district that includes Gettysburg, Hanover, Carlisle, Mechanicsburg and the western suburbs of Harrisburg-- Todd Platts v "Fighting Dem" Phil Avillo, none of these districts have primaries.

There are Democratic primaries coming up in PA-18 (the suburbs south of Pittsburgh where wingnut Tim Murphy will have to face either Chad Kluko or progressive Tom Kovach) and PA-04 (the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh up to New Castle where Melissa Hart will have to face whoever wins the primary contest between progressive Jason Altmire and Georgia Berner). And just as I was about to put this up I Chris Bowers over at MyDD reported that the Democrats finally came up with a strategy to have someone-- Charles Dertinger-- run agaist wingnutia rubber-stamper Chares Dent in PA-15.

The DWT ACT BLUE Page is accepting contributions on behalf of Lois Murphy, Patrick Murphy, Steven Porter and Joe Sestak for the House and on behalf on Chuck Pennacchio for the Senate. Be part of a grassroots movement of people putting in $10 and $20 at a time to give us a government that a country we love and cherish as much as America deserves-- instead of one that is bought and paid for by the corrupt special interests that have brought us the nightmare of George W. Bush, Tom DeLay, Rick Santorum and the rubber-stamp Republican Congress.


At 9:17 AM, Blogger sevenpointman said...

The plan I am sending you has been approved by many prominent thinkers and
activists in the field. Which includes: Benjamin Ferencz, Chief Prosecutor
at the Nuremburg Trials, Tom Hayden, Matthew Rothschild, Anthony Arnove, Danny Schecter,
Tony Benn- Former Member of the British parliament ,Reggie Rivers,
Robert Jenkins, Andrew Bard Schmookler and others.
I formulated this plan in September 2004, based on a comprehensive
study of the issues. For my plan to be successful it must be implemented
with all seven points beginning to happen within a very short period of
I have run up against a wall of doubt about my plan due to it's
rational nature ,and due to it's adherence to placing the blame on the
invaders, and then trying to formulate a process of extrication which would
put all entities in this conflict face to face, to begin to finally solve
the dilemmas that exist.
If you read my plan you will see that it is guided by a reasonable
and practical compromise that could end this war and alleviate the
internecine civil violence that is confronting Iraq at this juncture in it's
I am making a plea for my plan to be put into action on a wide-scale.
I need you to circulate it and use all the persuasion you have to bring it
to the attention of those in power.
Just reading my plan and sending off an e-mail to me that you received
it will not be enough.

This war must end-we who oppose it can do this by using my plan.
We must fight the power and end the killing.

If you would like to view some comments and criticism about my plan
I direct you to my blog: sevenpointman

Thank you my dear friend,

Howard Roberts

A Seven-point plan for an Exit Strategy in Iraq

1) A timetable for the complete withdrawal of American and British forces
must be announced.
I envision the following procedure, but suitable fine-tuning can be
applied by all the people involved.

A) A ceasefire should be offered by the Occupying side to
representatives of both the Sunni insurgency and the Shiite community. These
representatives would be guaranteed safe passage, to any meetings. The
individual insurgency groups would designate who would attend.
At this meeting a written document declaring a one-month ceasefire,
witnessed by a United Nations authority, will be fashioned and eventually
signed. This document will be released in full, to all Iraqi newspapers, the
foreign press, and the Internet.
B) US and British command will make public its withdrawal, within
sixth-months of 80 % of their troops.

C) Every month, a team of United Nations observers will verify the
effectiveness of the ceasefire.
All incidences on both sides will be reported.

D) Combined representative armed forces of both the Occupying
nations and the insurgency organizations that agreed to the cease fire will
protect the Iraqi people from actions by terrorist cells.

E) Combined representative armed forces from both the Occupying
nations and the insurgency organizations will begin creating a new military
and police force. Those who served, without extenuating circumstances, in
the previous Iraqi military or police, will be given the first option to

F) After the second month of the ceasefire, and thereafter, in
increments of 10-20% ,a total of 80% will be withdrawn, to enclaves in Qatar
and Bahrain. The governments of these countries will work out a temporary
land-lease housing arrangement for these troops. During the time the troops
will be in these countries they will not stand down, and can be re-activated
in the theater, if the chain of the command still in Iraq, the newly
formed Iraqi military, the leaders of the insurgency, and two international
ombudsman (one from the Arab League, one from the United Nations), as a
majority, deem it necessary.

G) One-half of those troops in enclaves will leave three-months after they
arrive, for the United States or other locations, not including Iraq.

H) The other half of the troops in enclaves will leave after

I) The remaining 20 % of the Occupying troops will, during this six
month interval, be used as peace-keepers, and will work with all the
designated organizations, to aid in reconstruction and nation-building.

J) After four months they will be moved to enclaves in the above
mentioned countries.
They will remain, still active, for two month, until their return to
the States, Britain and the other involved nations.

2) At the beginning of this period the United States will file a letter with
the Secretary General of the Security Council of the United Nations, making
null and void all written and proscribed orders by the CPA, under R. Paul
Bremer. This will be announced and duly noted.

3) At the beginning of this period all contracts signed by foreign countries
will be considered in abeyance until a system of fair bidding, by both
Iraqi and foreign countries, will be implemented ,by an interim Productivity
and Investment Board, chosen from pertinent sectors of the Iraqi economy.
Local representatives of the 18 provinces of Iraq will put this board
together, in local elections.

4) At the beginning of this period, the United Nations will declare that
Iraq is a sovereign state again, and will be forming a Union of 18
autonomous regions. Each region will, with the help of international
experts, and local bureaucrats, do a census as a first step toward the
creation of a municipal government for all 18 provinces. After the census, a
voting roll will be completed. Any group that gets a list of 15% of the
names on this census will be able to nominate a slate of representatives.
When all the parties have chosen their slates, a period of one-month will be
allowed for campaigning.
Then in a popular election the group with the most votes will represent that
When the voters choose a slate, they will also be asked to choose five
individual members of any of the slates.
The individuals who have the five highest vote counts will represent a
National government.
This whole process, in every province, will be watched by international
observers as well as the local bureaucrats.

During this process of local elections, a central governing board, made up
of United Nations, election governing experts, insurgency organizations, US
and British peacekeepers, and Arab league representatives, will assume the
temporary duties of administering Baghdad, and the central duties of

When the ninety representatives are elected they will assume the legislative
duties of Iraq for two years.

Within three months the parties that have at least 15% of the
representatives will nominate candidates for President and Prime Minister.

A national wide election for these offices will be held within three months
from their nomination.

The President and the Vice President and the Prime Minister will choose
their cabinet, after the election.

5) All debts accrued by Iraq will be rescheduled to begin payment, on the
principal after one year, and on the interest after two years. If Iraq is
able to handle another loan during this period she should be given a grace
period of two years, from the taking of the loan, to comply with any
structural adjustments.

6) The United States and the United Kingdom shall pay Iraq reparations for
its invasion in the total of 120 billion dollars over a period of twenty
years for damages to its infrastructure. This money can be defrayed as
investment, if the return does not exceed 6.5 %.

7) During the beginning period Saddam Hussein and any other prisoners who
are deemed by a Council of Iraqi Judges, elected by the National
representative body, as having committed crimes will be put up for trial.
The trial of Saddam Hussein will be before seven judges, chosen from this
Council of Judges.
One judge, one jury, again chosen by this Council, will try all other
All defendants will have the right to present any evidence they want, and to
choose freely their own lawyers.

At 4:19 AM, Blogger cybermome said...


I'm a member of DFA here in Montgomery County PA. Our group has endorsed Patrick and most of us are helping the campaign. The Murphys(Patrick and Lois)and now Joe have a really good shot at these seats...
I got to hear all three at last Saturdays Grow the Blue events.
It was the first time I have heard Joe Sestak, and I was impressed.

Our DFA group has already had a fund raiser for Patrick and is hoping to do one for all three after the primaries.

At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you have your facts all wrong about the Leibowitz-Murphy democratic primary in PA-6. While Leibowitz out-flanks Murphy by supporting universal health care and energy independence, he also supports a balanced budget ammendment and investments in education and infrastructure aimed at improving the business climate in PA. Murphy underperformed Kerry last election and will probably do worse this year if she wins the democratic nomination. Her campaign is heavy on fundraising and light on substance, plus you know Gerlach can't wait to jump on her for being a former lobbyist. Leibowitz isn't afraid to talk issues and some of his ideas are very good. He's working harder than Murphy and he might just win.


Post a Comment

<< Home