Sunday, November 22, 2009

THE CARE AND FEEDING OF MYTHS


Since obviously our brethren in the Fourth Estate need a bit of a refresher, allow us to refer to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.
Journalists should:

— Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.

Within that context, let us examine the Patriot-News' use of the term "whistleblower" to refer to immunized Republican grand jury witness William Tomaselli. We don't know what dictionary the Patriot-News uses to define whistleblower, but someone who engages in allegedly illegal conduct right up until the moment he's threatened with prosecution unless he informs on his cohorts probably doesn't qualify. There are a lot of words to describe someone like that, but "whistleblower" isn't one of them.

It's actually quite hilarious that Tomaselli thinks the Capitol might be uncomfortable for someone like him. The Capitol is full to the brim of staff who engaged in conduct Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett considers felonious and who informed on their co-workers in exchange for immunity from prosecution. They probably have a support group. We advise Tomaselli to consult Steve Webb, David Bliss, Paul Martz and Karen Steiner to see how they manage to struggle through their days. Far from reprisals, they've received promotions and raises in exchange for informing on their co-workers at Leader Bill DeWeese's behest.

Also in need of a journalistic ethics refresher is the Tribune-Review, which today repeats the blatant lie that "because there allegedly was evidence that records were being destroyed in the House Democratic Caucus, Corbett focused on that first."

As we have repeatedly pointed out, Corbett himself claimed to be investigating all four caucuses since February 2007.

But he did not encounter "evidence that records were being destroyed in the House Democratic Caucus" until August 2007, six months after he launched his Democrats-only investigation.

We're just one little blog, trying to keep the record straight. How about a little help, Capitol press corps?

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Raises an interesting question. If innocent leader DeWeese is trying so hard to straighten things out, why are dozens of employees who have testified they did things virtually like those fired by DeWeese months before any indictments (and in fact pretty much like those indicted)still on the payroll, at high positions? So its ok to do political work on state time, keep a list on state computers of "rock stars" for bonuses, go out to district offices for months and do no state work - that can be the road to promotion. Just don't miss out on immunity and you're ok.

Some change.

Anonymous said...

Ben Franklin one of the First Founders of Newspapers spoke with wisdom when he said...."as all history informs us, there has been in every State & Kingdom a constant kind of warfare between the governing & governed.

The one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning of the Princes, or enslaving of the people.

Generally indeed the ruling power carries its point, the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more.

The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes; the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure.

There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh, get first all the peoples money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants forever.

Printers are educated in the Belief, that when Men differ in Opinion, both sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Public; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter.

Hence Printers cheerfully serve
all contending Writers that pay them well, without regarding on which side they are of the Question in Dispute."

Anonymous said...

NEPA lawmakers rack up per diems during budget delay
BY ROBERT SWIFT
(HARRISBURG BUREAU CHIEF rswift@timesshamrock.com)
Published: November 22, 2009

HARRISBURG - Lawmakers representing Northeast Pennsylvania have collected more than $100,000 so far in daily reimbursements from the 101-day stalemate over the state budget earlier this year.

The payments, called per diems, are earnings in addition to a state lawmaker's annual base salary of $78,314. The purpose of per diems is to reimburse lawmakers for lodging, meals and other expenses incurred while being away from home at the Capitol or attending a committee meeting in other parts of the state.

Twenty-five of the region's 30 senators and House members collected per diems from July 1 - when the budget was due for the new state fiscal year - until Oct. 9 when the $27.8 billion budget was enacted, according to records provided by the House and Senate chief clerk's offices in response to a request under the state's Right-to-Know Law by the Scranton Times-Tribune.

The total of per diems claimed is still rising because not all per diem payments for lawmakers have been processed.

If legislators had passed a budget by the June 30 deadline and gone on their traditional summer recess until mid-September, they would have had no or far fewer opportunities to collect per diems.

Instead, lawmakers were able to claim a per diem up to $158 without needing receipts for much of the stalemate. On Oct. 1, the Internal Revenue Service established a higher maximum per diem of $163 for the new federal fiscal year.

While some area lawmakers claimed per diems amounts less than the maximum, just to cover actual expenses, others took the maximum and claimed reimbursement for many days when no votes were cast in the Capitol.

The founder of a Carlisle-based political reform group is critical of per diems, comparing them to a second salary for lawmakers.

"Under this second salary, they don't even have to pay taxes for the most part," said Tim Potts of Democracy Rising.

Pennsylvania's budget fight was marked by a protracted deadlock between Gov. Ed Rendell and lawmakers over how to erase a $3 billion revenue deficit from the previous fiscal year with a mix of new taxes and spending cuts, and head off projected future deficits.

The budget fight saw long periods of inactivity and bursts of frenetic activity. State employees and lawmakers went without pay for several weeks until a stopgap budget was enacted Aug. 5.

A measure to give the state more oversight over troubled municipal pension funds was approved in September.

Rank-and-file House Democrats balked at a leadership-driven budget deal, resulting in a round of negotiations near the end to drop controversial proposals to tax small games of chance licensees and arts organizations.

The House was in voting session 29 days and the Senate 31 days during this period. House lawmakers can claim per diems for voting and non-voting session days, non-session days, committee days and overnight stays. Senators can claim per diems for session days and non-session days, typically for a committee hearing or overnight stay.

Among the Northeast delegation, House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-116, Hazleton, and House Speaker Keith McCall, D-122 Summit Hill, led the pack, taking $10,611 and $7,988 in per diems respectively.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Raises an interesting question. If innocent leader DeWeese is trying so hard to straighten things out, why are dozens of employees who have testified they did things virtually like those fired by DeWeese months before any indictments (and in fact pretty much like those indicted)still on the payroll, at high positions?"

Great point. Why is there no public outcry about THAT? The collective salaries, health care, pensions, etc of those staffers who where lucky enough not be be thrown under the bus by DeWeese, will add up to millions more than any bonuses handed out by the HDC, HRC or Senate.

Anonymous said...

And this is while McCall and Eachus were winned and dined by lobbyists - so the tax free per diem is like free money...better than a bonus.

steve said...

Deweese has been "wined and dined" more than every other legislator in history and yet that scumbag gets off scott free...

Anonymous said...

Steve,
Deweese is more crooked than a cavemans back. Look into his use of the State Jet......

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...Raises an interesting question. If innocent leader DeWeese is trying so hard to straighten things out, why are dozens of employees who have testified they did things virtually like those fired by DeWeese months before any indictments (and in fact pretty much like those indicted)still on the payroll, at high positions? So its ok to do political work on state time, keep a list on state computers of "rock stars" for bonuses, go out to district offices for months and do no state work - that can be the road to promotion. Just don't miss out on immunity and you're ok. Some change. November 22, 2009 2:18 PM"

May I respond in all fairness?

1. First, Todd Eachus is the Majority leader and he has hired Ex-Fumo's Partner Dilworth Paxson to reform the HDC and HDCC. So, far they are in charge of everything, not Bill DeWeese.

2. The Reforms put in by
Bill DeWeese is now under Todd Eachus execution and policies, not Bill DeWeese.

3. According to the OAG, the investigation is on-going and staffers are still talking to Investigators and Grand Juries are still in place. Until all investigations stop and trials are over, it is tough for Todd Eachus to cut any Staffers.

4. It is tough to understand but the OAG Investigation I have read about is going after those the created, organized, and supervised the misuse of State Resources, State Bonuses, and State Money for campaigning not State Legislative Business.

For example, when the Feds went after Al Capone, Chucky Luciano, and Bugsy Segel, they went after the leadership that gave all the orders to commit crimes, in that way they stopped the crimes from happening.

The same for HDCC, RHCC, and soon SRCC, and SDCC, Bonusgate, Veon-BIG-Gate, and Perzel'-Computer-Gate just like Fumo-Farm/Computer/Non-Profit-Gates. They are out of business as of now, and the future is they are not coming back. Now that is OAG at work.

Those that participated and set up the operations are far more responsible than those that were told to participate by the ringleaders and told the OAG what was going on and who led it.

As well as those indicted and former employees, that hid things from DeWeese and Smith on purpose as shown in Veon Pre-Trial Papers, and then tried to destroy evidence, or refused to cooperate with the OAG Investigation.

5. It is not a perfect process, but many HDCC and RHCC employees did cooperate with the OAG, some turned informants, some got immunity, and some pleaded guilty against the those still claiming they did nothing wrong.

It is not always fair, but when Investigators come calling, best to cooperate than obfuscate.

Blaming others that did cooperate and not blaming those that put in guilty pleas and pointed fingers at the remainder of the accussed under oath, seems unfair to me.

Hope this helps, and I still feel some pleaded guilty too fast because they felt guiltier, as they were just doing their jobs.

Why I advocated paying back the Bonuses and saving their Pensions, but no wanted to listen to me.

Anonymous said...

ednermi
"Anonymous said..."Raises an interesting question. If innocent leader DeWeese is trying so hard to straighten things out, why are dozens of employees who have testified they did things virtually like those fired by DeWeese months before any indictments (and in fact pretty much like those indicted)still on the payroll, at high positions?"

"Anonymous said...Great point. Why is there no public outcry about THAT? The collective salaries, health care, pensions, etc of those staffers who where lucky enough not be be thrown under the bus by DeWeese, will add up to millions more than any bonuses handed out by the HDC, HRC or Senate. November 22, 2009 7:13 PM"

Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.

I am sure Todd Eachus the Majority Leader is going to take care of Staffers that participated in one way or another, so we have heard.

Many meetings have been taking place, and cutting positions and cost is a priority after the elections of 2010. The real rulers in Harrisburg are invisible and exercise power from behind the scenes anyway.

Many Staffers will be asked to retire and if they do not, they are At-Will employees and will be dismissed.

Others will be dismissed outright and replacements mostly from Rendell Lame Duck Jobs put in their place, which has been going on since Eachus took over.

Those that got big bonuses, informed, immunity, and cooperated will be gone to remove all taint of Veon-Manzo operations.

The media, far from dulling the political sense of the people, could be viewed to disguise the extent of political indifference among the remaining staffs at the HDC.

These are just rumors coming out of the meetings. Do not mistake for scheme and intrigue what can best be explained by stupidity and incompetence.

Todd Eachus is in charge just as he was when taking over for Stetler in running the HDCC and he brags how he took over the House and means to keep it.

Some have told, they are gonna to be given a piece of advice. Don't ask for something if it's a burden to you if you get it.

When men make themselves large and strong, tyranny will bankrupt itself in making shackles for them, because truth always originates in a minority of one, and every custom begins as a broken precedent of broken promises.

Leaders that cannot keep their promises are removed from leadership, usually by their own words.

Anonymous said...

,mB"Anonymous said...And this is while McCall and Eachus were winned and dined by lobbyists - so the tax free per diem is like free money...better than a bonus. November 22, 2009 7:39 PM,mB"

Nothing is illegal in being wined and dined by others.

It is too bad this may be the very reason why the Budget Process took so long.

Eachus put on the pounds as state workers took out loans to get by, and it was not fair or right, but power is power, until it is removed from them.

At least Mike Veon kept in great shape.

Anonymous said...

b"Anonymous said...
Steve, Deweese is more crooked than a cavemans back. Look into his use of the State Jet......November 23, 2009 8:52 AMmB"

Cavemen in Harrisburg? I think not!

Anonymous said...

"Steve said...Deweese has been "wined and dined" more than every other legislator in history and yet that scumbag gets off scott free...November 23, 2009 1:04 AM"

No elected official ever get off scott free, they have to run every term, and judged by their voters.

Bill DeWeese did the right thing, by investigating what happen, admitting mistakes, cooperating, and standing up for what was right when he found himself kept in the dark by staffers that admitted it to him in public.

Public Servants practiced such actions when something goes wrong and needs explained, not hide or cover it up.

Just ask Fumo.

Anonymous said...

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of people enriching and living off society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it, until crusaders come and turn their laws on them.

If Fumo, Perzel, Eachus, LaGrotta, McCall, Veon, Sturla, DeWeese, Smith, Ramley, Brightbill, Jubelier, and Kenney had hired First Rate Staffers in the first place, none of them or the Caucuses would have had these troubles in the first place.

If you want First Rate Government than hire First Rate Staffers that would work hard because it is there job, not because they demand bonuses for them and their husbands, wives, girlfriends, sisters, sons, daughters, nieces, friends and relatives.

Rumor has it; some under charges have had In-Laws hired by McCall and Eachus just a few months ago, now that is what I call asking for a deeper investigation when this one is not over yet.

But they will blame Corbett & OAG for taking too long, as the appearance on impropriety continues to cause media disgust and citizens outrage when they find out, come what May and remember in November.

The new motto in Harrisburg by current staffers is we either want less corruption, or more chance to participate in it!

The two highest achievements of the human mind are the twin concepts of "loyalty" and "duty".

Whenever these twin concepts fall into disrepute, get out of there fast!

You may possibly save yourself, but it is too late to save that organization. It is doomed unless it makes changes towards "Loyalty" and "Duty".

And this does not mean doing what you are told and keeping silent, it means standing up and telling your Boss, this is not right!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:41, I think your comments would be more coherent if you took DeWeese's penis out of your mouth while you are typing them.

Just a suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...10:28 PM Anonymous 12:41, I think your comments would be more coherent if you took DeWeese's penis out of your mouth while you are typing them. Just a suggestion. November 23, 2009 10:28 PM"

They are coherent enough for your level of intelligence, it is my burden having to blog down to your level.

Just pull down your pants and see if you have a pee pee, you do not blog as a man.

Just a suggestion.

Anonymous said...

It is clear DeWeese had staff problems and they kept many things from him.

It will be a point to see if those indicted turn on those still on DeWeese's staff, after all most of the ones that were accused are actually replaced by those they worked with them.

How some people are indicted and those working right with and under them are not is strange.

Anonymous said...

I am praying for all you degenerates who have chosen to turn Pennsylvania into Sodom and Gommorrah. Prayer is the only answer. Do you pray before each meal with your family and on the turnpike traveling back and forth at the rest stops to the capital? You may laugh but some day before the Great White Throne the books will be opened and judgement will be rendered and the perverse shall be cast into the lake of fire.

Anonymous said...

These rock stars remind me of the time the christ cast out the money changers in the temple and these politicians have made our sacred capitol a den of pornication. I pray that Providence will restore grace and peace to our commonwealth as was the intent of our first governor William Penn. Prayer is the answer.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:41 should be in line for a big promotion. Multi-tasking is a skill much in demand.