PA-06:Fool Me Once, SOY, Fool Me Twice, SOM

Fool Me Once, Shame On You, Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me

I just saw this today, about PA-06,  http://www.dailykos.com/story/… at GOS, and since I have relatives who live in this district, plus I spent part of my life very close by, I thought I’d comment.  First, some background on Southeastern Pennsylvania politics.

In 2006 a former career Navy admiral named Joe Sestak(D) decided to run for Congress in nearby PA- 07.  It was a traditionally Republican district, but he managed to win.  Sestak was a Netroots candidate.  

After he won his second term, he became bored or more ambitious, and decided to run for the Pennsylvania Senate against Arlen Specter, who had switched parties from Republican to Democrat.

Even though he was still in the House, Sestak’s campaign donations jumped dramatically until he officially announced he was out of the congressional race and into the Senate.  This happened during the height of the health care debate in the spring of 2009, and during that, the issue was, for many activists, whether or not we would have a bill with a Public Option.

In spite of my online, public queries as to whether or not Sestak supported a Public Option, his online coordinator remained coy and merely directed me to links on Sestak’s campaign site, which did not supply that information. I also searched elsewhere.  From those links, it seemed that Sestak was for the concept of health care reform in general, but which sounded like mostly private plans, managed differently.  Since Sestak had campaigned on his family’s personal health care struggles, this was rather annoying.

Plus, with Sestak running for Senate, it now left PA- 07 at risk of being retaken by the Republican Party, after a lot of people for a very long time had worked to get it out. Triple annoying.   Now it looks to be a race between a Democratic State Representative, Bryan Roy Lentz, and a former Republican US Attorney, Patrick L Meehan.  http://www.thegreenpapers.com/…   Here is Meehan’s site, http://www.meehanforcongress.com/   he’s raised over a million so far, and he’s not going to do a damned thing for that district.  Here is Meehan’s version of health care “reform”  http://meehanforcongress.com/h…      which is to give people tax credits to purchase insurance and have them use Health Savings Accounts.  He is against the current bill and would have voted against it.   On the other issues, economy, taxes, and transportation, he ignores foreign policy.   Meehan’s probable Democratic opponent, Bryan Lentz, isn’t something to get enthused about, either, he is also tacking to the right trying to keep up with the “more tax cuts will solve everything” meme.   His healthcare stance is vague other than he says he will “fight” to let Americans keep their doctor and insurance, and “fight” against insurance companies to stop discrimination against those with pre existing conditions. “Bryan will fight for real lobbying reform that includes banning all gifts from lobbyists ” to reform our government.”  “Bryan will also work to provide tax cuts to companies that take advantage of innovative renewable energy technologies like wind, solar and geothermal.”  http://votelentz.com/index.php…

So, if Lentz loses, because he is a klutz, http://www.pa2010.com/2010/04/…     Sestak has turned the seat over to the Republicans, only to run against a Democratic incumbent in a race he is also likely to lose, because he underestimated Specter’s being a known quantity state wise, and his personality seems to have some Philly area, eastern PA loyalty.

In 2006 I had travelled to the district and had talked a high school friend into campaigning for Sestak, so I was very interested in the answer to the Public Option query, as here it was 3 years later, in 2009,  since the Democrats had taken control of the House, the economy was worse, the war(s) were still going on, and we still did not have any sort of decent bills coming out of this Congress on this matter.  I take my endorsements seriously.  Especially since I was talking to somebody who told me what his life was like living in a town whose economy was not doing well, and he was now enthused about this candidate.

It was only after Senator Arlen Specter publicly said that he was for a Public Option, in 2009,  that the formerly reticent Sestak began to publicly be for one, too.  THIS is the power of the primary.  It makes candidates commit to platforms and give their stances on issues, which then we the voter can compare to their later behaviors.

Arlen Specter is a crafty old ex Democrat, then ex Republican who’s a Democrat again, who’s alway’s had a bit of a moderate- liberal streak.  If there is one thing he knows, it’s that you can’t undercut your own Party consistently.  Hence Arlen, after a bit of a fumble out of the gate, got with the program and supported Health Care Reform and the Public Option.  He also signed the “Bennet Letter”  on Feb 19, 2009,  which supported the leadership to use reconciliation to pass a Public Option.   http://www.politico.com/news/s…   Yes, I know that we didn’t get one, but we also had alleged Democratic Senators who were actively fighting against this P/O the entire way, such as Blanche Lincoln ( D, “Koch Oil, Walmart”)  of Arkansas, and a lot of alleged Democratic congressmen.   Overall, Specter has been a Democrat during his time as a Democrat.

But this isn’t about him, really, or Sestak.  It’s about Doug Pike vs. Manan Trevidi, in the Democratic Primary in nearby PA – 06 .    

This is Doug Pike’s campaign site

http://www.pikeforcongress.com

here’s his issues page with economy, energy, health care, ethics, national security, equality, education,and veterans

http://www.pikeforcongress.com…

This is what it says on the healthcare issue

http://www.pikeforcongress.com…


Doug Pike understands America’s health care system, why it’s not working for everyone, and what we must do to fix it.

He has experienced our health care system from both sides: as a person watching relatives and friends struggle to pay their skyrocketing medical bills, and as chairman of the board for a hospital that worked to provide excellent care at affordable prices.  He has seen how our current system fails patients and care providers alike, and he knows it has to be fixed.

In Congress, Doug will champion quality, affordable health care for every American – including a strong public option that will create real competition and lower costs for families and businesses alike. He will fight to reduce waste by advocating for improved electronic record keeping, a greater focus on preventive care and better coverage for mental health care.

Doug is a staunch supporter of a woman’s right to choose.  He is also an advocate for increased funding for family planning services and organizations that support and promote adoption, to ensure that families can make the best, most informed decisions possible.  

___________________________________

This is Manan Trivedi’s campaign site

http://www.trivediforcongress….

This is what it says on the healthcare issue:

http://www.trivediforcongress….


The Strength of a Healthy America

The United States spends more on healthcare than any other nation in the world, yet nearly 50 million people are without insurance. Healthcare costs are skyrocketing, crippling businesses that are trying to rebuild a strong economy. And despite spending more each year on health care, the value of the care we receive is in question.  Our system is broken and we must do something now to fix it.

I believe the following key actions will lead to a stronger, more efficient health care system:

•    Ensure affordable access for all: I will fight for quality affordable healthcare for every American.  Without this, we will never be able to fully tackle the many difficult issues that plague our current system.

•    Reduce costs: We must get a handle on rapidly rising costs in healthcare.  In the context of the current health care debate, I support a strong public option as a means to keep costs at bay and provide Americans with an alternative to private insurance companies.  I will also rein in costs over the long-term by supporting comparative effectiveness research-studies that will help us really figure out what works and what doesn’t work in healthcare.  I also support the expansion of health information technology and chronic disease management programs, both of which have been proven to reduce costs and improve quality.

•    Reform insurance companies: The doctor-patient relationship has been co-opted by insurance company administrators.  I will support legislation that leaves the decisions up to the patients and their doctors, not the insurance company CEOs.  And no more should pre-existing conditions be a barrier to affordable coverage and care-denial of coverage because of pre-existing conditions should be outlawed.  Additionally, I will streamline administrative processes for insurance claims and processing so doctors can focus on patient care and not paperwork.

•    Improve quality: The incentives in our system must be re-aligned to reward healthcare providers for the quality of care they provide, not the quantity.  I will push for universal adoption of patient safety standards and support development of innovative measures to reduce medical errors.

•    Promote primary care:  Primary care providers are the backbone of the healthcare system, promoting prevention and treating diseases at their earliest and least costly stage. I will see to it that we greatly increase the number of primary care providers and that those who choose these fields be adequately compensated.

•    Invest in community health:  Because so much of health is determined outside the doctor’s office or hospital, we need to think about health every day, not just the days we visit the doctor.  I will work for making all neighborhoods healthier-with walking paths, open spaces, and access to healthy groceries.  I will also support programs that ensure healthy food options are available in all schools.

•    Focus on women’s health:  I recognize that healthcare reform is not true reform if it prohibits women’s access to reproductive health services.  That is why I will fight to preserve a woman’s right to choose, and work to ensure that access to contraception, emergency contraception, and pre-natal/maternity care is protected.   Additionally, because women comprise the majority of the uninsured, efforts to expand insurance will be a major step forward in improving healthcare for women in America.  I also support an increase in NIH research funding for the areas of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease in women, and reproductive health.

So given this direct, written, candidate by candidate comparison, why is a front pager at GOS trying to portray Doug Pike as some sort of looney, anti abortion nutter ?

Talk about smear jobs.   I read this and thought, WTF.

Here’s the 2 candidates on national security

Doug Pike

issue: national security

http://www.pikeforcongress.com…


The United States of America is the most powerful country in the world, but for too long our foreign policy and national security policies were over-simplified, careless and weak.  Doug stands with the Obama Administration as it returns to a time-tested bipartisan approach that emphasizes clear-eyed diplomacy, multilateral efforts and a sharp focus on defeating Al Qaeda.

Doug agreed with the President’s plan to reinforce our troops in Afghanistan in the spring as part of our vital struggle against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. He also supports the strategy of removing our combat troops from Iraq and encouraging the country to take responsibility for its own security and democracy.

Doug believes that the Bush Administration’s misguided use of torture has damaged our international standing and diminished our national security, by alienating our allies and emboldening our enemies.  These outcomes have made us less safe and must never happen again.

Doug is a strong supporter of the state of Israel. The United States and Israel share a deep commitment to democracy in a dangerous world, and Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East. Doug has visited Israel, home to his cousin and family, and has seen firsthand the challenges that face this U.S. friend and ally. Like both President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Doug supports a sustainable two-state solution as the most likely way to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Doug supports stronger efforts to stop nuclear proliferation and believes every effort must be made to prevent the further development of nuclear weapons in Iran and North Korea.

I think that is pretty straightforward for Pike, don’t you ?  

*

*

Manan Trivedi’s

issue: national security (only he calls it “A Leader in the World”)

http://www.trivediforcongress….


A Leader in the World

The events of September 11th put in clear focus to the world that there are evil people intent on harming those of us who live in freedom.  America, along with a coalition of our allies, must ensure that we are doing everything we can to stamp out terrorism wherever it lies.  We must be more directed in our actions, pinpoint our resources, and, most importantly, do all that we can to limit casualties to our own men and women.  Moreover, we need to focus on the root of the problem and avoid any diversion of our efforts.

The invasion of Iraq was unnecessary and immoral.  Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, posed no imminent threat to our nation, and Al-Qaeda did not enter Iraq until after our occupation.  The resources we committed to Iraq have hamstrung our efforts to combat terrorism in Afghanistan and around the globe.

As your Congressman, I will take the following steps to strengthen our national security and ensure that America is a leader around the world by spreading peace and democracy:

•    A better plan in Afghanistan: I will work with my former military colleagues to better define our objectives, lay out a clear path to achieve success, and outline benchmarks and timelines needed to gauge our progress. If we can not find a path to victory we must stop putting our troops in harms way.

•    Expedite Iraqi sovereignty: We must expedite military withdrawal to our bases and allow the trained Iraqi military to take charge.  Staying longer will only delay their improvement and garner further misguided resentment of our troops.

•    Support Israel:  Israel is a strong ally in a volatile region.  I will continue to support the cause of Israel and work with all groups that have shown a commitment to ending violence.  Like the majority of Israelis and Palestinians, I favor a two-state solution to end the ongoing conflict.

•    Do more for our troops and their families:  As we continue to ask so much of our men and women in uniform, we must be more supportive of them and their families.  We must plan for a more reasonable deployment cycle, increase educational and healthcare benefits for the active duty and veteran community, and raise compensation for the junior enlisted, if not all our soldiers and sailors.  Moreover, the U.S. should provide meaningful support to military families with loved ones serving abroad, helping them to cope with new struggles, financial or otherwise.

Hmmm.

Trivedi doesn’t say anything about torture, or “never again,”  does he ?

___________

During the last health care insurance reform debate, it was clear that the problem was in the Senate and the White House with committing to, getting to, and keeping in the bill, a Public Option or Medicare buy in.  The “problem” was not in the House of Representatives, they had a Public Option in their version of the bill, and they were forced to lose it by threat of filibuster in the Senate over reconciliation.   Both of these options were very popular with the public, according to the polls and to the reform advocates,  and would have provided MORE coverage at less overall cost, saving money,  so it was illogical to leave them out unless one was attempting to appease the insurance industry and kill competition with private plans, or if a secret deal had been struck in private earlier on what was to be in the final version.

We know how that story ended.  The Progressive caucus eventually folded, but the so called “moderate” Blue Dogs were the much more problematic bloc, because they had the most ties to the energy and pharma industries.

The Senate, the Obama administration, and the MSM tried to put the blame on the lack of a 60 vote, fillibuster proof Senate Majority, in spite of having all 3 branches, House, Senate, and WH, held by a majority of the same political party.

“We don’t have the votes”  became the media mantra.

It would not have shocked me to see the evil mugwumps in the Senate let the bill die if the Progressive caucus had held the line, and ended up really telling them to go scratch.  

Now, the GOS story touting Manan Trivedi over Doug Pike is saying that unless people like Manan Trivedi are elected to the House in Congress, we won’t get health care reform.  

This has to be some sort of joke.

Half to 3/4’s of the site’s remaining commenters on the topic are against it, have fought against it, preferring the half loaf, “pragmatic” (sic) let’s see what what happens with the private insurance only version,  where we leave a half million people out, with no cost controls like a public alternative, and then act surprised in 2018.  Others have left in disgust at the right wing tilt, or been booted or harassed off.   The remaining well known writers on the topic ought to qualify for the bloggie version of the “Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur.”

•••• The story at GOS claims Pike “wouldn’t take a stand,” and links to the Hill article written last month, about Democratic candidates. http://thehill.com/homenews/ca…

You know what the “the stand” was ?   It was whether the House should vote first on the Senate version of the bill. Think. The Senate version of the bill had no Public Option, and was the more expensive and less comprehensive of the two versions.   In that Hill article, Trevedi said the House should vote on it.

Which meant he, Trevedi, did not favor actually having a Public Option in the final bill.  

You can’t have it both ways.  You either are for something, or you are not.   And there is no way that Trevedi, with his recent, active military background, is going to be anything other than an incrementalist conservative on health care.

I do not care if he is a physician.    It’s the same thing with the one running against Dan Lungren here in CA 03, Dr. Ami Bera.  An ER Physician ran against Lungren before, and the DC beltway barely deigned to notice.    Now they, the DNC, is pretending putting more physicians in the House is going to solve the problem with the Senate.

No, it’s just going to suck more decent physicians, badly needed by their communities to be DOCTORS,  into the maw of lobbyists who tell them if they do any insurance industry reforms, they won’t get any lobbyist money nor support from the National party.

Which it’s fine to be.  Just don’t try to pass yourself off as something else during a campaign.  We already saw that with Joe Sestak and the rest of the House.

The article at GOS also claims Trivedi has the labor endorsements, but it is the AFL – CIO which has endorsed Doug Pike. http://www.pa2010.com/2010/03/…

They made a big deal out of zapping Doug Pikes’s supporters off the GOS site earlier, and claimed that there was sockpuppetry going on.  They’re bringing it up again, in more than one place.  http://www.swingstateproject.c…      Note the odd pride in having the candidate you’re praising refusing to take a “positive campaign” pledge against personal attacks. Notice how the person who wrote the hit piece as a sort taunt, months after the fact, tells somebody who questions it that “we ask that people not engage in speculation on the site because few things cause more grief than accusations of shilling.”   Causes grief, for who ?


quote from the GOS author of the pro Trevidi article:



A few months ago a mutual friend encouraged Manan and I to meet, and we sat down for breakfast across the street from my office. At this point — and this is not to brag but for context — I do meet with candidates fairly frequently, and they all seem to want to know my answers to two questions: (1) how can I raise money from the Netroots?, and (2) how can I raise money from your law firm?


Well, of course there is sockpuppetry going on.  I’ve personally experienced negative effects from it, been chased around by them, and seen lots of evidence of it, and they didn’t care.    Nice to see they got so “concerned” about it that they zapped off all the primary competition for this 2010 race, and now they’re having the FP write stories about how neglected Trivedi is as a candidate, and how evil Pike is for using ….  sockpuppets ?

As we would say in Pennsylvania, you are 2 Krimpets shy of a Tastycake box, or you have Scrapple for Brains.  

Trust me, the general public in Pennsylvania, in that district, just like any other, does not care about political blog sock puppets, as much as they care about whether they have jobs, whether once they lose their job the Senate will quit screwing around and pass the unemployment extensions, whether they can get food stamps or will the food relief pantry be stocked,  and will the useless government finally bother to care to attempt to create JOBS.  They care about their mortgages and losing their house or apartment, too.  They care about the banks,  and the high cost of everything.  Oh, and that health care issue-  what about Universal, Real Coverage, anyway ?  That doesn’t leave millions out of they system ?

But they WOULD care very much, if they found out that the OFA/DNC/Big Democratic Blog on the internet was admitting they censored a candidate off, or his campaign manager, or discussion of potential, liberal solutions to these issues off, by using any excuse that is not enforced evenly.

Because Doug Pike, you see, committed the ultimate sin of being a …..  journalist in his previous life. Who wrote op- eds, which is like blogging, only for pay, and requires a lot of research and a decision making process based on facts, as seen by a civilian.  For a liberal newspaper.   So Doug Pike’s put it out there, his opinions, for a long time.  Oh, and his father was in Congress.  So that ought to scare the beejeebers out of them.

The FP story at GOS implied he was a carpetbagger.  WTF, again.  The greater Philadelphia metro suburban northwest area covers this district.


from Pike’s bio on his website:

For the past 35 years, he has worked as a journalist, serving on the Editorial Board of The Philadelphia Inquirer for 14 of those years. At the Inquirer, he listened to the voices of Pennsylvania families and worked to hold elected officials accountable.

In addition to his experience as a journalist, Doug has front-line experience in health care, an issue he knows well and cares about deeply. He served for 10 years as the chairman of the board for a hospital. Having worked in the health care industry, he understands how our health care system has been failing families for too long and why costs have been skyrocketing.  

While Doug has served the community outside of government, he’s no stranger to the political process. Earlier in his career, Doug worked as a speechwriter for U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas. His father, Otis Pike, was a nine-term Democratic Congressman from 1961 to 1979.

Growing up, Doug learned a great deal from his father, who chaired the House Select Committee on Intelligence (also known as “the Pike Committee”) from 1975-1976. The committee investigated the activities of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies.

Do you remember 1974 ?  I do. Nixon resigned because of Watergate, Ford became President, we had withdrawn from Vietnam the year before, after signing the Paris Peace Accords in 1973.   Read this link:

The Pike Committee Investigations and the CIA by Gerald K Haines, the Agency Historian at the CIA

http://bss.sfsu.edu/fischer/IR…


A storm broke over the CIA on 22 December 1974, when Seymour Hersh published a front-page article in The New York Times headlined “Huge C.I.A. Operation Reported in U.S. Against Anti-War Forces.” Hersh’s article alleged that the Agency had been engaged in massive domestic spying activities. 1 His charges stunned the White House and Congress.

In response, President Ford established a blue-ribbon panel, the Rockefeller Commission, to investigate CIA activities in the United States. Ford later complicated the already-delicate issue further by hinting of CIA involvement in assassination attempts against foreign leaders. Congress soon launched its own investigation of the entire Intelligence Community (IC) and its possible abuses. On 27 January 1975, the US Senate established the Senate Select Committee to Study Government Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities (the Church Committee). On 19 February 1975, the House voted to create a House Select Intelligence Committee (the Nedzi Committee, which was replaced five months later by the Pike Committee.)

These Congressional investigations eventually delved into all aspects of the CIA and the IC. For the first time in the Agency’s history, CIA officials faced hostile Congressional committees bent on the exposure of abuses by intelligence agencies and on major reforms. In the Congress, there was no longer a consensus to support intelligence activities blindly. The old Congressional seniority system and its leadership was giving way. With the investigations, the CIA also became a focal point in the ongoing battle between the Congress and the executive branch over foreign policy issues and the “imperial presidency.”

/snip

According to CIA officer Richard Lehman, the Pike Committee staffers were “absolutely convinced that they were dealing with the devil incarnate.” For Lehman, the Pike staff “came in loaded for bear.” Donald Gregg, the CIA officer responsible for coordinating Agency responses to the Pike Committee, remembered, “The months I spent with the Pike Committee made my tour in Vietnam seem like a picnic. I would vastly prefer to fight the Viet Cong than deal with a polemical investigation by a Congressional committee, which is what the Pike Committee [investigation] was.” An underlying problem was the large cultural gap between officers trained in the early years of the Cold War and the young staffers of the anti-Vietnam and civil rights movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

/snip

On 29 January 1976, the House voted 246 to 124 to direct the Pike Committee not to release its report

/snip

Pike was bitter over the vote. He announced to the House, “The House just voted not to release a document it had not read. Our committee voted to release a document it had read.”  Pike was so upset that he threatened not to file a report at all with the House because “a report on the CIA in which the CIA would do the final rewrite would be a lie.”  Later, Pike reflected that “They, the White House, wanted to precensor our final report. This was unacceptable.”

per wikipedia, the final official report of the Pike Committee was never published, but unauthorized versions were leaked to the press.  Portions were published by the Village Voice, and a draft copy was published in England.

Now, in the year 2010, we find our nation once again confronting the fact that not only did we go into a 2nd mid east war on false pretenses, we  have secretly renditioned, imprisoned and even sometimes abused thousands of prisoners into a no- man’s land of being neither combatants or civil criminals. This country at the direction of George Bush and Dick Cheney,  tortured an unknown number, guilty of nothing but being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the there is no set end in sight.  With a new President, while one war in Iraq draws down, another one ramps up in Afghanistan, and yet a third country adjacent, Pakistan, is now having selective bombing operations against it and covert forces operating there.  Another country is under threat of either being sanctioned or bombed.  We have created over a million refugees and killed an unknown number ranging from 600 thousand to upwards of another million. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C…    We have suffered over 4,200 dead in Iraq alone and are approaching another 1000 in Afghanistan.   Will the truth ever be told ?

In 2009, there were 7,228 improvised explosive device (IED) bomb attacks in Afghanistan, in the 8th year of the war.  In December 2009, President Obama decided to deploy an additional 30,000 troops there.  In 2010, we learned that al – Qaida’s number 2 or number 3 plotter with bin Laden, wasn’t, after all.

Again, will the truth ever be told?

Will Congress ever be allowed to even ask ?

1 comment

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  1. …. arse.

    Full disclosure.  I have relatives in both districts or living nearby in other districts.  The only one of the above I have met and spoken to is Sestak.

    I don’t get paid for writing this and never have, and I’ve disclosed when I volunteered for a campaign.  Those arsewhipes at Netroots know this because I went for two years, and used my real name and didn’t hide my non occupation.  I noticed a name on the story who was following me around at the other site, taking extreme offense at my asking questions of a candidate posting on that site.  I had others imply or accuse me of working for yet another candidate I had never met, because I pointed out discrepancies in filing for office way after the fact, and lack of commitment, aka “lip service” to certain topics, or wrote about campaign donations.   After I wrote it, I realized it was going to perhaps cause problems on the other end, and sent the campaign a link when I realized that I knew the campaign manager from a previous one and of course that meant now I must be some sort of super secret double agent 99 out to destroy the election.   My advice is don’t post live using your candidate name, but then using your clueless staffer who then gets pissy, unless you’re allowed to answer questions.  But they’re going to get pissy anyway, because this year they’re between a rock and a hard place with the OFA trying to micromanage the message to the masses.

    Maybe some people ought to get their facts straight.

    And at least stop claiming that there’s not little cliques out to “get” people.  

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