Rated one of Pennsylvania's top blog/sites, the LuLac Political Letter delves into issues of politics on all levels (with special concentration on Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties: thus the name LULAC) and pop culture.
The LuLac Political Letter was also named Best Political Blog of the Year for 2014 by NEPA BLOGCON.
Monday, October 12, 2015
The LuLac Edition #3045, October 12th, 2015
A statue of Chris. (Photo: history.org).
To all those celebrating, Happy Columbus Day. The celebration is focused on Christopher Columbus’ arrival in America on this day in 1492. The holiday has become contentious because the European settlements essentially wiped out the culture of native Americans. Parades throughout the United States celebrate Columbus and his arrival. Most of those festivities happen in communities with a strong Italian population. To those celebrating Native Americans' Day/Indigenous People's Day, a special shout out to you. Other countries celebrate the day with different names. It is Discovery Day in the Bahamas, ("Day of the Race") in many countries in Latin America, Day of the Americas) in Belize and Uruguay, (Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity in Argentina. Columbus Day became an official holiday here in 1937.
THANKSGIVING IN CANADA
To our neighbors and readers to the North, Happy Thanksgiving Day. Since 1957, Thanksgiving Day has always been held on the second Monday in October. Thanksgiving Day in Canada is linked to the European tradition of harvest festivals. A common image seen at this time of year is a cornucopia, or horn, filled with seasonal fruit and vegetables. The cornucopia, which means "Horn of Plenty" in Latin, was a symbol of bounty and plenty in ancient Greece. Turkeys, pumpkins, ears of corn and large displays of food are also used to symbolize Thanksgiving Day. Sources: (Wikipedia, LuLac).
SISTER ADRIAN BARRETT
Sister Adrian Barrett. (Photo: Times Tribune)
Sister Adrian Barrett passed away this morning at the age of 86. Sister Adrian was front and center in the latter part of the 20th century in Scranton and Lackawanna County as the face of compassion for those less fortunate. She was tough, fair, friendly and just wonderful to converse with. I had the opportunity to interview her when I worked for WVIA. While she has been in a lower profile since her retirement, she has always been on the top of the mind of those who she aided in their time of need. She had the nickname “Sister Sneakers”. Finally, that footwear that walked in the footsteps of the Lord’s work are now hanging up in a permanent place of honor in the great beyond somewhere.
IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBT…
…..that the Republicans running Congress are dysfunctional, you have to take a look at this exchange on NBC’s Meet The Press. Representative David Brat who took down House Minority Leader Eric Cantor last year had this exchange with Pennsylvania Republican Charlie Dent who has become my new hero followed by Hugh Hewitt. Brat said he might consider Paul Ryan if he follows Brat’s 5 points on his website. Look at this and see how sorry the Brat wing of the party is. There are some like him who just want to break things, there are others who want to lead. If I were Paul Ryan, I’d head for the hills.
Lou Elmy is running for City Council in District B. He currently serves as a Wilkes Barre Area School Board “job creator”. Uh.....for his own relatives. Well Lou had a fundraiser on October 8th and I am very distressed that I was not invited to the big time at a local pizza eatery. Maybe Lou’s brother in law just didn’t have my address. See the invites were sent by the Purchasing Director of the District Jim Post. Jim Post is Elmy’s brother in law. The e mail was sent against School Policy. From Jim Post. Brother in law. I want to know who got the invitations? Are they the beneficiaries of the EEA, Elmy Employment Agency or were they just regular folks? Uh...I’m sure you know the answer to this. The answer for District B though is Tony Brooks!
Senate candidate Joe Sestak came to town this past Wednesday and did his walk from Wilkes Barre to Scranton. Sestak met some folks along the way and talked about returning good jobs to Pennsylvania, small business development as well as infrastructure maintenance. Here are a few photos from Sestak’s walk.
Here is the Senatorial candidate with local political wise man Bob Caruso.
Here is Sestak with some students from Marywood College and in downtown Pittston clearly supporting Women’s Health Care, something foreign to the GOP Majority in the Senate now.
THIRD DISTRICT PARTY SET
Luzerne County Third District Republican Committee Chairman Pat Marranca announces a “Get out the Vote Rally” will take place on Thursday, October 22 2015 from 7 – 9PM at Dupont VFW Post 4909, 401 Main Street in Dupont. Special guest at the rally will be Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis. Republican candidates are encouraged to attend. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door. Food and refreshments are included. The public is invited to come enjoy great company and meet their Republican candidates. RSVP’s are accepted and may be e-mailed to District Treasurer James O’Meara Sr. at email@example.com
Everybody's "Wingman", Jim O'Meara, Senior. (Photo: Gort 42).
The event is paid for by the Third District Republican Committee and is not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.
So Kevin McCarthy of California who was in line to become Speaker has dropped out. McCarthy made those comments about the Benghazi investigation being a way to depress Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers. Most members of the GOP decided last week that McCarthy could survive. But apparently McCarthy made the same decision John Boehner made for the members of the GOP. He didn’t want any GOP incumbent running in a District during a General Election when his comments about Mrs. Clinton could be part of the campaign.
COULD THERE BE A DEMOCRATIC SPEAKER?
Former Pennsylvania Speaker Dennis O'Brien. (Photo: LuLac archives)
Jim Cooper of Tennessee has been named the most Conservative Democrat on the hill. Can they get him through? (Photo: CNN)
Work with me on this folks. What is the Democrats picked a candidate to run for Speaker and tried to pick off moderate or Conservative Republicans that didn’t want to be tied to the Tea Party extremists? Think about it. If the GOP has a split between two right wingers, if the GOP can’t get a consensus name like a Paul Ryan to jump in and if the Democrats have a reasonable conservative alternative……it is not out of the realm of possibility. It happened in Pennsylvania when the Democrats picked Dennis O'Brien as the only minority-party Speaker known in Pennsylvania a few years back. If it happens..you read it here first on LuLac.
THE STATE BUDGET AND WHAT IT MEANS
Pa. Capitol Building. (Photo: wikpiedia).
Well as we stated last week on Pa Live there was a vote yesterday on the Pa. Budget and Governor Wolf’s plan was rejected by a majority of Republicans and nine Democrats. House Republicans said no to Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed increase in the state income tax Wednesday on a 127-73 vote. Could this be the final act of Wolf's tax plan if the GOP has their way? Maybe not. The Democratic caucus . has not forsaken the newly minted Governor and has been pretty strong with 73 votes. I’m still wondering about the two absentees and think someone should run against them in a primary next year. The main job of a vastly paid legislator is to show up. The GOP voted in unison with all 118 going against the plan. The question is will Democrats break away from Wolf or stand firm? In the meantime the Governor is making the point that if this budget is passed without his changes, or ideas, it will be a crucial point in the history of Pennsylvania. Wolf feels as well as some Democrats that the time for kicking the can down the road has to stop. Dr. Stephen Herzenberg, executive director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, released the following statement in response to today’s vote in the state House of Representatives on Gov. Wolf’s revenue package: "Pennsylvania needs a fiscally responsible 2015-16 state budget that reinvests in education and raises the revenue needed to balance the state books. That would be easier to do with a drilling tax, which voters support. Today’s vote in the Pennsylvania House did not move us towards the state budget Pennsylvania needs. While all but a few Democrats stood by Gov. Wolf on this difficult vote, members of the legislative majority chose not to support modest revenue proposals that, objective analysis suggests, are at the low end of what is required for Pennsylvania to meet its financial obligations, This time, without new revenues, we can expect the following unfortunate consequences: • On July 1 , Pennsylvania will face a projected $2.3 billion deficit; • The only way to produce a constitutionally required balanced budget will be to cut spending, most of it from public schools and programs that serve seniors, poor children, people with disabilities, victims of abuse and the addicted because that is where most state funding goes; • Other vital programs – that support conservation, protect the environment or invest in communities and job creation, for example – would also experience deep cuts. The weight of responsibility for guiding us to the budget Pennsylvania needs now rests more heavily than ever with the legislative majority, including with the members who, at various times, have expressed support for a severance tax, increased education funding and more investment in human services. Today they voted no. That was the easy part. The hard part will be getting to yes, to a vote for a responsible budget that invests in Pennsylvania’s schools, communities and future.”
CARTWRIGHT WEIGHS IN ON BUDGET
REP. CARTWRIGHT RELEASES STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF GOVERNOR WOLF’S PLAN TO BRING RELIEF TO SKYROCKETING PROPERTY TAXES
Congressman Matt Cartwright. (Photo: LuLac archives).
U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright released the following statement in support of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s most recent budget proposal. Governor Wolf’s plan takes more than $400 million in increased income tax revenue and puts it into existing property tax rebate programs for senior citizens. The current rebate scheme zeroes out taxes for approximately 84,000 households; increasing the rebates to $2,000 as the governor proposes would effectively eliminate property taxes for 216,344 new senior households. The Wolf tax plan would also ease the burden for an additional 30,915 disabled homeowners: “Governor Wolf has put forward a commonsense tax plan that would provide relief for seniors by eliminating school district property taxes for hundreds of thousands of senior households, while investing in the Commonwealth’s future, our children. “Helping seniors and low-income families make ends meet should be a priority for us at every level of government. The governor’s plan is geared to do just that. This is the right direction for Pennsylvania
Event: The Irregulars Think Tank Breakfast
Date: THIS Saturday, October 10th
Presenter: Dr. Mahmoud Fahmy, Professor Emeritus Wilkes University
Topic: Revisiting the current World and the Middle East : How and where we Americans should stand
Time: 9:00 A.M. (Doors open at 8:30)
Place: The Lakeside Skillet, Pole 279, Hwy 415, Harveys Lake
Cost: $13.00 per person.
ECTV Live hosts David DeCosmo and Rusty Fender welcome Craig Lukatch from the Lacawac Sanctuary to the program during the week of October 12th.
He'll outline plans for the annual "Lake to Lake 8K Run and Walk" as well as other upcoming programs at the Sanctuary. ECTV Live is carried on Comcast Cable channel 19 (61 in some outlying areas) and is seen three times daily throughout the week at Noon, 6pm, and Midnight. The program is Directed by Mark Migliore of Electric City Television
THE RIVER ON AM RADIO
I do not know how long it will last but The River 104.9 is on AM 1340. A reader informed us Fox Sports is on the 1400 frequency in Scranton. It is good to have music back on the AM side.
BOLD GOLD COMMUNITY FORUM
This Week on Sunday Magazine Brian Hughes speaks with Susan Randall and Dr. Andrea Singer about the growing problem of Osteoporosis, Oct. 20th is World Osteoporosis Day. Magic 93's Frankie in the Morning speaks with Joan Gower from Catholic Social Services about their upcoming Grandparents Raising Grandchildren event. And an encore of Brian's interview with Dr. Joe Leonardi about the need to label Genetically Modified Foods. Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5am on NASH-FM, 93.7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X & Sports Radio 590, WARM and 6:25am on Magic 93.
SUE HENRY’S SPECIAL EDITION
Tune in to Sue Henry's "Special Edition" this week as Sue recaps the week's news. Special Edition is heard Saturdays and Sunday on these Entercom stations, WILK FM Saturday at 2pm Sunday at 6 am on Froggy 101 Sunday at 7 am on The Sports Hub 102.3 Sunday at 7 am on K R Z 98.5 Sunday at noon on WILK FM 103.1.
Want to hear some great parodies on the news? Tune in to WILK Radio at 6:40 and 8:40 AM on Mondays. As Ralph Cramden used to say, “It’s a laugh riot!”
KAREL ON THE STREET
Tune in Wednesdays on WILK Radio for Karel on the Street. Hear some of the funniest and heartwarming comments on the issues of the day on Webster and Nancy with Karel Zubris.
CORBETT’S SOMEBODY’S WATCHING ME
Every Wednesday at 5PM, Steve Corbett shines the light on a Public official with his “Somebody’s Watching Me” segment. Corbett picks an alleged public servant to eye ball and observe. Batten down the lawn furniture in the driveway and that e mail machine. There is nowhere to hide when “Somebody’s Watching”. Wednesdays at 5 on WILK’s Corbett program.
BOBBY V’S DOO WOP SOCK HOP!!!!!
The Doo-Wop Sock Hop can be heard every Sunday night from 6P to 9P on “105 The River (104.9 FM) Host is the incomparable Bobby V. www.105theriver.net www.doowopsockhop.net
Our 1965 logo.
The International Olympic Committee admits East Germany as a member......The Post Office Tower opens in London……The Catholic Worker Movement stages an anti-war protest in Manhattan. One draft card burner is arrested, the first under the new law…. The Minnesota Twins beat the l.A. Dodgers in game one of the ’65 World Series. Game 1 was set to be a pitching duel between Dodgers' Don Drysdale and the Twins' Mudcat Grant (21–7, 3.30 ERA on the year). Drysdale was starting because the game fell on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for people of the Jewish faith. Dodger ace Sandy Koufax, who was Jewish, stated he would not pitch that day….in Pennsylvania the State Legislature takes up debate over Governor Scranton’s strip mining proposals……in Luzerne County the Democrats make impressive gains in registration against a Republican majority and fifty years ago this week the number one song in America was “1-2-3” by the former lead singer of The Dovells, Len Barry.
Beau Biden and Vice President Joe Biden. (Photo: NY Daily News)
Politico reported today that it might have been either Vice President Biden or a member of his staff that leaked the death bed conversation he had with his son Beau. The story was given to Maureen Dowd who used it as a launching pad for attacks against Hillary Clinton. The conversation, widely reported had the Biden son urging Mr. Biden to run for President as a last wish to him as he lay dying. I was too polite to say anything when this happened and Mrs. LuLac scolded me for being too cynical. But I thought it strange that a personal death bed conversation would be given to the media. I like Biden. I think he would make a great President. But something nagged at me about the constant talking about the son’s death. I understand that Mr. Biden had to grieve and if he had to do it in public, fine. But as a cancer survivor and one who had cancer, I realized that I wasn’t so special. Maybe it was my way of coping. I remember coming back to work at Blue Cross after they found the malignant tumor. The appointment was at 10:30, I got back there at 12:30. A co worker asked how it went and I replied that it was either going to go one of two ways. She looked at me like I was nuts as I got back to my job. Cancer doesn’t discriminate. There are people more powerful and wealthier than David Yonki that are long gone. I was lucky. So my antenna went up when the media spoke of the tragedy. True, losing a child of my own is not a pain I will ever feel. But Beau Biden was not the only person to die of cancer this year. The only thing that makes his passing more newsworthy is that he was a gifted public servant who was the son of a sitting Vice President. If the Politico story gets legs, and there is an adverse reaction to it, maybe Biden won’t have such a tough decision to make. The tragic death of Beau Biden and the intimate conversation between father and son will now, in the current media environment be reduced to a “Who, what, where and when” story. And that's the real tragedy.
STUDY: ELEVEN PENNSYLVANIA CORPORATIONS HAD A TOTAL OF $16.5 BILLION IN UNTAXED PROFITS STASHED OFFSHORE IN 2014
THESE PENNSYLVANIA FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES HAD 74 SUBSIDIARIES IN TAX HAVENS
Here’s something interesting from Keystone Progress Education Fund regarding Pennsylvania companies. - Tax loopholes encouraged 11 Pennsylvania Fortune 500 to maintain a total of $16.5 billion in profits offshore in 2014, much of the money in tax havens, according to a report released today by Keystone Progress Education Fund. These 11 companies, led by Air Products & Chemicals, PPG Industries, and PPL, had a total of 74 subsidiaries in offshore tax havens last year. The corporations are most likely paying a tax rate on these profits of no more than 6 percent in these tax havens and are able to dodge paying any U.S. taxes on these profits until they are brought back to the United States, which may never happen. The Report, “Offshore Shell Games,” was prepared by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) Education Fund and Citizens for Tax Justice and is available here. Nationally, the report found that 72 percent of Fortune 500 companies used tax havens in 2014 and reported booking $2.1 trillion offshore for tax purposes, with just 30 companies accounting for 65 percent of the total, or $1.4 trillion. The report is being released as leaders in Congress have been considering legislation that would enable corporations to bring the $2.1 trillion in offshore profits home at a deep – and unwarranted – discount and to use those funds to plug a shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund. The report found that 57 companies reported that they are paying an average tax rate of 6 percent on these offshore profits, as most of them are in tax havens. Based on that, the report estimates that the U.S. could reap $620 billion if corporations pay what they owe on these offshore profits. “I pay my taxes. My neighbors pay their taxes. Shouldn’t these corporations, with trillions of dollars in profits offshore, pay their taxes like the rest of us do?” asked Michael Morrill, executive director of Keystone Progress Education Fund. “They owe more than $600 billion in back taxes that could help us through our federal budget crunch and allow us to adequately finance our infrastructure, education and basic human services. We’re asking Senators Robert Casey and Patrick Toomey to work to end this offshore tax dodging now and make multinational companies pay the full amount of taxes they owe.” “When corporations dodge their taxes, the public ends up paying,” said Stephanie Monahon, State Director of the PennPIRG Education Fund. “The American multinationals that take advantage of tax havens use Pennsylvania roads, benefit from our education system and large consumer market, and enjoy the security we have here, but are ultimately taking a free ride at the expense of other taxpayers.” Key findings of the report include: Pennsylvania Fortune 500 Companies - 11 Pennsylvania Fortune 500 companies have a total of $16.5 billion in offshore profits that are untaxed in the United States, as of 2014. - Those companies operate 74 subsidiaries in tax haven jurisdictions. All Fortune 500 Companies - Fortune 500 companies are holding more than $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore for tax purposes. Just 30 Fortune 500 companies account for 65 percent of these offshore profits. These 30 companies with the most money offshore have booked $1.4 trillion overseas for tax purposes. - At least 358 companies, nearly 72 percent of the Fortune 500, operate subsidiaries in tax haven jurisdictions as of the end of 2014. All told, these companies maintain at least 7,622 tax haven subsidiaries. The 30 companies with the most money booked offshore for tax purposes collectively operate 1,225 tax haven subsidiaries. - Approximately 60 percent of the companies with any tax haven subsidiaries registered at least one in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands. The profits that American multinationals collectively claim to earn in these island nations’ totals 1,643 percent and 1,600 percent, respectively of each country’s entire yearly economic output. - Only 57 Fortune 500 companies disclose what they would expect to pay in U.S. taxes if these profits were not officially booked offshore. In total, these 57 companies would owe $184.4 billion in additional federal taxes. Based on these 57 corporations’ public disclosures, the average tax rate that they have collectively paid to foreign countries on these profits is a mere 6.0 percent, indicating that a large portion of this offshore money has been booked in tax havens. If we apply that average tax rate of 6.0 percent to the entirety of Fortune 500 companies, they would collectively owe $620 billion in additional federal taxes. - The company that dodges the most taxes by stashing its profits in tax havens is Apple. It has booked $181.1 billion offshore on which it has paid less than a 3% tax rate to foreign governments, based on filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Apple would owe $59.2 billion in U.S. taxes if these profits were not officially held offshore for tax purposes. The report concludes that to end tax haven abuse, Congress should end incentives for companies to shift profits offshore, close the most egregious offshore loopholes, and increase transparency.
U.S. Senatorial candidate Admiral Joe Sestak asks voters in LuLac land to walk from Wilkes Barre to Scranton this Wednesday October 7th. Sestak’s event is set for 930M in Wilkes Barre where the candidate will discuss three big issues, resurgence of manufacturing, small business growth and needed infrastructure. Sestak is asking residents and supporters to join him t the Chill Grill, 100 Pennsylvania Aveneue in Wilkes Barre for the walk off. Sestak’s campaign theme is “Walking In Your Shoes To Restore The American Dream” which is the same title of his book.
FIORINA STIFFS CAMPAIGN WORKERS AND VENDORS
Carly Fiorina (Photo: usetoday.com)
I really think Carly Fiorina is a pathological liar. During the debate when she refereed to a video of baby parts being sold by Planned Parenthood and then was told the photo she saw was something other than she claimed, she never admitted she was wrong. This morning The Washington Post did a story on her Senate campaign against Barbara Boxer. Fiorina stuck vendors, campaign aides and others in her failed bid. BUT she made sure she paid the million and half dollars she lent her campaign effort. When she was called on it by reporters she refused to answer their questions and attacked the Washington Post. Here’s the link to the story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/carly-fiorinas-first-political-campaign-had-a-surprising-problem-money/2015/10/04/c4bdcdd2-50be-11e5-933e-7d06c647a395_story.html Fiorina is a deadbeat who claims to be a person with great business acumen. She’ll tell you herself that she is a top notch business manager who can fix the country. Yep, she’ll tell you that herself.
Every year Time Magazine names their person of the year. Here’s my nominee. Sheriff John Hanlin refused to give the name of the killer who mowed down 9 people at a Community College in still another mindless shooting. There are some who say we need to know what makes these killers tick. Fine but we don’t need to know their names or anything about their miserable lives. The family of the shooter apologized and was shocked that he could do anything like this. Then there are reports that he was depressed because he couldn’t find a woman. Jesus, half of the my graduating class of ’77, males fell under that category. But we didn’t go shooting up the school. What is happening now with these shootings is this, they are starting to blur into one another. When that happens it becomes as the President said routine. Everyone in America if they want should own guns. But not guns that will take out 10 people in minutes. No one needs that type of fire power especially depressed losers who can’t make themselves a decent life. We should never give them the power to take away lives that are productive and meaningful.
BETH GILBERT EVENT MONDAY
Wilkes Barre City Council Candidate Beth Gilbert, your blog editor as well as Wilkes Barre City Controller candidate Darren Synder at a previous event. (Photo: LuLac archives).
Wilkes Barre Council Candidate for District C Beth Gilbert will have a Meet and Greet tomorrow night at Januzzi’s on Northampton Street from 7 to 9 PM. Gilbert faces off against County Councilman Stephen J. Urban in the General.
PA BUDGET AND POLICY CENTER SAYS THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET VETO WAS A GOOD THING
Pa. Governor Tom Wolf. (Photo: Press Connects.com).
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center issued the following statement the other day. after Gov. Wolf vetoed today the stopgap budget sent to him by the legislature: “Gov. Wolf did the right thing in vetoing the stopgap budget. Short-term, inadequate funding for schools and human services would eliminate any pressure on the legislature to shift from the failed policies of the past four years that undermined educational opportunity, sabotaged the state’s economic recovery and left the state’s fiscal house in disorder. The governor has the responsibility to take the long view and give Pennsylvanians their best chance at the responsible budget that the governor and voters want. Pennsylvanians believe that every child deserves a quality education, all families and communities deserve property tax relief that allows them to thrive, and drilling companies should pay their fair share. The state needs a budget that honors these shared values. The stopgap budget would give the legislature an excuse for wasting another four months not doing its job and would make the turnaround budget Pennsylvania needs less likely.”
Location: Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Political analyst for WBRE TV's Pa. Live program and post election commentator for WBRE TV's Eyewitness News Daybreak show. Author of the book "A Radio Story/We Wish You Well In Your Future Endeavors" and "Leges Vitae" "26 Rules of Life" and the new novel, "Weather Or Knot". The blog editor also writes various news articles and columns as well as upcoming literary projects. The blog editor was a frequent guest on WYOU TV'S INTERACTIVE NEWSCASTS when political issues were discussed on the national, state and local level. Yonki was a weekly panelist on WYLN TV 35's Friday Topic A program. He also appeared on the Hazleton, PA. station on Election Night doing coverage and did special projects and stories for WYLN TV 35's 10PM Newscast "Late Edition".