Despite the conventional wisdom, money is not the determining factor in who wins an election.OK, to begin, let’s dispense with the utterly laughable notion that the horrific Citizens United ruling by the High Court of Hangin’ Judge JR benefited Democrats more than Republicans, which would be easy to deduce from Courier Times writer Gary Weckselblatt’s typically biased reporting (add this to his attack on Patrick Murphy in covering the Shir Ami debate and his unquestioning acceptance of Mike Fitzpatrick’s $2 grand-a-year COLAs over a period of 10 years while Mikey was a Bucks County Commissioner).
Republican Mike Fitzpatrick proved that earlier this month and Americans for Campaign Reform seconded the notion Thursday after an analysis of the 2010 midterms, the first since the Supreme Court issued its landmark Citizens United v. FEC ruling that permitted unlimited corporate- and union-funded electioneering ads.
"The lesson here is simple: money matters, but only to a point," Daniel Weeks, president of Americans for Campaign Reform, stated in a press release. "While candidates who lack sufficient funding may as well stay home, those who cross a competitive threshold of around $1.5 million to run for House will do just fine even when they are outspent by their opponent or independent groups."
The Fitzpatrick-Patrick Murphy race in the 8th Congressional District illustrates the point.
As noted here, the activist-Court travesty that was the Citizens United ruling led to the unencumbered flow of campaign donations provided by the “U.S.” Chamber of Commerce almost exclusively on behalf of the Repugs (except for “Democrats” Dan Boren, Mike Ross, John Barrow, and Jim Matheson), including $170 grand spent against Murphy.
I’m also waiting to hear an answer from Weckselblatt’s employer on the question of whether or not the “U.S.” Chamber paid for any of those disgusting full-page ads the paper ran on behalf of Fitzpatrick every day for two weeks until the election, with a big blue ball in the front-page banner telling people where to go to look for the full-page ad (assuming the typically Courier Times reader is too dumb to find a full-page ad in their own newspaper). These ads appeared in lieu of an actual Guest Opinion from Fitzpatrick in the closing days of the campaign telling us what he planned to do if he were elected.
And of course, any reference to the Ciervo-Fitzpatrick voter fraud letter has disappeared from the paper altogether, going along with no mention at the web site of Republican DA David Heckler and the Republican County Board of Elections (as noted yesterday).
Once more, mission accomplished (and believe it or not, looking back on the election, I was actually OK with the majority of what J.D. Mullane wrote; he dumped on Murphy to be sure, but he also blasted Fitzpatrick a few times, and that’s all I can ask).
(By the way, that comment about Mullane pertains to his newspaper columns. His wretched blog is a wholly other matter.)
One of the former U.S. attorneys who was targeted in a report by the Department of Justice for overspending on travel expenses soon is demanding correction and an apology from the agency.In response, please allow me to provide the following calm and reasoned observation…
Mary Beth Buchanan, the Bush-appointed U.S. attorney for the western district of Pennsylvania from 2001 to 2009, told The Daily Caller in a phone interview that there were several inaccuracies in the DOJ report that described her of overspending about $4,200 in taxpayer money on hotel expenses.
While Buchanan did not dispute the numbers in the report, which also targeted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, she said it failed to accurately represent the travel procedures her office followed during her tenure. Instead, said Buchanan, the report seemed to be written in a way “to give the appearance to suggest that [Buchanan’s] office was engaged in conduct that was excessive and abusive.”
(Oh, and since we’re talking about The Daily Tucker, this “news story” ends with ad hominem attacks against chief investigator and report author Maura Lee, with “several former DOJ employees” saying that Lee has a “troubled history” – yep, go smear someone with as broad a brush as possible, right Tucker?)
I have news for Buchanan, and anyone else who isn’t familiar with her sordid story - she was engaged in conduct that was excessive and abusive!
This prior post tells us, among other things, about the inquisition her office carried out against Allegheny, Pa. coroner (and Democratic Party hi-roller, which of course is a crime in and of itself as far as loyal Bushie Buchanan was concerned) Dr. Cyril Wecht. The post gets into the whole smorgasbord of malfeasance by Buchanan’s office, also noting the following…
Wecht's lawyers asked the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to remove U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab from the case, claiming the judge showed bias, in part, by issuing a series of one-way rulings after secret communication with prosecutors and for keeping the defense attorneys from questioning the lead FBI agent in the case about his disciplinary file.(The Wecht case was such a stinking dead dog that Buchanan was even told to give it up by Repug “made man” and former PA Guv Dick Thornburgh, by the way.)
The post also tells us that Buchanan also wasted our taxpayer dollars in pursuit of charges against that hardened offender and threat to society Tommy Chong (the worst Chong is liable to do is blow a puff of marijuana smoke in your face).
Which I suppose is apropos, given that Buchanan’s career in public life is (hopefully) now “up in smoke” for good.
On Nov. 9, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that Halliburton had refused to give the agency a complete list of the chemicals it uses for gas drilling, resulting in a subpoena for the energy giant. But the battle to keep much of this information confidential is one that Halliburton is winning in Pennsylvania.And this Daily Kos post tells us how we got to this point (think more Bush-Cheney treachery)…
Halliburton did not respond to requests for comment on this article, but a company spokeswoman told MSNBC.com  that the EPA had approached Halliburton with "unreasonable demands" and that the company was working to supply the agency with the information it needs to complete its study of the relationship between water contamination and the controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing , or fracking. Of the nine companies the EPA asked to supply the information, only Halliburton -- the largest North American provider of hydraulic fracturing services -- refused.
Halliburton has worked hard to keep the contents of its fracking fluids secret, but the campaign has become more difficult as environmental advocates and researchers push for full disclosure. But in Pennsylvania, a state that is undergoing a natural gas drilling boom in the Marcellus Shale rock formation, regulators appear willing to accept Halliburton's argument that it should be allowed to keep details about its chemicals secret in order to maintain its competitive advantage.
Fracking shoots millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals underground at high pressures to break rock and release natural gas. The process is currently exempt from federal regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act as a result of assurances by the Bush-era EPA that fracking posed no harm to water supplies. In October 2009, after receiving reports of contamination near fracking sites and complaints that the agency's position was based on outdated and incomplete information, Congress ordered the EPA to conduct a comprehensive study  of the technique.
The EPA said earlier this year that the study would examine a broad scope of activities  associated with fracking, and that drilling companies would have to provide information about their chemicals so the effects of those activities could be tracked over time.
"There's just so much we don't know about the effects of fracking," said Gwen Lachelt, oil and gas accountability project director for the Colorado-based advocacy group Earthworks. "We deserve to have that question answered, and that can't be done without full public disclosure."
The Republican-fashioned Energy Policy Act of 2005 created an exemption to the Safe Drink Water Act for fluids injected underground as part of the hydraulic fracturing process. The exclusions listed in section 322 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 include:Oh, but Halliburton did do the following recently (here)…
i) the underground injection of natural gas for purposes of storage; and
(ii) the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities.”
Although the House conducted hearings in 2009 about hydraulic fracturing and there has been discussion of removing the Halliburton loophole, no action was taken. However, the House did authorize the EPA to conduct a formal study of hydraulic fracturing.
Halliburton Co. made a big show (last Monday) announcing a new website where it will disclose the chemicals that make up its hydraulic fracturing fluids. However, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which subpoenaed Halliburton last week for similar information, is less than impressed, and still wants Halliburton to respond to its summons. Environmentalists also said Halliburton’s disclosures don’t go far enough.So, in response to an EPA subpoena to disclose the chemicals it plans to use that could potentially ruin our water, Halliburton unveiled its shiny new web site with information that is incomplete at best.
Yesterday, Halliburton announced it will publicly disclose detailed information on its website about the chemicals used in its fracturing fluids. According to a report in The New York Times, the website lists both benign chemical, as well as dangerous ingredients, such as the petroleum distillate called naptha, which is used in cleaners, car wax and paint thinner. There are also several chemicals, sometimes considered hazardous, used in household cleansers and others used in agriculture as microbiocide agents.
For now, Halliburton said its disclosure is limited to fluids used in drilling activities taking place in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale, but that it is “committed to continuing to provide hydraulic fracturing fluid disclosure information for every US state in which Halliburton’s fracture stimulation services are in use.”
Halliburton’s announcement comes about a week after the EPA issued the oil-field services company a subpoena, after Halliburton failed to provide it with information on its fracking fluids.
I guess this is what’s to be expected from a company that, in all likelihood, ended up electrocuting our troops in their showers in Iraq because the wiring wasn’t properly grounded (here) or attacked one of its employees after she was gang-raped by her coworkers (here).
Fortunately, there is something we can do in response – click here to sign a petition opposing drilling in the Marcellus Shale (it isn’t much, I know, but it’s something).