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Divernan's Journal
Divernan's Journal
August 31, 2015

Biden to visit Pittsburgh on Labor Day

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Vice President Joe Biden will be in Pittsburgh next Monday to participate in the city's Labor Day parade and other festivities, according to a news release from the White House.

Officials said more details would be available later about Biden's visit.

Biden is contemplating a run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.

He would join Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Virginia U.S. Sen. Jim Webb in seeking the party's nomination.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/9009136-74/biden-labor-grant#ixzz3kPnDkNTn
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/9009136-74/biden-labor-parade#axzz3kNfVfkEp

August 29, 2015

Sestak: Time for U.S. to strenghten economic stance

Because Sestak is independent of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC and corporate lobbyists like Ed Rendell, he can timely advocate strong, solid policy positions consistent with progressive Democratic values - he doesn't have to get prior approval from campaign donors. He does not have to depend on or be controlled by position papers or PR releases spoon-fed to him by the DNC, DWS or a slick, glad-handing campaign manager. Here's an example, in explicit response to the recent China/stock market brouhaha.

Days of erratic Wall Street stock market activity, caused by uncertainty in China, provided yet another example of how the time is right for the United States to take an even stronger leadership role in the global economy, according to retired Adm. Joe Sestak, a candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2016 U.S. Senate race.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 800 points between Aug. 18 and Thursday, even when counting a record-setting, two-day swing of almost 1,000 points to the positive during the most recent days of trading. China’s economy has recently experienced turbulence, including when its currency was devalued earlier this month.

“I think this volatility, particularly with China, is indicative that this is our moment,” said Sestak, a Democrat, during a meeting at Holiday Inn Johns-town-Downtown. “China is now becoming a consumer nation,” he said. “It costs almost as much to produce something manufactured in China as it does here in America, for two reasons. “First, they’ve had double-digit increases in wages for the last seven years. Second, the shipping to transport it back is maxed out. There’s no more. The price of shipping has continued to skyrocket.”

Sestak offered a multi-point approach to improving the U.S. economy: expand domestic manufacturing, utilize the Export-Import Bank of the United States, keep economic protections in place and play a prominent role in global monetary institutions.

“If we are solid and producing and exporting, then now’s our moment,” Sestak said.
Pointing to a difference between himself and incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, Sestak talked about his support for the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, legislation that modified America’s financial regulations in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

Posted in News, Local news on Thursday, August 27, 2015 10:42 pm. | Tags: United States Senate, Pennsylvania, House Of Representatives, Joe Sestak, Economy, Wall Street, Stock Market, Global Economy, China, Dodd-frank, Pat Toomey

August 27, 2015

"Tired of fighting w/Wolf, Penn. Dem. chair Burn to step down."

(This story is dated July, but for some reason just popped up on my FB feed - and it was news to me.)
Tired of fighting with Wolf, Pennsylvania Democrats chair to step down
In a video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, Jim Burn said he'll submit a resignation letter at the party's Sept. 12 meeting in Gettysburg. (Dan Gleiter | dgleiter@pennlive.)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's Democratic Party chairman says he's stepping down, a year after a fight with Gov. Tom Wolf over the job. In a video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, Jim Burn said he'll submit a resignation letter at the party's Sept. 12 meeting in Gettysburg.
on July 21, 2015 at 11:25 AM, updated July 21, 2015 at 11:26 AM

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's Democratic Party chairman says he's stepping down, a year after a fight with Gov. Tom Wolf over the job.

In a video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, Jim Burn said he'll submit a resignation letter at the party's Sept. 12 meeting in Gettysburg.

Burn says he wants to move past the persistent questions and concerns over his decisions last year, although he didn't say what those decisions were.

Wolf had just won the party's gubernatorial primary when he sought to replace Burn with Katie McGinty.

But Burn refused to step down and was re-elected by committee members to serve another four-year term. As a result, Wolf started a political action committee headed by McGinty called that fulfilled many of the coordinating activities the party normally undertakes during an election year.


This comment following the article really lays it out as to the incompetence of the Old Guard-controlled state Democratic party. There are far too many state and local committeemen and women whose involvement is limited to attending parties/state conventions and obtaining political patronage and other favors for themselves and their friends and families.
They do nothing to get out the vote. They don't welcome newcomers and get them registered. They don't go door to door campaigning. They don't put together lists of places for candidates' yard signs. They don't phone bank. They don't find/encourage other Dems to run for local offices. And they don't even work the goddamn polls on election days. No wonder that even though Pennsylvania Democrats have an approximate 1.1 million registration edge (as of 2012), the GOP controls both chambers of the legislature! http://articles.mcall.com/2012-01-19/news/mc-pa-republican-voter-gains-20120119_1_voter-registration-registration-gap-new-voters

The ineptitude of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party would seem to suggest that changes do need to be made. Imagine a party with a substantial registration edge being unable to get their people out to vote in off year elections and losing the PA legislature time after time again, this time to the point where the GOP has the largest House margin since 1958. The Democratic Party in PA seems to be going in reverse instead of going forward. The record is appalling and pathetic. They have allowed the minority Republicans to rule the legislative roast because somehow they cannot even inspire their constituency to get off their duffs and go to a polling station. Something needs to be done fast, because this PA Republican Party is no longer the moderate Republican Party of your father's day where people like Bill Scranton and other GOP moderates from SE PA's philly suburbs ran things. The radicals of the far GOP right are now filtering into the state party (people like Daryl Metcalfe) and there is no one to stop them in this blue state except Democrats. Yet, this party continues to display breathtaking incompetence in legislative politics. No wonder the Governor started his own organization.
August 23, 2015

PA 12 candidate Erin McClelland - pro Union, not pro Wall Street/1%

As a responsible citizen and a progressive Democrat, I support candidates based on their abilities, their demonstrated ethics and values & their political and personal history, but never, never because they happen to be the same sex as me. That said, as a woman, I am truly delighted when I find such a candidate and they happen to be female.

Meet Erin McClelland, candidate for the United States Congress from Pennsylvania's 12th District. Her first run for any political office was back in 2014, against uber-conservative, incumbent Keith Rothfus. She was outspent 10 to 1, but she campaigned hard, getting her name out in the most gerrymandered Congressional District in the U.S. - it stretches like one of those dancing dragons in a Chinese New Year's Day parade, across from the Ohio border in Beaver County southeast into part of Somerset County, patching together bits and pieces of FIVE counties - Beaver, Allegheny, Cambria, Somerset and Westmoreland. Building on her work in that first campaign, she's back to challenge Rothfus again.

In that 2014 campaign, a civic group to which I belong invited her and Rothfus to debate at our meeting (as Rothfus had done in a prior campaign). We offered Rothfus FIVE different dates, but his office kept declining and finally told us there was no way he would appear before the election - a subtler pre-twist on that, "I'll tell you my position AFTER I'm elected." So we offered Ms. McClelland the entire program and she accepted.

With my background in local and state politics, including 10 years as staff attorney and executive director for the Democratic caucus in the state House of Representatives, I was skeptical of anyone running for national office without some prior experience as an elected official. I have to tell you, her detailed, issue-rich presentation, for an hour, without a single note, and her effective responses to a barrage of audience questions, blew me out of the water. I went up to her afterwards, told her of my initial concerns, and told her I was glad she was running for Congress, because with her abilities, she was too good for and would be wasted in Harrisburg (PA state capitol) and she was ready for D.C.

You can read the back story on her 2014 campaign here. http://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2013/08/26/Democrats-hopes-rest-on-Erin-McClelland-against-Rothfus/stories/201308260099

Mrs. McClelland, 38, was raised in the Natrona Heights section of Harrison, graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1993 and from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997 with a degree in psychology. In 2003, she received a master's in counseling and industrial organizational psychology from Chatham University.

That year she also worked for the Institute for Research Education & Training in Addiction, where she studied methods by the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative.

She founded Arche Wellness in 2006, a rehabilitation center that uses conventional and alternative treatments to treat substance abuse, depression and other maladies.

Mrs. McClelland has deep union ties: Her great-grandfather organized for the Congress of Industrial Organizations, or CIO, while at Pittsburgh Plate Glass; her grandfather was a steelworker; her mother was a nurse at Citizens General Hospital in New Kensington and a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers; and her father and brother are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 29.

Here are some recent posts from her FB page:
"This picture posted by USW Local 1219 President Jim Johnston took my breath away. Jim and his local have been incredibly supportive of 1196 and the other Locals effected by the ATI lock out. Now he is facing a similar situation with US Steel. Please support the working families of US Steel who continue the fight for real family values and America's middle class. Thanks Jim! - In solidarity my brother, Erin"

"I just got home from a shift of standing on the picket line with some of the brothers of USW 1196 at ATI in Brackenridge (and I am actually freezing!!) It was cold out there!
When I signed in the log book for visitors, it was so wonderful to see all the names from the Teamsters and AFSME that were there earlier today. Thank you so much for supporting our working families. They really need you. And thanks to Ian, Charlie and Bobby O for a great night!
I made a nice big plate of bacon and eggs and then I'm off to get a little sleep. In solidarity, Erin"

She's also making the obligatory rounds of the myriad Democratic county groups' picnics/fish fries/ barbecues, etc. I only hope that for once, the staid, regressive state Democratic party will actually give her some support, rather than supporting a crap primary opponent. In the 2014 election she had to waste precious resources in a primary battle with a political hack/rifle range operator dredged up to run against her. (In 2009, Hugya used campaign money to buy a rifle at an NRA meeting.[4] In that same year, Murtha's Republican challenger, Bill Russell, accused Hugya of threatening to have Russell recalled to active Army duty.[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hugya

So, if any of you happen to be in the 12th PA District, please reach out and contact her campaign and offer your support. Or if anyone else reading this is looking for a progressive candidate to support with a donation, please consider helping her campaign. She would be a hella representative of TRADITIONAL Democratic values in Congress.
August 22, 2015

Sen. Pat Toomey is failing veterans

Letter to the Editor - Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Sen. Pat Toomey has a very disingenuous and inaccurate political TV ad with a very pleasant woman who says she is a naval veteran. Her message is that Sen. Toomey has supported veterans while in the House and the Senate.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Some examples from his record:

He voted against 12 Veterans Affairs budgets.
His answer to the falsification of VA records was to send the low-level workers to jail instead of providing additional funding and manpower to do the job right without any consequences for upper management.
He voted to send troops to war but blocked the Veterans Job Act.
He voted against bankruptcy protection for National Guard and Reserve members sent to Afghanistan and Iraq.
He voted against a program that gives child-care assistance to veterans.
He voted to defund Veterans Business Outreach Centers at the Small Business Administration.
He voted against the Comprehensive Health and Benefits Bill of 2014, which would have expanded treatment for traumatic brain injuries and veterans job training,

If this was looking out for veterans I’d hate to see what he would do if he wasn’t.

Retired Army Major
Squirrel Hill
August 17, 2015

A long, strong marriage, w/ mutual respect & TRUST

Good, in-depth piece showing the quality of their long marriage. I'm glad for Bernie that he has a supportive spouse who is by his side as he fights the good fight for us. Liked all the pictures of her & Bernie at different times in their marriage. Caption on 1 photo: Jane Sanders serves as an advisor to her husband, presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders. Their desks sits side by side at his campaign headquarters in Burlington. Seen on Thursday, August 6, 2015. (Photo: GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS)

When asked about her husband's ability to compete against the fundraising power of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-funner, Sanders seemed undaunted.
"We've been outspent many, many, many times," she said.

She noted that her husband's campaign has taken off faster than either of them expected.
She said one marked moment occurred as they arrived in Minneapolis with field director, Phil Fiermonte. She described seeing blocks of people lined up to enter the campaign event on May 31, less than a week after the campaign kicked off.

She recalled her husband saying, "Whoa! Are we competing with something Phil?" and Fiermonte's reply, "I think that's you, Bern."

An estimated 5,000 people showed up for that event, a number that would be dwarfed by the turnout for his latest West Coast rallies.
August 17, 2015

Editorial: Get ready for a barn-burner in Dem Senate primary

Joe Sestak has the Democratic brass right where he wants them.
Lined up against him.

It’s not exactly a secret that the former 7th District Congressman from Delco is not the apple of their eye. They have been searching for someone – anyone – to challenge him for the right to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, who defeated Sestak back in 2010. Of course, that followed a Democratic primary that saw the retired admiral thumb his nose at his own party’s brass. Top Democrats – including President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and former Mayor and Gov. Ed Rendell were ready to roll out the red carpet for Republican turncoat Sen. Arlen Specter. Realizing he was going to lose his own primary fight against the conservative Toomey, Specter switched his stripes – and his party allegiance.

Sestak has at least one party leader in his camp. Delaware County Democratic Party Chairman David Landau remains a staunch Sestak supporter. “I believe Joe is extremely popular with the rank-and-file throughout the state,” Landau said.

The truth is Sestak never stopped campaigning after his close defeat to Toomey. He continued to travel to every nook and cranny across the state thanking his supporters. He taught classes at Carnegie-Mellon in Pittsburgh to give him a footing in the western part of the state. That will be important. Both McGinty and Sestak are from the Philadelphia region. They could split the vote among Democrats here, leaving the rest of the state largely up for grabs.

One thing is certain. Don’t expect Sestak to give an inch. This is how he reacted on Twitter to the news that Rendell was lining up behind McGinty: “If party leaders in DC & the machine in Philly want an establishment candidate, I’m not their guy. I’m for people, above party or type.


This one should be a barn-burner. Pass the popcorn. Sestak is starring in a sequel of “Joe Vs. the Machine.” He’s got ‘em right where he wants them.
August 15, 2015

Sestak + 50 interns + volunteers busy campaigning today.


Thank you to all the volunteers today who are helping us pass out brochures and make phone calls to voters across the Commonwealth!

This week, our brochures made it into the hands of people in Allegheny, Tioga, Wyoming, Erie, Bucks, Berks, Huntingdon, Northampton, Cumberland and Clearfield counties. And our team of over 50 interns plus our volunteer army made thousands of phone calls from the office and from home.

To help right the ship of state, I need all hands on deck. If you haven't already, please sign up to volunteer at joesestak.com/sign-up-to-volunteer/

(I've been meaning to sign up to volunteer, and did it just now at the above link.)
August 13, 2015

The Fracking Ties That Bind; Like Husband, Like Wife (Katie McGinty)

Pennsylvania dodged a bullet, well more a Big Fracking IED, when McGinty came in 4th in the Dem. primary for Governor. Now the DNC, determined to defeat Admiral Joe Sestak's Dem. primary run for Senator, is pushing pro-fracking McGinty on us. No thanks, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. We want a United States Senator who will represent the best interests of Pennsylvania's citizens and environment, not be a lacky for the DNC.

Keystone XL Influence Peddling Web Extends into PA Governor's Race Via Katie McGinty

By Steve Horn • Thursday, August 15, 2013 - 08:25

Pennsylvania Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate and former head of the PA Department of Environmental Protection, Kathleen “Katie” McGinty, has hired powerful PR firm SKDKnickerbocker for her campaign's communications efforts.

One of SKDKnickerbocker's key clients is TransCanada, owner of the Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline.

Another key SKDKnickerbocker client: Association of American Railroads, that industry's version of the American Petroleum Institute. Rail is an increasingly viable alternative to pipelines for bringing tar sands - and fracked oil - to market.

Both McGinty and Dunn also have key marital connections with skin in the game for the looming decision over the prospective northern half of Keystone XL: Karl Hausker and Robert “Bob” Bauer, respectively.


Like Husband, Like Wife
Hausker is the former Vice President of ICF International, one of the three contractors chosen by TransCanada to do the now hotly contested U.S. State Department Keystone XL environmental review.

ICF and the more-publicized Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM Group) concluded that Keystone XL's northern half would have negligible climate change impacts. Keystone XL's southern half - TransCanada's Gulf Coast Pipeline - is 95-percent built and ready to send 700,000 barrels a day of tar sands from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur, Texas by year's end.

A previous DeSmog investigation also revealed Hausker and McGinty have myriad ties to the controversial horizontal drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), both at the federal and state level. http://www.desmogblog.com/2013/08/06/fracking-ties-flawed-state-dept-keystone-xl-environmental-review

Exhibit B: ICF International, an additional firm contracted by the State Department to perform the environmental review.

ICF maintains important ties to the industry-funded Center for Sustainable Shale Development and to U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, an outspoken fracking proponent. Former ICF Vice President Karl Hausker is the husband of Kathleen “Katie” McGinty.
August 13, 2015

Missing Tom Corbett? Well, here's Katie McGinty! & her fracking husband too!

In January 2014, McGinty called fracking the “secret sauce” of economic growth (“McGinty: Gas is part of ‘secret sauce’ to drive economic growth” -NPR).

– The McGinty DEP permitted 586 Marcellus Shale wells across PA, according to the DEP Permit Report. (PA DEP Permit Report) (interactive map, click “Map of Latitude”)Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 3.30.40 PM

McGinty was reprimanded by the state Ethics Commission for giving the pro-fracking Pennsylvania Environmental Council $2.8 million in state grants while her husband, Karl Hausker, was employed as a consultant there. In 2009, the Supreme Court upheld an Ethics Commission ruling saying Cabinet secretaries in the future should have no role in grants that benefit spouses. (“Philly native Katie McGinty might be the political surprise of 2014“ -Philadelphia Inquirer)

– The PR firm McGinty hired to do communications for her gubernatorial campaign is SKDKnickerbocker, who also represents TransCanada, owner of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. From 2007-2013, her husband Karl Hausker was a vice president at ICM International, which was hired by the State Department to perform the environmental review of KXL and determined it would have no significant impact on the environment. (“Fracking’s Myriad Ties to Flawed State Dept Keystone XL Environmental Review” -DeSmogBlog)

- McGinty’s husband, Karl Hausker’s former firm, ICM International, wrote a report for the American Petroleum Institute praising shale gas exports. (“Ties That Bind: Ernest Moniz, Keystone XL Contractor, American Petroleum Institute and Fracked Gas Exports” – DeSmogBlog)

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