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Showing posts with label Tim Murphy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tim Murphy. Show all posts

November 1, 2013

Fact-Checking A Fact-Checker - Colin McNickle Edition

In a rather scathing indictment of a Republican (and conservative, though obviously not conservative enough) member of Congress by a conservative columnist writing for the conservative paper in that Congressional district, the Trib's Colin McNickle writes this about Congressman Tim Murphy:
“We were promised a website where people could easily compare plans and costs,” said Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., on Thursday during a contentious hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the many failures of the ObamaCare website.

“Five-hundred million dollars later” (it's actually something like $700 million and counting) “we find that the American people have been dumped with the ultimate Cash for Clunkers, except that they had to pay the cash and still got the clunker,” the Upper St. Clair legislator said.

It's a great line but one laced with hubris, irony, hypocrisy and whistling past the graveyard.

For you see — and many of you might have forgotten and Mr. Murphy obviously is hoping you have — Murphy voted for Cash for Clunkers, that odoriferous multibillion-dollar government intervention that would have been funny if it weren't such a perversion.
What McNickle also left out was Congressman Murphy's support of the strained rollout of Medicare Part D in 2006.  Here's what Murphy said THEN about that glitchy Bush-era guv'ment program:
It is of no value, as a matter of fact, it is a negative value and of questionable ethical value I think sometimes if people only spend their time criticizing the glitches that have been in the program, as with any program that occurs, whether it is a public or private program, criticizing it, standing on the outside and frightening seniors, frightening seniors into thinking that because there was complexities and difficulties, therefore they should not sign up. [Congressional Record, Page H1665]
But that's a minor point - the major fail of McNickle's fact-check is the cost of the Obamacare website.  He says it's something like "$700 million" and reality says otherwise.

From the Washingtonpost's Glenn Kessler.  His initial assessment is admittedly fuzzy:
So here’s where we stand.

A conservative figure would be $70 million. A more modest figure would be $125 million to $150 million. Or one could embrace the entire project, as outlined by GAO, and declare that it is at least $350 million.
But he added a few updates - one with an upper/lower limit:
The floor for spending on the Web site to date appears to be at least $170 million, with an upward potential of nearly $300 million.
Significantly lower than the "factual" numbers so innocently slipped by your eyes by the "fact-checking" Colin McNickle.

According to Mediamatters, there's only one place where such a large number as McNickle's is found (though they go up to a billion).  That would the the Scaife-owned Newsmax.

And, as we all know, Scaife owns the Tribune-Review.  Where Colin McNickle hangs his fact-checking hat.  How interesting.

March 2, 2012

Local Member of Congress Embarrasses Himself

This time it's Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA).

From the Maddow Blog:
And in an unfortunate exchange during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on contraception, a confused Republican congressman, Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, falsely accused HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of lying about the administration's policy, and argued that understanding whether the morning-after pill is an abortification is a "religious" question, not a scientific one.
Embarrassingly, to Murphy religious opinion trumps science.

February 7, 2012

Zito And The Trib, Helping Out When They Can

Take a look at Salena Zito's first two paragraphs from this morning.  This isn't a column of hers, by the way.  If its URL is to be believed, it's in the Trib's "News" division.  So it's un-opinionated news:
FreedomWorks, a Tea Party organization, is expected today to endorse a former Senate staffer and researcher with the conservative Heritage Foundation in the 18th District congressional race.

Evan Feinberg, 27, of Upper St. Clair is challenging Rep. Tim Murphy in the GOP primary on April 24.
There are two names you should notice in that first paragraph; FreedomWorks and Heritage Foundation.  Couple that with the Braintrust's editorial stance on Murphy and you'll see two things;
  • The Trib's not a fan of Murphy (neither am I, but that's beside the point)
  • Their Trib's editorial policy is oh-so-conveniently reflected in their "news" coverage.  Again

January 20, 2011

Health Care Reform Vote: A Tale Of Three Representatives

The P-G today writes about how our three local members of the House of Representatives voted on the Repealing Giving Our Jobs a Lethal Injection of Socialism That Is Poisoning Our Economy And Our Freedom Health Care Law Act.

The results are not suprising. Republican Tim Murphy voted for, Democrats Doyle and Altmire against. The P-G's opening:
The vote itself is a legislative dead end, but U.S. House Republicans on Wednesday began what they hope is a road to reshaping the new health care overhaul law with a vote to repeal it.

By a 245-189 margin, the new GOP-controlled House kept a central promise of the fall campaign, though the Democratic-controlled Senate has said it will not consider repeal and President Barack Obama has vowed to veto it.

The symbolism was nonetheless important to Republicans in setting the tone as their pledged health care work gets under way.

"Putting up the vote this way we're going to, in other words, take a roll call of members of Congress and say: 'Do you agree that there's more wrong with this bill than right?' " said Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair. "Then we're going to lay that out as our marker on the field and start from there."
A large chunk of the article was devoted to Altmire. Here's why:
Mr. Altmire presented a curious case as one of several Democrats who voted against the health care overhaul law last year, then refused to back an outright repeal. Mr. Altmire, who has a background in health care as a former lobbyist for UPMC, said he still sees serious problems with the law -- but a political exercise like this isn't the way to solve them.

Conservative groups such as American Crossroads -- which spent tens of millions backing Republicans in the November elections -- have attacked Mr. Altmire and other Democratic "no" votes on the initial bill for the apparent inconsistency in not backing a repeal.
If you head over to his congressional website, Altmire explains:
I voted against the 2010 health care reform bill because I believe it is a flawed, partisan proposal that will, on the whole, do more harm than good. The law has numerous provisions that will result in higher costs for families and businesses, and it does little to correct the inefficiencies and control the costs in our current health care system. It also lacks serious quality improvement provisions that would make our health care system work better for everyone.
A paragraph later:
However, I will not waste the time and resources of the American taxpayers by engaging in a purely partisan exercise that has no chance of becoming law. Additionally, I will not diminish the health care coverage of millions of Americans by voting to repeal the positive provisions of this law that have already taken effect, including closing the Medicare prescription drug donut hole; guaranteeing health insurance coverage for children with pre-existing conditions; banning lifetime insurance caps and rescissions; and offering free preventative care for seniors. Make no mistake, a vote for complete repeal is a vote to raise out-of-pocket costs for every Medicare beneficiary and take away private health care coverage for Americans with chronic health conditions.
So in general, Altmire agrees with Murphy, that the bill does more harm than good, though he won't vote to diminish coverage, reopen the donut hole, etc.

Here's some of the type of heat Altmire is getting. From the National Review Online:
Alex Cortes, chairman of DefundIt.org, has been leading an effort by conservative groups urging these Democrats to support repeal. He released the following statement today, praising Boren and Ross:
If only their colleagues had their same intellectual consistency and recognize the common-sense reality that if you are truly against something, then you will take the actions necessary to get rid of it. Thankfully there are still several hours left before the vote and I suggest some persuasive tea time may be in order.
Cortes told National Review Online that any Democrat who opposed the original bill and didn’t vote to repeal it would be engaging in “the heart of dishonesty” and warned that every politician who opposed repeal did so at their own peril because “the American people are on our side.”
Not surprisingly, the NRO's last line is not entirely accurate. A CNN/Opinion Research Poll from late December found that while 50% of those polled opposed the Health Care Reform bill, they were not all opposed for the same reason. Oddly enough, of those opposed 13% said it was "not liberal enough." 43% were in favor of the bill.

With a bit of arithmetic, we can conclude that only 37% oppose the bill because it goes to far, while 56% (a nice majority, by the way) think it's OK or it doesn't go far enough.

Something for Congressman Altmire to think about.

October 30, 2010

More On Murphy's "Patriotism" Stunt

This time from Connecticut:
The latest low in dirty politics is painting the League of Women Voters as unpatriotic.
How pathetic is that?

Some conservative commentators, including radio and cable news pundit Glenn Beck, are trying to cast the nonpartisan LWV, a group that dedicates itself to promoting participatory democracy, as anti-American.
The editorial mentions the first incident in Illinois and then:
Last week in Pennsylvania, U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, the Republican seeking re-election in the 18th District there, asked the moderator if the pledge would be recited at the start of a debate.

"It's not a usual way" the League begins forums, the moderator explained. Not because the LWV is unpatriotic, but because it includes the pledge only when it is agreed to in advance by participants and put on an agenda. The LWV is a stickler for precisely adhering to rules and agendas.
But because it's not sufficiently "patriotic" in the way Beck wants it to be patriotic:
"I'll add (the LWV) to my list of people I don't trust anymore," Mr. Beck said.
Using the Pledge (or the Flag for that matter) as a prop to separate the good patriots from the un-Americans should not a high point, should not be a moment of honor, in one's political career.

October 29, 2010

An Update On Wingnuttia Pledge

Remember this?

It was a P-G story on The Pledge of Allegiance, Congressman Murphy, and a League of Women Voters meeting.

I contacted Congressman Murphy's office for a comment. Specifically, I asked:
I was wondering if the Congressman had discussed the absence of the Pledge with either Mr Rich or Mr Woeber (or anyone else) before the meeting. Was his decision to ask about The Pledge made on the stage or before hand? Does he know Rich and Woeber? Or anyone on the Peters GOP committee?

And if the agenda pre-approved by both campaigns, then why was it a problem that the Pledge wasn't on it?
His congressional office told me that as it was a political issue, they were passing it on to his campaign.

I haven't received a response, yet.

Know who else hasn't received a response?

Eric Heyl of the Trib.

It's a very odd experience for me to say this, but I find that I am in agreement with much of Heyl's column (yea, I know, I know!). He's of the opinion that it was a stunt of Murphy's, though that position is cloaked by apophasis. That's where you bring up a point by saying you won't mention it. Here's Heyl at the end of his column:
Did Murphy engage in an act of stunt patriotism? While I would never suggest that, I will note his campaign has posted three pledge-related videos on YouTube since the debate.
Murphy's Media Page tells us who Murphy did talk to: our good friends Quinn and Rose. Heyl asks the same rhetorical question (questions he knows how you're gonna answer) twice more:
Nice to know that both candidates in the 18th Congressional District are pro-Pledge of Allegiance.

Glad that's cleared up. But a pivotal question remains unanswered after Tuesday's debate at Peters Middle School between Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and Democratic challenger Dan Connolly.

Did Murphy make patriotism as much a prop at the event as a mask would be in a traveling production of "The Phantom of the Opera"?
And then after telling us that Glenn Beck praised the crowd in Illinois for its spontaneous interjection of the pledge:
"What good reason is there not to say it in that setting?" [Beck] said.

A good question, certainly. An even better one, at least for the purposes of this column, is this: Did Murphy decide to dine at a table that Beck set for him the previous night?
Every rational telling of this story (ie not Quinn and Rose) points out the obvious. Heyl as well:
The league has no specific prohibition against reciting the pledge, but strictly adheres to debate formats candidates agree to long before they take the stage.

Murphy, who did not immediately respond to an interview request made through his campaign manager Thursday, should know that.
Given all this, I think the answer to all of Heyl's rhetorical questions would have to be yes. It was a political stunt.

A dangerous stunt, given the backlash facing the LWV moderator in Illinois (thanks to the Super-patriots there). Mediamatters:
The moderator and the organizer of an Illinois congressional debate who were criticized for not allowing the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited said they have received death threats and plan to go to law enforcement authorities to file complaints.

Each also blamed Fox News host Glenn Beck for stirring up opposition to their work by criticizing the incident and attacking them by name on his Fox News program, which they say has sparked an increase in hateful e-mails and phone calls since then.

"Our webmaster has stopped forwarding the e-mails to me because they have become so ugly," said Jan Czarnik, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Illinois, which sponsored the Oct. 20 forum in Evanston. "I am getting death threats and I am taking it to our local FBI. There are postings on Fox News' Facebook page that include threats on my life."
E Plebnista.

October 28, 2010

The Latest From Wingnuttia

The Pledge of Allegiance is the new bully-tool, the new tool for the tea-party bullies

Let me explain. First there was this in Illinois:
Emotions ran high Wednesday evening at the first moderated forum featuring all three candidates for the 8th Congressional District.

The League of Women Voters of Lake County moderator found herself having to moderate not only candidates Melissa Bean, Joe Walsh and Bill Scheurer, but also Walsh’s many supporters in the 350-member audience at Grayslake Central High School.

The debate, hosted by the league and the school’s students, got off to a contentious start when the audience broke out into the Pledge of Allegiance after moderator Kathy Tate-Bradish said it was not on the schedule when asked from the crowd. Tate-Bradish throughout the debate had to ask people to be civil because comments made among them could be heard at the front stage.
Now about that schedule. It was agreed to by all the parties before hand:
Tate-Bradish stood by her handling of the request and said she's been surprised by personal attacks directed toward her on the Internet since the forum, particularly posts stating she “hates America.” She said she ran the debate in the format established by some Grayslake High students and agreed to by all three candidates, none of whom asked for the pledge in advance. [emphasis added.]
Well teh crazie hit local. Here's McNulty of the P-G:

blockquote>A nationwide conservative outcry about the Pledge of Allegiance at political debates touched down in Peters this week, when a crowd at an 18th District congressional forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters charged ahead with the pledge when it was not on the league's agenda.

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and Democrat Dan Connolly were about to give their opening remarks at a debate at Peters Middle School Tuesday when Mr. Murphy asked the moderator if the pledge was being recited. When she hesitated, saying that was "not a usual way" the league started the forums, members of the crowd stood and recited the pledge anyway.This time, note that it wasn't an audience member who asked. It was Murphy. Who's campaign ok-ed the agenda beforehand:
The League of Women Voters, founded in 1920, typically includes the pledge only when a forum's hosts request one, said the co-chair of the greater Pittsburgh chapter, Arlene Levy. She said the league adheres strictly to its agendas -- whether they include a pledge or not -- to stay on schedule and keep the rules (which are pre-approved by campaigns) the same for everyone.

She helped host a 14th District debate, with no pledge, at Pittsburgh's Brashear High School Wednesday, with no complaints from the candidates or student-heavy crowd. [emphasis added.]
This is the telling part:
"There have been some groups who want to cause a ruckus, call attention to something, and using the pledge to the flag and making it seem like the League is unpatriotic," said the Highland Park resident. "We have no problems doing [the pledge]. It's patriotic to have candidates forums. We feel we're doing a public service by having nonpartisan candidates forums."

At Tuesday's meeting, two members of the Peters GOP committee, Buzz Rich and Bob Woeber, were discussing the Illinois incident at a GOP event before Tuesday's debate and decided to ask a League representative if the pledge would be recited. They understood it would, Mr. Woeber said. But when Mr. Murphy raised the issue at the forum and was told the pledge was not on the agenda, Mr. Woeber stood up and shouted "That is unacceptable and un-American!"

The pair began reciting it, whereupon the two candidates, the moderator and the crowd jumped in.
Neutrality is the new Un-American. And a new reason to bully.

E Plebnista.

August 4, 2009

Super Bob Does It Again!

From The Busman's Holiday, Bob Mayo gets an unambiguous statement from Congressman Tim Murphy regarding President Obama's citizenship. Here it is:
Here is Congressman Murphy's position: President Obama is a natural-born citizen of the United States, period."
Bob explains:
That unambiguous statement comes from Congressman Tim Murphy's Chief of Staff for Media Relations in Washington DC, Susan Mosychuk. She was returning my call, in which I asked whether Murphy had sent out any messages to constituents on this topic.
There you have it. Congressman Tim Murphy IS NOT A BIRTHER.

I am happy he cleared that up. Happy to be corrected.

Bob's next two paragraphs, since they involve this blog, require a response:
Both MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show and the Pittsburgh area blog 2 Political Junkies reported that Congressman Murphy sent a lengthy message to some constituents acknowledging the concerns of those who question President Obama's citizenship, but not taking a stand himself on the matter. Chief of Staff Mosychuk told me that Murphy's office has done no mailing on this topic; she says that the congressman is focused on the issue of health care.

When I pressed and asked whether Congressman Murphy had sent out any e-mails on the subject, Mosychuk said she would not respond to blogs or videos that have appeared on the Internet. When I asked the chief of staff whether she was saying the alleged message from Congressman Murphy was bogus or a fabrication, she chose not to answer directly. She instead repeated her statement: "Congressman Murphy's position is that President Obama is a natural-born U.S. Citizen".
We've got the e-mail headers - and we've sent them to Bob.

Congressman Murphy Responds

An astute reader sent in an e-mail yesterday responding to my request for a copy of the letter Congressman Murphy sent out - the one that Rachel Maddow quoted.

This is what my astute reader sent in:
Thank you for taking the time to contact me to express your concern regarding President Barack Obama's qualification to serve as president under Article Two of the Constitution. It is good to hear from you and I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns.

Article Two sets forth the principal qualifications for serving as president. A presidential candidate must be a natural-born citizen of the United States, be at least thirty-five years old, and have been a permanent resident in the United States for at least fourteen years.

Before being elected president, then Senator Barack Obama was plagued with questions about whether or not he is a "natural-born citizen" of the United States, as the Constitution requires. To refute these claims, the Obama campaign in June of 2008 released a "Certification of Live Birth" stating Barack Obama was born in the state of Hawaii in 1961, and is therefore a native citizen of the United States and eligible to serve as President.

Since that time, numerous lawsuits have been filed challenging the president's eligibility to serve as president under the Constitution's "natural born citizen" clause. Some lawsuits maintain President Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen because he was born in Kenya, not Hawaii. Before giving birth, the suits claim, President Obama's mother traveled to Kenya with his father but was prevented from flying back to Hawaii because of the late stage of her pregnancy, and therefore gave birth to the President in Kenya. At the time of birth, the suits contend, President Obama's father was a Kenyan citizen subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, thus handing down British citizenship to the President, while his mother was a minor at the time of his birth, too young to confer American citizenship. Moreover, critics argue his grandmother claims to have been present at his birth in Kenya. Under United States naturalization laws, citizenship can be conferred when both parents were U.S. citizens at the time of the child's birth and at least one parent lived in the United States prior to the child's birth. The lawsuits contend these requirements were not met.

Other suits claim that even if the President was born in the United States, he lost his citizenship when he was adopted in Indonesia. These suits point out the President's move to Indonesia when he was a child and his attendance at a school where only Indonesian citizens were allowed. As a historical matter, U.S. citizenship can be forfeited upon the undertaking of various acts, including naturalization in a foreign state.

Critics argue that the President can easily end the debate by simply producing his original birth certificate, rather than the Registration of Live Birth document he has provided thus far. They argue if the president is a natural born citizen, then producing this document should not be a problem.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and I unconditionally agree that the Constitution must always be upheld to the full extent. Still, in our system of government, the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of constitutionality. To date, many of the lawsuits have been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and standing, while others remain pending in the judicial system. The phrase "natural born citizen" is not defined anywhere in the Constitution and its interpretation has never been the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. While this issue is currently before the courts, I will keep your views in mind and continue to monitor the situation carefully.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with further questions or concerns. If you are interested in receiving my email newsletter describing important votes and key committee activity, I invite you to visit my website at http://murphy.house.gov and sign up.

Sincerely,

Tim Murphy
Member of Congress

All this in response to a question as to whether Murphy thinks President Obama was born in the United States.

You'll note that he doesn't actually answer the question. He could, of course, have given a one-word answer in either direction - but he didn't. Saying yes and going with the evidence (i.e. reality) risks offending a hard core segment of his party. Saying no and going with teh crazie (i.e. the birthers) and he risks getting tagged as crazie himself.

Given the overwhelming evidence to the "Yes" answer, Congressman Murphy's equivocation is confusing.

I mean he DID vote in favor of H.Res.593 a resolution that declares the President was born in Hawaii.

So why the equivocation?

August 1, 2009

Calling All Tim Murphy Constituents

Recently on the Rachel Maddow show, Rachel discussed a letter sent out by Pennsylvania Congressman Tim Murphy. The discussion starts about 4:45 in:


And from the transcript of the show, here's a segment of the letter:
Before being elected president, then-Senator Barack Obama was plagued with questions about whether or not he is a natural-born citizen of the United States as the Constitution requires. To refute these claims, the Obama campaign in June of 2008 released a certification of live birth stating Barack Obama was born in the State of Hawaii in 1961.

Before giving birth, the suits claim, President Obama's mother traveled to Kenya with his father, but was prevented from flying back to Hawaii because of the late stage of her pregnancy, and therefore, gave birth to the president in Kenya.

At the time of birth, the suits contend, President Obama's father was a Kenyan citizen subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, thus handing down British citizenship to the president, while his mother was a minor at the time of birth, too young to confer American citizenship.

Moreover, critics argue, his grandmother claims to have been present at the birth in Kenya. Other suits claim that even if the president was born in the United States, he lost his citizenship when he was adopted in Indonesia.

As a historical matter, U.S. citizenship can be forfeited upon undertaking of the various acts including naturalization in a foreign state.
Rachel uses this as more evidence that the Congressman is among the "Birthers" in DC. We won't say that he's not a birther. We've already noted his presence in the Firedoglake clip - where he refuses to say that Obama was born in the US (though he doesn't say that Obama wasn't). So it may be true that he's a birther but he may also, in this letter at least, just be explaining the situation to his constituents. I can't tell for sure. And I want to know for sure.

So in the interest of fairness, I'd love to see the complete text of the letter.

So c'mon any Murphy constituents out there! Anyone get the letter? E-mail me. We'll discuss.

July 31, 2009

Tony Gives Credit Where Credit Is Due

In his column today, Tony Norman explains some parts of teh crazie and starts with two sentences I never thought I'd read from him:
Let us now praise Bill O'Reilly. Let's not forget "Sideshow Annie" Coulter while we're at it. Both Ann Coulter and Mr. O'Reilly have done what many conservative elected officials don't have the guts to do: They've either mocked or denounced the so-called "birther" movement as an embarrassment to common sense and a threat to the long-term interests of the Republican Party.
And writes something a local member of Congress should notice:

Earlier this week, a reporter from The Huffington Post tried to get Rep. Tim Murphy, a Republican from Upper St. Clair, on the record about the "birthers." But the pride of the 18th District proved too fleet-footed for the running dogs of the media.

Rep. Murphy reportedly hid in a congressional office supply store for 20 minutes rather than answer the politically sensitive question about whether Barack Obama is a natural-born citizen. How many birthers can there possibly be in the 18th District to take offense?

The video can be found here, in the event you wanted to see it in all its glory. Tony, in three paragraphs, explains teh crazie:
As anyone with a relative with a tinfoil hat knows, the birthers believe Barack Obama is a Kenyan citizen who became president of the United States through trickery. They argue that Mr. Obama's presidency is, thus, constitutionally invalid. Even CNN's Lou Dobbs has given legitimacy to their paranoid ravings by insisting on "more documentation" from the Obama White House on the issue.

Birthers want to inspect the original birth certificate and not the copy issued by the state of Hawaii. They don't believe an original exists and they're critical of the "certificate of live birth" Hawaii distributed to the media to quell the controversy.

Birthers insist that a certificate of live birth and a birth certificate aren't the same animal. They also want to debunk the notion that "six of one" comes anywhere near to being the same thing as "half dozen of the other."

Birthers are crazie.

July 27, 2009

Guess Who?

Watch:



From Firedoglake:
Mike Stark has been up on the Hill all week whipping Democrats to hold fast on the public plan, and in his spare time, he decided to ask Republicans if Barack Obama was born in the United States. Not only do they not want to answer -- they run.

He asks Republicans Tom Price, Thaddeus McCotter, Jeff Fortenberry, Charles Boustany, Aaron Schock, Greg Harper, Mike Coffman and others what they think. Tim Murphy hides, looking at pens for 20 minutes to try and avoid him.

Mike and Brave New Films cameraman Brett Vauhn finally got Arizona congressman Trent Franks to admit without equivocation that Obama was born in the United States, and that his birth certificate is valid.

The video makes clear that the Republican Party is captive to their conspiracy theory-mongering base all the way up to the top.
Tim Murphy first appears about 40 seconds in.

May 27, 2009

Rep. Tim Murphy Needs A Fact Checker

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA-18) has an opinion piece in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on "cap and trade" legislation. In it, Murphy makes the following claim:

Estimates show such a plan would increase taxes. According to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, cap and trade could add $3,100 in costs to each family's annual energy bill by 2016.
Wow! That's a pretty frightening number.

It's also FALSE.

From M.I.T.'s April 1, 2009 letter to Rep. John Boehner (R-OH):

“It has come to my attention that an analysis we conducted examining proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Report No., 146, Assessment of U.S. Cap-and-Trade Proposals, has been misrepresented in recent press releases distributed by the National Republican Congressional Committee. The press release claims our report estimates an average cost per family of a carbon cap and trade program that would meet targets now being discussed in Congress to be over $3,000, but that is nearly 10 times the correct estimate which is approximately $340. Since the issue of legislation to control greenhouse gases is now under consideration, I wanted to take an opportunity to clear up any misunderstanding created by this press release and to avoid further confusion.
Yes, Murphy's very scary number is off by a factor of almost 10.

And, just in case Boehner didn't pass that along to Murphy, Timmy could have found the same information at this very blog at the beginning of this month (see here).

If you click on that link, you'll see that David didn't just blog about this issue. He actually wrote to Murphy about it.

Guess Murphy's just been too busy to keep up with the FACTS...or something.
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October 19, 2008

Challenger Steve O'Donnell Alleges Tim Murphy Violating House Ethics Rules (Again)

We've been here before, kiddies. Who can forget two years ago when Rep. Tim Murphy (R, PA-18) snatched away evidence from a KDKA reporter on camera that showed that his congressional staff was engaging in campaign activities and using taxpayer money to do so?

Just in case you missed it, here it is in all its gory glory:


Well, now the O'Donnell campaign says that Murphy is up to his old tricks. From a press release distributed on Friday:

At the Bethel Park Parade and Community Day on September 13th, 2008, Congressman Murphy used the event for both official and campaign purposes. This is a clear violation of House Ethics Rules, and by definition an illegal activity.

According to House ethics rules (page 178 – click on this link), Members of Congress must designate their public appearances as either official or political – but not both. The rule is intended to prevent Members from using taxpayer money to further campaign objectives. The exact text of the relevant statute in the House Ethics Manual can be found below.

At the Bethel Park event, Murphy set up a Congressional tent decorated with the Congressional seal and manned by one of his Congressional staff.

Meanwhile, Murphy marched in the parade, handing out campaign paraphernalia, like “Murphy for Congress” nail files. He was also accompanied by campaign staff. An official-looking black sedan marked with the words “Congressman Tim Murphy” followed closely behind. The sign on the car was ambiguous – it made direct reference to Murphy’s title, but it didn’t contain either the Congressional seal or Murphy’s campaign logo. However, one of the passengers in the car was wearing a “Murphy for Congress” campaign sticker.

Less than twenty minutes later, Murphy appeared at his Congressional tent – which, was located adjacent to the tent of the Bethel Park Republican Committee. As he spoke with party members, he was wearing a blue windbreaker with an official seal with the words “Congressman Tim Murphy.” When one of Murphy’s campaign staffers, who had been standing adjacent to the Congressional tent, saw that Murphy was being photographed, he charged across the street and physically confronted the photographer.
You can see the full press release here and it's chock full of photographs.

You can find out more about Steve O'Donnell here.
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February 29, 2008

Down to Three

It's official, Wayne Dudding has withdrawn from the race.

Sources tell me it was a matter of funding and timing. The campaign started late, couldn't get much traction, and was having trouble raising money.

So now that leaves three:To duke it out for the chance to take on Tim Murphy.

February 27, 2008

Meet The Candidates - Steve O'Donnell

Had a phone interview a few days ago with Steve O'Donnell.

He's among those running for the Democratic Party's nomination for the chance to run against Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18).

I started with some general questions and then we moved on to some issues.

O'Donnell explained his decision to enter the race as not a sudden one but part of a developmental process where he came to the conclusion that "clearly there's a time for change in this country."

He sited a few numbers. He started with the numbers of American troops killed in Iraq (in the thousands) and wounded in Iraq (in the tens of thousands), the numbers of Iraqis dead and wounded (in the hundreds of thousands) and the money wasted in a war we were at best manipulated into and at worst lied into (between $8 and 12 billion - with a "b"). Then there's the trampling of the Constituion, the lost of respect overseas. You get the idea.

It was a cumulative effect, he said.

On the war, he said that the Bush Administration is not done well in meeting the needs of the troops returning home. That the modest gains in Iraq have only come to pass because the Iraqis' political will that underpins the war is evaporating - they're realizing, he said, that the resources coming from the American military won't be available for very much longer. In spending so much time settling old scores, they've wasted an opportunity.

The troops should be removed safely - though he's not confident it'll happen soon. The plan for the troops' removal has to be directed by the military - the Congress' job is to set the policy. It's for the military to implement it. He expects to see this with a new Democratic President and a growing majority in Congress.

We had a long talk about Health Care. He's in favor of (and he said this more than once) "a single payer, not-for-profit, universal health care system." The current system, he said, doesn't need to be repaired, it needs to be completely replaced. It's a system, he said, that's "horribly upside-down."

He's looking at a system where the Doctors and hospitals stay private, but the government (with a 3 or 3.1 percent raise in income tax) pays the medical bills. Once the profit motive is taken out of the system, he said, it would save a substantial amount of money.

We got into a shorter discussion of some hot button issues.

He's a big fan of the Equal protection guarantees in the Constitution and as such feels that in order for the Constitution to truly offer equal protection, the same rights must be extended to all citizens. It follows that if a straight couple can get married, then a gay couple should also be able to get married. Anything else is discriminatory and contrary to the Constitution's equal protection provisions.

He's also pro-choice. He said that Roe v Wade has less to do with abortion than it has about privacy. Once the right to privacy has been established, a woman's right to choose follows closely after. He said that right is fairly absolute in the first trimester - but once the fetus is viable (and this is from the text of Roe v Wade) the government does have some say.

We ended the interview with him casually pointing out how Congressman Murphy voted with George W. Bush "100% if the time on key issues."

Well now, who would've guessed that??

January 29, 2008

Meet-and-Greet with Beth Hafer Tonight

Meet-and-Greet with Beth Hafer

WHAT: Meet-and-Greet with Beth Hafer
WHEN: Tuesday, January 29, 6:00PM
WHERE: Shadow Lounge, 5972 Baum Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

DETAILS:

Please join host Bill Peduto in meeting-and-greeting Beth Hafer, Democratic candidate for Congress in the 18th Congressional District.

Beth is businesswoman and former teacher.

Come to learn more about Beth Hafer and her campaign for Congress.

The 18th Congressional District is currently held by Republican Tim Murphy and includes much of the South Hills in Allegheny County as well as parts of Beaver, Washington, and Westmoreland County.
R.S.V.P. here

http://www.haferforcongress.com
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December 10, 2007

EVENTS

December 11, 2007

City Planning Commission Hearing/Community Benefits Agreements (CBA's)
WHAT: Speak out against Arena if no CBA @ City Planning Commission Hearing!
WHEN: Tuesday, December 11, 2007, 2:00 - 5:00 PM
WHERE: 200 Ross Street, 1st floor, Pittsburgh PA

The One Hill CBA Coalition and allies will be testifying and requesting that planning commission members vote NO on the master plan if a CBA is not in place. For more info, contact: khari.mosley@gmail.com

December 12, 2007

PennFuture Holiday Open House
WHAT: PennFuture Holiday open house
WHEN: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 from 5:00 - 8:00 PM
WHERE: PennFuture Pittsburgh, 425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 2770, Pittsburgh PA

Looking for some holiday cheer? Well, look no further - PennFuture is holding Holiday Open House parties in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. RSVP: https://www.pennfuture.org/form_secure.aspx?form_name=openhouse

December 13. 2007

Community Benefits Agreements (CBA's) Meeting
WHAT: Northside United CBA Coalition Meeting
WHEN: Thursday, December 13, 2007, 6:00 PM
WHERE: Martin Luther King School, 50 Montgomery Place (Northside), Pittsburgh PA

The Northside United CBA Coalition will be presenting it's findings from over 25 meetings and 1000 surveys from community members regarding the positive and negative impacts of the casino. For more info, contact: khari.mosley@gmail.com

"No Iran War" Petition Submission to Rep. Tim Murphy
WHAT: "No Iran War" Petition Submission
WHEN: Thursday, December 13, 2007, 6:00 PM
WHERE: Tim Murphy's office, 504 Washington Rd. Pittsburgh PA 15228

Please join MoveOn & others to submit a "no war in Iraq" petition to Tim Murphy. This applies particularly to people who are his constitutents in PA-18. RSVP: http://www.dfalink.com/event.php?id=26398
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November 16, 2007

RESTORE ACT Passed In The House

The House passed H.R. 3773 yesterday by a vote of 227-189.

The locals voted along party lines: Altmire and Doyle voted for it, Tim Murphy voted against.

The AP has the story:

The House voted Thursday night to strengthen court oversight of the government's surveillance of terrorist suspects but stopped short of providing legal immunity to telecommunication companies that helped eavesdrop on Americans.

The Democratic bill, approved 227-189, was a rebuke to President Bush, who has promised to veto any legislation that does not shield telecom companies from civil lawsuits. About 40 civil suits have been filed alleging the companies broke wiretapping and privacy lawsuits for monitoring phone calls and e-mails without permission of a secret court created 30 years ago for that purpose.

And:
The House bill would allow unfettered telephone and e-mail surveillance of foreign intelligence targets but would require special authorization if the foreign targets are likely to be in contact with people inside the United States — a provision designed to safeguard Americans' privacy.
And:

The new bill tightens rules on the sharing of identifying information gleaned from electronic surveillance that involves Americans. It provides protections against "reverse targeting" _that is, using unfettered foreign surveillance to secretly monitor Americans. It increases the size of the secret court that oversees intelligence. It also prohibits future presidents from conducting electronic surveillance outside the procedures established by the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

This so-called exclusivity provision would undermine Bush's claim that Congress' approval of the use of military force after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was all the approval he needed to bypass FISA and eavesdrop inside the United States without court approval.

Of course the Republicans, looking to kill a bill they can't defeat, introduced a "Motion to Recommit With Instructions" minutes after the bill was introduced for passage.

Remember the "Motion to Recommit"? The Washington Post has a description here.
The motion to recommit allows the minority a chance to amend a bill on the floor or send it back to committee, effectively killing it. In a legislative body in which the party in power controls nearly everything, it is one of the few tools the minority has to effect change.
And the Republican obstructionists are using the tool far more sneakily than their predecessors:

In the 12 years of Republican control that ended in January, Democrats passed 11 motions to recommit. Republicans have racked up the same number in just five months of this Congress.

Democrats say any comparison is unfair because when Republicans controlled Congress, they directed their members to vote against all Democratic motions to recommit.

Now in the majority and mindful of staying there, Democrats have given no such instruction to their members, allowing them to break with the party if they choose. Many freshmen Democrats from GOP-leaning districts find themselves voting with Republicans as a matter of survival -- a reality Republicans have seized upon.

In any event, the Motion to Recommit was denied by a vote of 194-222. We find the same voting pattern among the locals that we found with the Act itself. Altmire and Doyle voted against the Motion, Tim Murphy voted for it.

Keep in mind that this is just one Act in one House of Congress. Something that's led atrios to point out that:
Current Senate Bill has no retroactive immunity. Just need for it to survive amendments, then get a decent bill out of conference, then Bush's inevitable veto, and then Democrats not caving in to Mr 24%.
We'll keep watching.

November 13, 2007

Meet Beth Hafer!

Don't know Beth Hafer?

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in June:

Beth Hafer hopes to follow her well-known mother, Barbara Hafer, onto the region's ballots.

Ms. Hafer, 35, a former school teacher who now works as a vice president in a government consulting firm owned by her mother, said she plans to run for Congress next year against U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair.
There's a fundraiser for Hafer being held two weeks from today:

Georgia Berner and Heather Arnet invite you to attend
A Reception for Beth Hafer
Candidate for US Congress

WHEN: Tuesday, November 27, 5-7pm
WHERE: Palate Bistro, 212 6th Street, Downtown Pittsburgh (Across from Heinz Hall)
RSVP: http://www.actblue.com/page/palate 412-992-0809 or simone@haferforcongress.com

Dear Friends,

I am writing today to introduce you to Beth Hafer and to ask you to support her campaign for US Congress. I have had the privilege of getting to know Beth over the past couple of years, and I am thrilled that she is running for Congress. I know that Beth has the experience and the ability to promote values that are important to me – protecting the environment, improving government efficiency, and representing the people of Western, PA.

Through her family, Beth has spent her life immersed in public service. Beth has a teaching degree and she taught for several years before moving on to work as a consultant for Hafer & Associates. At Hafer & Associates, Beth helps government organizations work more efficiently for citizens without raising taxes.

Beth has long been a strong voice for positioning the Pittsburgh metropolitan area at the forefront of the emerging alternative energy industry. Those plans - along with her commitment to improving health care and education - have resonated with voters, as has her call to restore integrity to Congress.

Beth's campaign is off to a running start - she has already received the endorsement of the Communication Workers of America and she had a great showing on the last round of fundraising reports.

I am excited to have a wonderful woman candidate to support in Western, PA, a leader who will work work for us Washington. Beth represents the type of fresh, innovative and courageous leadership that we need in Washington. I am building a network of women to support Beth's campaign and I hope you will join me.

Please join us for a reception on November 27, 2007 in downtown Pittsburgh to meet Beth and support her campaign. Feel free to invite a friend to attend and meet Beth.

If you are unable to attend on the 27th please consider making a contribution to her campaign.

I hope to see you at Palate.

Sincerely,
Georgia Berner
We've blogged about Tim Murphy many a time -- this post being my favorite as it contains a video clip of Murphy snatching corruption evidence out of a KDKA reporter's hands.

Beth Hafer's website: http://www.haferforcongress.com/

(In the interest of full disclosure -- and before anyone from The City Paper can mention it first -- I believe I donated $50 to Hafer earlier this year.)
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