Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Math Isn't Difficult (except to an ostrich)

Republican Blog, News Copy weighs in on our analysis of the skewed Sweeney Poll:

Time will tell why the poll was "skewed" in Dutchess and Columbia counties or if it was just a political accident. I'm sure this analysis is going to leave some red-faced and/or a few others with a lot of explaining to do -- or maybe not.

Call it a fluke.

Just don't ask for my opinion on the undecided vote in this district.

I can tell you right now why the poll was skewed: to make Sweeney look stronger than he is in reality.

We're supposed to assume it was a "fluke" or a "political accident" that the poll - whoopsie - underpolled just the two most Democratic Counties in the district by 10%? A part of the district that comprises 25% of its actual voters?

I don't think so.

The case News Copy make demonstrates how (at every level) Republicans bury their heads in the sand. Maybe they should adopt a new mascot: Ostrich.

The numbers don't lie. There are no "accidents" in commissioned political polls.

Just like it wasn't an accident that Gillibrand's first name was wrong and that the poll included her maiden name which she's not used in the campaign. While it called Sweeney just John Sweeney, not John E. Sweeney.

Surely if Dutchess and Columbia counties had been correctly polled Sweeney would have had below 50% and there is no way to spin that as a good thing for an incumbent.

Kirsten Gillibrand is getting her points across. She's got her first TV ad up. Democrats are making gains throughout "red" America.

Instead of standing up for America and moving this nation forward, the GOP has focused on throwing red meat to its narrowing base.

Sweeney and those in power today have failed to deliver what most Americans want: an exit plan, rebuilding New Orleans, strengthening American jobs, education and delivering energy independence. Those are issues that matter a lot more to Americans than Gay Marriage and the Estate Tax.

Sweeney calls for end to the Paris Hilton Tax

From Sweeney's press-release website:

Measure Protects Small Businesses & Family Farms

Washington, D.C. - Representative John E. Sweeney (R-Clifton Park) today supported H.R. 5638, the Permanent Estate Tax Relief Act of 2006, which will provide permanent estate tax and gift tax relief for millions of Americans. The estate tax, also known as the death tax, is a tax on the value of a deceased individual's assets before they are passed to their heirs.
Everyone knows that this legislation is only an attempt to roll back the Estate Tax, first enacted in the USA during the Progressive Era, is a necessary device to prevent an inherited aristocracy, which can only undermine our republic.

A progressive reform could achieve one of the inheritance tax’s original goals from its 1916 origins in the Progressive Era: to raise revenue from those most able to pay and break up swollen concentrations of wealth and power that threaten our democracy. Without a progressive inheritance tax, our own grandchildren will be working to earn dividends for the Walton grandchildren for many years to come. (read more here)

The attempt to repeal the Paris Hilton Tax is nothing but a drive by the wealthy to preserve their political and economic power.

The hopes of the Republic cannot forever tolerate either undeserved poverty or self-serving wealth. --FDR
Propaganda notwithstanding, the fact is that the Estate Tax has no effect on real people. This is nothing but a crass attempt to undermine almost all Americans to the benefit of clowns like Paris Hilton.

And Sweeney likes to talk about his common - folk background

The 'man' is a liar, a cheat, a swindel, and a fraud, and deserves to be fired.

As Bugs Bunny Would Say, "What a Maroon"

From Sweeney's Press Release Website:
"SWEENEY SUPPORTS AMERICANS RIGHT TO FLY THE FLAG Washington, D.C. - Representative John E. Sweeney (R-Clifton Park) today announced his strong support for H.R. 42, the "Freedom to Display the American Flag Act: which will guarantees the rights of Americans to display the American flag on residential property.

"It is disturbing to hear reports of American's being denied the opportunity to support their nation through flying a flag on their front porch. Particularly at a time of war, families of soldiers have been fined or ordered to take down their American flag. To restrict Americans from displaying the very symbol of that freedom runs counter to what the Founding Fathers outlined as a sacred right. No American should ever be stopped from flying the flag or showing their love for our country, and that's why I voted for this legislation," said Congressman Sweeney.

The legislation prevents community associations and residential real estate management associations from adopting or enforcing policies, which restrict a member of their association from displaying the United States flag. The legislation comes in response to a number of cases across the United States where residents have been fined or ordered to remove the flag by their residential associations for demonstrating their patriotism by displaying an American flag.

"I hope that this 4th of July while Americans enjoy the holiday with friends and family that they reflect on the freedom we enjoy and all those who have helped preserve it. I am disturbed that Congress needed to take action on an issue like this, but support every Americans right to express their patriotism," Sweeney added."
Whew, another crisis averted. Okay, so he's saved baseball. Maybe next we'll see him taking another brave stand to defend apple pie and motherhood. Thank god we have such a valiant, independent fighter out there for us.

Now I can sleep again.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Nation on Minimum Wage

On the Minimum Wage from The Nation by way of Chestnut's Blog:

The House Appropriations Committee actually did pass an amendment to a labor and health spending bill by Steny Hoyer and George Miller on June 13 to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. Almost immediately, the Republican leadership shelved the bill indefinitely.

The next week, Hoyer offered the minimum wage amendment to a different spending bill. Of the seven Republicans who initially voted with Hoyer the week prior, five switched their votes and two, Reps. John Sweeney and Jo Ann Emerson, walked out of the room, missing the vote.

Democrats tried again to force a floor vote on the minimum wage, but the House Rules Committee blocked the amendment from being considered last night.

Has there ever been a better illustration of just how out of touch this Republican Congress is? Apparently Congress is too busy cutting the estate tax, banning flag-burning and shelving the Voting Rights Act to bother caring about working Americans.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Roll Out the Red Carpet

Sweeney is up for an award.

What does Sweeney Really Support?

The bad news is that if you needed a minimum wage increase, John Sweeney (R-NY) would be sure to get headlines claiming he supports it while not showing up to vote in favor of it. (Typical.) The good news, if you only got $8 million and are waiting for that extra $2 million from Libya, he's there fighting for you.

Sweeney recently voted for a resolution on that pledged support for Bush's war policy and rejected setting a date for the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Iraq. The majority of Democrats voted against the bill.

The Washington Post noted that Democrats denounced the resolution as "political gamesmanship aimed at providing ammunition to use against them in November's midterm elections. They argued that the intent was to force lawmakers who oppose Bush's Iraq war policy to effectively cast a vote against winning the war on terrorism if they wanted to register their objections." Republicans held that the vote provided legitimate and necessary support for U.S. troops.

The resolution says that since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, "the terrorists have declared Iraq to be the central front in their war against all who oppose their ideology." It "honors the sacrifices" of U.S. and allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and "declares that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment" of U.S. troops from Iraq.

The language of the resolution relates the struggle against al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorism with the ongoing conflict in Iraq -- a connection President Bush has made in recent public speeches....

Most Democrats in the Senate supported one of two amendments which called for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The Levin (D-Mich) amendment had a larger number of Democrats voting for it with a single Republican, Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), but was defeated, 60-39. The proposal did not set a withdrawal deadline, but urged President Bush to start pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq this year. But the Republican majority prevented either of these from passing.

For more about Kirsten Gillibrand's Iraq Plan and Exit Strategy, go here.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Congressman Do Over Strikes Again

A Post Star Editorial Published in the 6/26/06 Editorial recap

Issue: Minimum wage vote

Congressman John Sweeney [R-NY] tried to paint himself as both a friend of labor and a friend of business by both supporting and opposing a minimum wage bill last week. He first voted to support raising the federal minimum wage to $7.25, pleasing labor. But when the matter came up for vote again, he decided that doing work on a questionably valuable Libyan terrorist bill was too important for him to make time to vote on the minimum wage proposal.

Recommendation: The congressman didn't have to duck the vote to serve his constituents. He should have realized that raising the federal minimum wage was good for New York workers and businesses because it would erase a competitive advantage other states have in offering lower wages than New York does.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Novak cites poll

Robert Novak cites the GOP commissioned poll to bolster conservatives worried about the 2006 elections. The party has gotten their money's worth out of their skewed poll.

I know that Novak, Bush, John Sweeney (R-NY) and others in their party have a hard time understanding the relationship between facts and reality, but here are the facts:

In the last 20th District race, the county turn out was as follows:

Columbia had 31,326 voters Dutchess had 47,372 voters Washington had 25,223 voters

Columbia and Dutchess Counties are where the 2004 Democratic Candidate had the most votes. Columbia voted for Kelley at 35%, Dutchess at 37%. Just 26% of Washington County voters choose Doris Kelley.

Number of people polled in each of those places?

Columbia - 18 Dutchess - 45 Washington - 44

Columbia and Dutchess county total 25% of the voters yet only 16% of those polled. The poll questioned just over 400 people. 128 of them were in Saratoga County which was supposed to be a reflection of the fact that 32% of the voters were there. Yet 25% of the poll didn't go to Dutchess and Columbia counties.

That is a skewed poll created by design to favor Sweeney no matter how you slice it. The GOP got what they paid for, a headline. Novak is still worried about being wrong and finishes up with a hedge:

Republicans still worry about reverse coattails in New York. State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, heading the Democratic ticket as the candidate for governor, is running far ahead of former Assemblyman John Faso. Sen. Hillary Clinton also has a huge lead for Senate re-election.

I spoke with a friend who does marketing research recently, he said that a poll that used a maiden name that the person doesn't use and that underplays certain parts of the district could be done for those that wanted to hire one: the GOP was the client, this wasn't an independent poll no matter who they paid to run it for them. Republican Blogger News Copy has unanswered questions on the poll:

The NRCC is pitching Sweeney's 2-1 edge in a recent poll, except the Congressman's campaign hasn't called back News Copy with any numbers crunched on the percentage breakdown of the voters in the district compared to where respondents were called.

It is possible 30 percent of the Congressional District is in Saratoga County, right?

That clarification is the difference between John Sweeney making a slam dunk where the backboard shatters -- and him missing a free throw.

Yes, it is possible. But what has happened is that the most Democratic parts of the district were under-polled and other Republican parts were over polled.

Don't take my word for it, the NYS Board of Elections has the voter turnout for all of the races right here. Sweeney doesn't have a 2-1 edge at any rate since there are as many people who were undecided as those who said they'd vote for Gillibrand. Which the NRCC conveniently ignored.

Here's more to consider: in the last election, Sweeney won by around 67% of the vote - even the skewed poll shows him at just over 50% today. Sweeney has lost support and is in real danger.

For more, see our earlier posts on the poll: Poll Watching and The Truth about the Pipe Dream Push Poll.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Gillibrand in the Headlines Today

In the Times Union:

Gillibrand wants face time with Sweeney

Democratic congressional hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand challenged U.S. Rep. John Sweeney to a debate on Iraq Thursday and tossed back his earlier "pretty face" comment while throwing down the gauntlet.

Gillibrand, keying off Sweeney's support last week of what Democrats had blasted as a blatantly partisan House resolution supporting President Bush on Iraq, said the resolution "was designed to drive a partisan wedge between Americans" and suggested the two debate the issue.

"Given that you have previously called me just 'a pretty face,' I can't imagine you will be afraid of a substantive debate with me on one of the most pressing issues of the day," Gillibrand added, referring to a comment Sweeney made earlier this year to the Troy Record. ...

And in the Post Star:

Quote of the Day

"He's only offered, 'Stay the course,' which in my view is not a strategy. It's a slogan." -- Democratic congressional candidate Kirsten Gillibrand, speaking about her reasons for wanting to debate incumbent U.S. Rep. John Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, to a debate on Iraq War issues. Sweeney turned down the invitation.

Sweeney dared to debate Iraq war: Gillibrand critical of congressman's view on withdrawal date

Democratic congressional candidate Kirsten Gillibrand on Thursday challenged incumbent U.S. Rep. John Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, to a debate on Iraq war issues, an invitation Sweeney quickly turned down.

Gillibrand, in an invitation to Sweeney, criticized his vote last week on a House resolution that declared, "It is not in the national interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq."

In a telephone interview, Gillibrand said the two candidates clearly have different views on Iraq.

"He's only offered, 'Stay the course,' which in my view is not a strategy. It's a slogan," she said.

Gillibrand has called for setting a deadline to begin pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq.

She also has said the United States should have no permanent military bases in Iraq and should not make claims on Iraqi oil.

Sweeney would not comment directly, and his campaign spokeswoman Maureen Donovan would not comment on Gillibrand's criticism of his vote on the Iraq resolution....

Sweeney Parrots Bush's Talking Points on Iraq

Like Bush, John Sweeney (R-NY) pretends that the Iraq war is part of the war on terror when in fact the terrorists were in and from Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. The 9/11 commission was finished with it's study long ago yet neither Sweeney nor Bush seem to have read it. In June of 2004, CNN reported that:

The panel said it found "no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."

The Bush administration has said the terrorist network and Iraq were linked.

Sweeney also peddles the Bush claim that we are "taking the fight to the terrorists overseas in order to protect Americans’ safety at home." This ignores the reality of the day: the FBI just captured terrorists here, Al Queda called off a planned attack against the NY subway. And if we're taking the fight to them, why is Bush spying on us here?

Here is Sweeney's letter. It sounds like it was written by Karl Rove. Sweeney has an election strategy but no strategy for winning the war in Iraq.

After 9/11, our nation united against terrorism and those who want to kill innocent civilians and destroy our American way of life. New York was impacted deeply by these tragic events and we understand first-hand the kind of unthinkable damage that can be inflicted by hate-filled violent extremists.

Our national security strategy consists of preemptive action against terrorists and those who harbor them. We are taking the fight to the terrorists overseas in order to protect Americans’ safety at home. The war on terrorism is one America cannot afford to lose. Our way of life is at stake as we defend freedom, democracy and peace around the world. I support this approach.

One necessary campaign in the war against terror is in Iraq. I voted to support the use of force in Iraq for many reasons: decades of deception and violation of United Nations resolutions; invading neighboring countries; and a litany of ruthless atrocities by Saddam Hussein involving murdering his own people. I believe that the best way to safeguard freedom in our nation increasingly depends on supporting a democratic global strategy in areas beyond our borders. That is why supporting the creation of a self-governing Iraq is so critical to the future of both our countries.

Last January, over eight million Iraqis openly defied the terrorists and voted in the first free election in decades. Iraqi citizens courageously inked their fingers on ballots while the terrorists threatened that they would “make the streets run with blood.” That was a watershed moment for Iraq and the region. Iraqi citizens now have a real stake in the governance and daily operations of their country. Previously, Iraqi citizens were jailed for raising their voice, and now their voice has been heard and counted. While some people initially boycotted the election, they have now been reintegrated into the political process as seen from the strong public support for the draft constitution, its ratification and the elections of a permanent government on December 15, 2005.

While all of this was important to the formation of a permanent government, difficult days and hard work still lie ahead in Iraq for both our military and this fledging [sic] democracy. As difficult as it is to question the mission, we must continue to unite in our support for both instead of cowering at the sight of controversy. It is more important than ever that America stands firm in support of the Iraqi citizens.

Your concerns are important to me. I appreciate hearing from you and will continue to welcome your views on such crucial issues.


JOHN E. SWEENEY Member of Congress

Apparently Sweeney supports keeping our troops in Iraq indefinitely. He is also a lot like Cheney, who has been claiming that the Iraq insurgency has been in its "final throes" ever since Saddam was captured.

Related post: Read Democratic Candidate, Kirsten Gillibrand's letter challenging Sweeney to a debate on Iraq at DailyKos.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Now let's talk reality, for a change

Now it looks like Kirsten Gillibrand is really standing up to make a challenge to Sweeney, who can no longer hide behind his smug little dissmissals ("I don't know anything about her"), or the vapid slanders his cronies and dupes are planting all over the internet and on phone-in radio:
Gillibrand Challenges Sweeney To Debate On Iraq
As Congress debates this week how to proceed in the war, Kirsten Gillibrand invites incumbent Rep. John Sweeney to debate their competing visions.
Let's see who is really willing to deal with the issues that matter to Americans. No need to continue to bang the terror drum on issues long dead or trivial. Instead of grandstanding on out stupid crap like horses or steroids, let's talk about constituents dying for a cause never explained beyond vague prancing and posturing about 'freedom."

Let's see if he is brave enough to face his public instead of having people cover for him.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Truth on the Minimum Wage

The "it's always politics" thing sheds some light on whyJohn Sweeney (R-NY) is now supporting a minimum wage hike. As the Post Star reported already the "attempt was not successful" and Sweeney said that "it sets the stage for debate."

Nice try, but Sweeney can't even get his party to bring it to the floor for a vote. American Progress Report says that Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is unlikely to allow it, saying "There are limits to my willingness to just throw anything out on the floor."

So much for the just give us an up or down vote mantra. Sweeney is not a very effective congressman if he can't get his own party to bring a bill he supports up on the floor for a vote.

Efforts to raise the minimum wage since 1997 have failed under Republican control of Congress, as business groups oppose the measure and lobbied against it. ...While the minimum wage has remained frozen, lawmakers' salaries have risen with annual cost-of-living increases keyed to what is given federal employees. And last week's vote in the House Appropriations Committee followed a floor vote days before in which the House cleared the way for members to get another increase valued at thousands of dollars annually.

More Democrats have begun to ask how long the party can go along with such pay adjustments for Congress when Republicans block floor votes on the minimum wage. (The Wall Street Journal)

Today's Post Star Commentary says:

Contrary to myth, raising the minimum wage helps business and boosts the economy. We had high economic growth, low inflation, low unemployment and declining poverty rates after the last minimum wage hikes in 1996 and 1997. States that have raised their minimum wages above the increasingly inadequate $5.15 federal level have had better employment trends than the other states, including for retail businesses and small businesses.

Not a single Democrat voted against raising the minimum wage. And in May of 2005, not a single Republican - not Sweeney either - would join the 136 co-sponsors of the house bill to raise the minimum wage. Voters here shouldn't buy Sweeney's efforts to repackage himself as a person who supports this. We should elect a Democrat who would have supported it last year. Kirsten Gillibrand is with the people of the district on the issues. If people fall for Sweeney's shams now, in November he'll go right back to business as usual and we'll all loose.

Just call him Flipper

We were so floored by John Sweeney's (R-NY) visit to that frat party in April (Floored + frat party = punny.) By the way, I wish I'd known in April that Sweeney was endorsed by the National Beer Wholesalers. And hence of course, he's funded by them too.

Hey, it's not that he buys kegs by the barrel, it's that Sweeney stands with them (and Bush) on the issues, like the "permanent repeal" of the estate tax which "is critically important to beer wholesalers ... across the nation." Sincerely, they said that.

Anyway, the point is (see how easily distracted one gets when learning more about Sweeney's friends?) that I missed this 4/25/06 Sweeney (R NY) quote when asked why he changed his tune on gas:

"Listen, in Washington it's always politics."

So basically, if I understand this, when it is time to worry about someone else having my job then I do the right thing, otherwise, I'm with the PACs.

Quote by way of the Columbia County Democrats' (must read) THE TRUTH ABOUT JOHN SWEENEY'S ELECTION-YEAR FLIP-FLOP ON GAS PRICES

Sweeney and His Fantasy Camp

The TU Blog has an update on the Sweeney Tax Payer Funded Fantasy Camp Vacation with Lobbyists and Loved Ones.

Urban Elephants defends the trip as an "expenditure" and claims that looking into it is an "attack" on Sweeney.

John Sweeney (R NY) took his family, supporters, lobbyists and staffers on vacation paid for with public tax dollars ear-marked for CHARITY - people have every right to question this. The New York Power Authority has been asked...

to produce records about the event for a public hearing on the authority's practice of giving almost $1 million a year to charities of its executives' choice. NYPA's $25,000 contribution to ORDA came from that account.

That is our money, hence the headline, Skiing on the Public Dime.

An expenditure would be something that Sweeney paid for himself or that his campaign paid for. It is something intended to influence legislation, sort of like his other Ski Weekend with Lobbyists in Utah.

But this wasn't about legislation, as reported:

Sweeney and Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, were the only members of Congress to attend this year. Other guests were in no position to influence federal funding for Lake Placid; they included lobbyists and Washington insiders like the brother and sister of former White House spokesman Andrew Card and Tom DeLay's campaign lawyer. Relatives of Sessions and Zeltmann also attended. (source for both quotes)

See our earlier post on Sweeney's Guest List for more on who they are and what they gave Sweeney.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bush, Sweeney and the War

Bush was fundraising to keep GOP controll of Congress yesterday:

President Bush suggested last night that Republicans must remain in control of Congress ... speaking at a $27 million fundraiser meant to provide a needed boost to the campaign war chest of congressional Republicans.

The President is concerned that a Democratic congress will create a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. (source)

We know that Kirsten Gillibrand, Sweeney's Democratic Challenger, has a plan titled "The Iraq War Three Years Out: A Successful Exit Strategy and Securing Our Future."

John Sweeney (R-NY) has been right in step with the president on the war. After the 2006 State of the Union address, Sweeney said of Bush:

He is absolutely correct when he says, “In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders. If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone.”

On Friday, Sweeney voted to pass the GOP resolution that contains no timeline for withdrawal from Iraq.

An old proverb says:

If we don't change the direction we are headed, we will end up where we are going.

Monday, June 19, 2006

On the airwaves

Gillibrand's First Ad is up here.

TU Story on Sweeney's Health

Yesterday's Times Union had a story on Sweeney's smoking habit. John Sweeney (R NY) has been urged to quit smoking due to his health. The report suggests that Sweeney is in denial about his smoking habit. The reporter sees Sweeney smoking two days in a row, and says:

Sweeney, whose clothes reek of cigarette smoke, insisted he is not smoking and then said he is trying to quit by linking cigarettes in his mind with his recurring headaches.

"I think I can do it," Sweeney said. "I'm mentally prepared."

He's more like Bush all the time. Deny me a river.

The Republican talking points on the GOP poll found their way into the article with the claim that Sweeney leads Gillibrand which ignores the large percentage of voters who are up for grabs.

No mention of the fact that most people who know of Gillibrand like her or that she is still unknown by most voters.

No mention of the 67% of the people who think that the US is headed in the wrong direction, which indicates that a lot of the people who currently support Sweeney can be persuaded to hold him accountable and to elect someone new to turn the country around.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Poll Watching

Good news from the skewey poll:

  • 98 people said that they would vote for Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand if the election were held today in a race between Sweeney, Gillibrand and the Libertarian Candidate.
  • Another 98 people said that they were not sure how they would vote.
  • That totals 196 people who will either vote for Kirsten or are unsure.
  • Vs. the 193 who said they would vote for Sweeney if the election were held today under those same circumstances.
  • Almost 69% of the people polled were not familiar with Gillibrand (normal for a challenger at this early stage in the game).
  • Over 24% had a favorable opinion of Gillibrand - in other words, most people who do know her, like her.
  • As far as the Wal-Mart hype from the Sweeney Spinners - 22.6% of those who shopped at Wal-Mart every week had a favorable opinion of Gillibrand, not very far from her overall 24%. Not sure what their point was there.
  • Additionally, 50.7% of those who thought the US was headed in the wrong direction, also had a favorable opinion of Sweeney.

The Gillibrand Campaign won't have a hard time demonstrating to the almost 51% of voters that Sweeney's votes in Congress and his support of the Bush administration are responsible for this wrong direction. (Now we know why Sweeney is running from his real record and trying to convince people that this is a local election and not a national one.)

The Gillibrand campaign has the funds it needs to introduce Gillibrand to the 69% of those who don't know her yet.

The early and frequent negative attacks against Gillibrand by Sweeney's spinners have done little or no harm at all to Gillibrand. People who know her, obviously like her. The incumbent's smear tactics haven't resonated with voters.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Truth About the Pipe Dream Push Poll

Thumbs down to the Post Star for publishing a misleading headline based on a wacky Push Poll bought and paid for by the GOP. Not only did the poll use the wrong name for Challenger, Kirsten Gillibrand, they also polled the district in a way would clearly tip the scale in Republican, John Sweeney's favor. Even a git who never took calculus can see that it isn't an accurate poll.

But Bravo for including a PDF of the poll in the article so that I could read it and tell you how screwed up it is.

The 20th district includes all of Columbia, Warren, Greene and Washington Counties, most of Saratoga, and portions of Delaware, Otsego, Dutchess, Rensselaer and Essex.

In Columbia County, 18 people were polled. Sweeney was rated as doing a Good or Excellent job by half the percentage of people as in Saratoga County, where 128 people were polled. (In Columbia, 22.8% said good, and 7.4% said excellent whereas 42.8% said good and 14.5% said excellent in Saratoga.)

The populations of the counties polled and their percentage polled are all messed up. Just looking at the counties that are entirely in the district:

  • Columbia has 63,000+ population and 18 people polled
  • Greene has 48,000+population and 21 people polled
  • Warren has 63,000+ population and 36 people polled
  • Washington has 61,000+ population and 44 people polled

In Warren county, 51% said he was good. In Washington 53% did. Washington County has 2,000 fewer people and is poorer than Warren County but was granted 8 more poll takers.

If a real poll were done, Sweeney would be below the sacred 50% incumbent approval rating. Even with it being rigged, he just barely makes it over the hurdle with 50.8% thinking he is doing a good to excellent job. And of that only 9.9% are in the excellent section of the scale.

67.8% claimed that the country is headed in the wrong direction. This is early in the race, Gillibrand has raised funds and hasn't spent anything yet.

A lot of votes are in play. Nolan's poll is a pipe dream. Gillibrand can win the 20th district and that's no lie.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Gillibrand's Race for the 20th

Kirsten Gillibrand is mentioned in a recent (June 7, 2006) NYTimes Op-Ed, Can the Democrats Win Back Congress? By FRANCIS X. CLINES

...In New York, the Republican seat vacated by the retirement of Representative Sherwood Boehlert is clearly up for grabs, and four-term Representative John Sweeney [R NY] is facing a tough challenge from lawyer Kirsten Gillibrand. The Democrats are banking on a lift from their state ticket, which has Attorney General Eliot Spitzer running for governor — a race polls show him winning in a landslide — and Senator Hillary Clinton as a shoo-in for re-election...

The article goes on to mention that...

This year, as ever, incumbents are trouncing challengers in building campaign war chests, by a five to one margin.

But that is not the case in the Gillibrand race. She's raised almost as much money as he has and in the last quarter he barely outpaced her. Plus he's paid for four mailings and a TV ad to date since then.

The polls suggest that this could be an historic election. ... The driving force in the election could be the surprisingly large gap that polls are showing right now in support for Democrats and Republicans. Last month, a New York Times/CBS News poll found that voters favored a generic Democratic Congressional candidate over a generic Republican, 44 to 33 percent.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Vacations, Ethics ... again

The Poughkipsie Journal reports that:

Sweeney accepted $8,163 in travel for himself and his wife, Gaia, to attend the Inter-American Economic Council's "business roundtable" in the Dominican Republic and Antigua in January. [2005]

I think this is the trip John Sweeney (R NY) took that helped him cast one of the two deciding votes that brought us CAFTA. There are two trips that which obviously prevented him from being able to support that Democratic bill for real reform full of poison pills (like not being able to take paid vacations and sell out our nation for a little fun in the sun with other family members).

The two fom the larger list (which includes one of the Lake Placid Vacations that we lucky taxpayers have been paying for) are:

Sponsor(s) - U.S.-Mexico Cultural and Educational Foundation Dates - December 3, 2003 - December 7, 2003 (5 days) Location(s) - Mexico City, Mexico - Merida, Mexico

Purpose - NAFTA Conference & Bi-National Congressional Retreat Notes - Spouse Gaia Ford accompanied.

Travel Cost - $4,393.94 Lodging Cost - $822.42 Meal Cost - Other Cost - Total Cost - $5,216.36

Additional family members - Yes

Sponsor(s) - Inter-American Economic Council Dates - January 12, 2005 - January 16, 2005 (5 days) Location(s) - Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Purpose - Participation in the Business Roundtables during the Inter-American Economic Council's 2005 Congressional Delegation to the Dominican Republic & Antigua Notes - Itinerary has "Attached" as entry, but nothing was attached to form.[assumed destination]

Travel Cost - $4,583.40 Lodging Cost - $1,924.69 Meal Cost - $1,653.88 Other Cost - Total Cost - $8,161.97

Additional family members - Yes

Contrast that with our alternative, Kirsten Gillibrand who said of lobbyists:

I'm not going on a vacation to Utah with them and listening to them and them alone for a long weekend while they pay for my lavish lifestyle and my fancy vacation.

Read the full interview with Kirsten here.

Related Post at DailyKos: Kirsten Gillibrand's Ethics IOU

Blog Round Up

The Downward Spiral: John Sweeney (R NY) is mentioned in this local blog post titled "Hammered" (Gee, I wonder why.) OK, here's what they say:

...things haven’t looked good lately for the Grand Old Party in the Capital Region...given the most recent spate of headlines it appears as though things have been bad enough for the party’s heavyweights to keep themselves on steady dosages of –as some police agencies state in their reports –intoxicating liquors.

Just ask John Sweeney, who himself had two recent drags through the headlines; one for knocking them back at a Union College fraternity party in April and another after his son was offered a sweet deal to wipe a felony conviction off his record in October. That deal was presented by visiting Montgomery County District Attorney James Conboy and accepted by visiting Fulton County Judge Richard Giardino, both registered republicans.

Moving on: My take on the TU's ability to drag the contents of Saratoga GOP Charmian Jasper "Lobbying is the fourth branch of government, if you know what I mean" Nolan's poll.

Glad they got it. But the poll is not accurate. They used a name that Gillibrand doesn't use and then claimed she's got no name recognition. Those are some skewey and screwy Republicans that rigged that poll.

Even the Republican Blog, News Copy, acknowledges the poll is "skewed" with over 30% of the polling in Saratoga County (where Sweeney lives), and says there is "nothing appropriate" about using the name "Kristen Rutnik Gillibrand"

Her name is Kirsten Gillibrand. And they know that. I wouldn't be shocked if the poll even had them mis-promounce it. (It's JILL-ibrand.) Maybe I'll commission a poll and ask if anyone has a favorable opinion of John Swiney. And then issue a press release saying nobody knows Congressman Do Over.

At any rate, Gillibrand hasn't even sent a mailer out. Nor had an ad on TV. She's raising the money she needs to get her name and her ideas out there. Bottom line, Nolan's poll is meaningless.

When Kirsten wins, it won't be the first time Nolan was wrong. He claimed his party was going to win the last Saratoga elections. The Dems won it in a sweep. It was historic. Nolan said, "It's a different city."

Related: for background on Nolan/Sweeney and the aftermath of that loss see this post "More NY Republican Disarray in the 20th District"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Gillibrand in Greenwich

Kirsten was on hand for about two hours for a fundraiser in Washington County. Grassroots supporters of the campaign attended along with those first meeting Kirsten, including registered Democrats, Republicans, and those in other parties.

Gillibrand spoke about issues she is working on including: her three year plan and Exit Strategy for Iraq, her middle class tax cut proposals, and the need to create new jobs and industry at home with bold ideas on biofuel and ethanol development to boost the district's economy and create jobs. She cited John F. Kennedy's 1962 speech about going to the moon, in which he said:

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win...

Gillibrand answered questions from the audience about everything from the federal marriage amendment to local property taxes. She said that she is eager to work with Eliot Spitzer on property taxes and had some innovative thoughts on the matter. She said, "The system we have currently pits seniors against students." And she's right. That isn't working.

Shockingly, no one cared to ask how she'd protect baseball players from steroids which Bush included in his 2004 SOTU address.

A school board member asked to be kept up informed about the property tax issue. Another resident asked if Gillibrand had read RFK Jr.'s Rolling Stone article yet.

A Greenwich resident was concerned about Sweeney's (R NY) negative attacks on Kirsten's family. The audience laughed when Gillibrand said she thought the only person left to attack soon would be her two year old. She said that the voters will see the contrast, she will hold him accountable for his actions - his traveling with lobbyists and then voting for the legislation they support like he did on CAFTA (which Bush supported and which passed by 2 votes.) Votes that hurt the people of this district are going to be the focus of her criticism, not his family.

Presumably, she's not going to worry over whether or not he's pretty either.

Check out David Doonan's photos of Kirsten Gillibrand event in Greenwich on June 12th.

Rudy's PAC and Sweeney's record

The Village Voice: Power Plays reports that John Sweeney (R NY) is one of the Republicans that Rudy Giuliani's Political Action Committee (PAC), the "Solutions for America PAC" has funded ($5,000 in 2005). For more on Rudy's PAC, see their post, here.

Sweeney does another about face in response to Kirsten Gillibrand's attention to his real voting record. One blogger reports on his sudden siding with Democrats to support a hike in the minimum wage. Democratic Minority Leader, Steny Hoyer (D MD) sponsored the wage increase and said of Republicans:

"Now we'll see what they do with it. We're going to make a very pointed issue out of this."

The minimum wage hasn't been raised since 1997. In 2004, the Economic Policy Institute noted that "Seven years of federal inaction have allowed rising inflation to eat away at the buying power of the minimum wage. Moreover, the last three years have seen a slack labor market that has produced stagnant wages and incomes."

In March of 2006, the Times Union Blog reported that Gillibrand has highlighted Sweeney's bad record:

Calling Sweeney’s representation “contrary to the district’s needs,” Gillibrand points specifically to the Republican congressman’s votes against raising the minimum wage and in support of CAFTA. ...Gillibrand stresses a message of “accountability, responsibility and trust.”

No wonder Hoyer was in the region last month to support Gillibrand's campaign, saying, "We want to indicate this is one of the most important races in the whole United States." See our May 22nd post.

If what is really needed is a representative who will side with the Democrats, then voters here should elect Gillibrand instead of keeping Representative Johnny Come-Lately. It's getting pretty obvious, right?

Monday, June 12, 2006

All in the family...

Did you know that in addition to having been paid for "fundraising" from his campaign donations, that Gayle Ford, wife of John Sweeney (R NY),

...also works for Powers & Co., the lobbying firm of former state GOP Chairman William Powers, Sweeney's longtime political ally and onetime boss.

-Times Union, May 8, 2005, Elizabeth Benjamin

I did not know that. Gee, Congressman Do Over's wife is a lobbyist. I wonder why his supporters never mention that when they attack Gillibrand's father? Maybe it is another one of those things - their candidate can be related to a lobbyist, but not someone else's.

Kirsten Gillibrand has a comprehensive ethics proposal that is in stark contrast to her opponent's behavior in this realm. All in the family means a lot to our not-so-Representative Sweeney, it means he'll attack his opponent's family because he can't go after her on the issues--she's got him beat there. And it means he's going to do everything he can to keep proceeds from his campaign and his political connections all in his own family.

For those who want to decide the election on the issues instead of on attacks against Gillibrand's family tree: you can read about her ethical plans here.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Another Bad Vote

John Sweeney (R NY) stood with house Republicans to vote against freedom and neutrality on the Internet. Sweeney stood up against Google and Ebay. Instead he stood for ATT, Time Warner Cable and Verizon who want to force people to pay for faster Internet downloads for their websites.

Small businesses would have sites that would load slower than those of big corporations who could pay the fees. People with personal blogs would have slower connections too. The small shops in our district would be hurt by putting an end to net neutrality. Imagine if a local radio station were slower to hear than a national one. Or if one TV station's shows had more static on them because they didn't give extra money to Time Warner Co., that would be stupid, right?

This is a vote that will hurt locally owned shops that are the heart of the Main Street towns in this district. Sweeney would force them to pay more money to have their websites load as fast as corporate websites would. Sweeney doesn't want a fair playing field for the marketplace, he wants a world where those who pay can play. That's how Sweeney works - ATT and Verizon are on his top ten donors list. He really does vote his values.

the House Republican leadership mustered enough votes to reject a Democrat-backed amendment that would have enshrined stiff Net neutrality regulations into federal law and prevented broadband providers from treating some Internet sites differently from others. ...(source)

Related Stories: Democrats Lose House Vote on Net Neutrality, Defeat for Net Neutrality Backers. Related Blog Post: Save the Internet

TU Talkback

My thoughts and the important parts of the Times Union's "Race is Framed by Ties to Bush"

The Good News: John Sweeney (R NY) learned his lesson and didn't call Gillibrand a pretty face this time. The Bad News: Instead he dismissed her as a "caricature."

Anyone who meets Gillibrand knows she is a real person, she is sincere and she is listening to us.

"The Democrats are trying to run a national race in the 20th District," he [Sweeney] said. "I've represented that district for eight years."

A) You are holding a federal post, that is what you do, represent us to the federal government. B) You've never faced a strong Challenger since you won. C) 8 Years don't mean you are entitled to another term. D) McCain just told the Rs in Saratoga, "I believe the Republican Party should be a national party not a regional one."

Sweeney, 50, who officially kicked off his campaign for a fifth term Saturday in Clifton Park, says his opposition to dredging the Hudson River is consistent with what the people in Fort Edward want.

It is consistent with what GE's lobbyists want. But today, locals are changing their tune. The district and Fort Edward will get an economic boost from the project. And no one really wants PCBs in water that is in their backyards and rivers. Sweeney stood on the wrong side of this issue. He pandered to GE, sold people GE's version of reality instead of looking at facts and science. He stood with his campaign donors, the GE lobby. Another NY representative put it right when he said: This process has dragged on for far too long, which is why it is time to begin the dredging in earnest. Not only will our health benefit from a cleaner Hudson River, but our economy will benefit as well with new opportunities for development and travel along the river. The sooner the dredging begins and the more comprehensive that dredging is, the sooner all New Yorkers will be able to enjoy the Hudson River the way it was meant to be enjoyed. PCBs pose a threat to public health.

"He may be able to talk about the money he's brought here and there. Of course, that's a congressperson's job," the Hudson resident [Gillibrand] said. "But his job also is to be an advocate for his district, and that's where he has failed."

The article also points out that:

In recent elections, Republicans lost to Democrats in traditionally Republican parts of the district including Rensselaer and Saratoga counties.

Republicans are acknowledging that Sweeney's ties to Bush are not going to be helpful. We all know that he fought against McCain and for Bush in 2000. We all know when Bush makes a speech, Sweeney follows up with a release claiming that the president is "correct" and "absolutely right" over and over again.

Elizabeth Brilliant, chairwoman of the Dutchess County Republican Party, says Bush's disapproval ratings will affect the race..."I think that is an issue certainly all the way down to the local elections. It is an obvious issue the Republicans have to deal with," she said. ...

Sweeney's way of dealing with it is to tell us that he is a moderate. In other words, to misrepresent himself. The repackaging of himself into someone that he has not been. How is that different from telling us a lie when faced with an inconvenient reality, just like Bush would? The voters know where he has stood and who he has stood with. Big Business and Bush.

"There can be no denying the president has had difficulties," Sweeney said, but "I've outpolled every Republican on Election Day and at polls whenever I run...."

Guess what, Congressman Do Over? Past results are no guarantee of future returns.

The congressman, a former labor secretary under Gov. George Pataki, is no longer close to the governor, and some in his camp view the nomination of Gillibrand ... as receiving surreptitious support from Pataki.

That is a problem for those who want Pataki to run for president in 08, isn't it? If Pataki were to win, it seems that Congresswoman Gillibrand would be in better favor with the GOP President than Sweeney would be. While Sweeney is busy trying to tell us that he's not Bush's Go to Guy, and that he's from here while Gillibrand is not. The facts tell another story:

Neither Sweeney, a Troy native, nor the Albany-born Gillibrand is originally from the 20th District, which extends from Dutchess County in the Hudson Valley to as far north as Essex County.

Gillibrand has deep roots here. She is raising her son here. She is one of us. Sweeney has grown used to dining with lobbyists and free vacations. Gillibrand won't be vacationing with lobbyists. She's going to be traveling within the district instead, getting our feedback.

This time, local Democrats have found a strong Challenger, someone who will do just as well as her predecessor did, if not better, in supporting local projects of merit--someone who is going to represent us not the lobbyists and the Bush family dynasty.

This time, the top of the line candidates are on Row B. From Spitzer to Gillibrand and right down to the local races.

Button floating around upstate these days

Saw this button the other day:

Saturday, June 10, 2006

More nonsense from Rep. "do-over"

From Sweeney's campaign announcement:
"Today, Sweeney picked up support from the New York State Laborers Union. He also touted his record on healthcare and his history of securing money for hospitals in his district. As for his own health, Sweeney said he feels good and is getting stronger everyday."
Of course, let's not mention that two hospitals in his district (Cambridge, Sidney) have CLOSED during his watch. That kind of help we really don't need.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Shoes and News

The Post Star reported yesterday that:

Saratoga County Democratic Chairman Larry Bulman on Monday offered to contribute a pair of American-made sneakers to incumbent U.S. Rep. John Sweeney's re-election campaign.

Bulman said he got the idea after reading a recent Sweeney campaign brochure in which the Republican from Clifton Park attempted to distance himself from President Bush.

And the TU Blog has a copy of Sweeney's campaign video up. It seems like Sweeney is the one who wants to buy an election considering his three mailers and one tv spot to date. I guess he must be afraid, huh?

TUB reports:

Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaign was quick to respond to the ad, calling it a “thinly veiled attempt to obscure (Sweeney’s) lockstep voting record with the Bush administration.”

Gillibrand campaign manager Bill Hyers played off the use in the ad of a line pulled from a Daily News story, which proclaimed Sweney “New York’s go-to guy,” calling the congressman “the go-to guy for the Bush administration.”

Or maybe they called him that because he likes to go to Utah, and to go to fantasy camp, and to Go to Miami. He's always going someplace. Maybe that's why he's NY state's most absentee congressperson, he just can't make it to DC.

Too bad it is always to meet with lobbyists and campaign donors, or to shut down a vote and give an election to Bush. When Sweeney talks about being "called to public service" he's got "fundraising" kickbacks to his wife in mind, and free vacations, and dinner with lobbyists.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Sweeney and Homeland Security

John Sweeney (R NY) told the press that he was calling for the resignation of Bush's Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff. But when asked if he spoke with Certoff, he said he would when it was "appropriate." (Yeah, like on the 12th of never, I bet.)

The latest report on the subject says:

Sweeney sent a letter Monday asking Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to explain the process the department used in making grant allocations.

The same story also reports that the GOP blocked a:

...motion on behalf of Democrats to recommit the spending bill with orders that appropriators add $750 million for state grants and urban area security grants so that no state or urban area would receive less funding than it had last year.

So while Sweeney is squawking around trying to make himself sound independent. It seems like a lot of talk and not much accomplishment on his part. He can't get Chertoff to do what he wants. He can't get his party to restore the cuts he doesn't like.

More of the Sweeney standard: chest pounding, yes. Results, no.

Sweeney, GE and Toxic Homes

John Sweeney (R-NY) was given a D for his record on PCBs being removed from the Hudson River:

As the congressional representative of the cleanup zone, Congressman Sweeney has not been playing a helpful or unifying role. Offered a seat on the Governor's Task Force, Sweeney has failed to attend, or even send a representative. (source)

GE lobbied against the clean up:

The company, which has argued that the river is cleaning itself naturally and widespread dredging would cause huge disruption with little benefit, spent millions of dollars on a public relations blitz and top-notch lobbyists to defeat the plan. The company's outspoken chief executive, John F. Welch, personally lobbied Environmental Administrator Christie Whitman.

Sweeney stood with the lobbyists instead of working to inform residents about the real threats of doing nothing to clean up the waste. Sweeney had this to say:

"The EPA and Administrator Whitman have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear on the people of the Upper Hudson River region." (source)

Today, homeowners are facing falling property values and local town boards are losing income on property assessments due to toxic waste in homes near GE. Read today's Post Star story "What is the Value of a Toxic Home? Contamination prompts requests for reassessments."

Instead of working to clean up the river safely, instead of seeking to remove toxic waste, instead of looking into the real economic impact that the $460 million project would have on the district, instead of thinking of the residents whose home values have dropped and who can't sue GE or pay their mortgage, John Sweeney sided with lobbyists.

Now Sweeney sends out mailers to residents here claiming he hasn't forgotten his roots or who he is fighting for.

It seems to me that he is always fighting for corporations. Especially those that fund his campaign, in 1999/2000 alone GE's PAC gave $7,500. In 2001/2, they gave him over $11,000, and it goes on.

It's time for someone else. Someone who knows that the constitution says "We, the people" not "We, the lobbyists" or "We, the CEOs."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sweeney on CSpan

John Sweeney (R NY) was on C-Span this morning.

He stated of Chertoff, "The secretary has to show us he has a real understanding. ... If this is the way he thinks we ought to respond to these threat needs then he ought to resign" and then quickly admitted that congress is to blame for widely misappropriated Homeland Security spending, saying "This was about spreading the money around, about pork spending..." I guess no one told him that he was in Congress and should be fixing that problem. Usually he seems to mostly work on his obsession with steroids.

One call from within NY's 20th district came in while I was listening asking Sweeney what success he's had with legislation and why he's voted to support the GOP party line 90% of the time, and Sweeney's answer:

Partisan calls are fun in an election year. 90% voting is a made up number.

Ignore the question. Dismiss the caller as partisan. Say they are making things up. Uh, seems pretty rookie if you ask me.

Sweeney was elected in 1998, the DCC researched the voting record and reported on it here.

I did a tally of the 108th congress, just the last full session and Sweeney voted with the Democratic party in just 13 of 99 votes. See the post here. It seems like Sweeney's recent bid to be a real independent fighter, is all just a page from Karl Rove's strategy for keeping the GOP majority in congress. The Washington Post has a votes database up here which makes it clear that Sweeney supports the Bush administration and always has been a party line guy.

Another caller said that Sweeney is now critical of Chertoff, appointed by Bush, but shouldn't Sweeney be held accountable for having put Bush in power in the first place by leading the Brooks Brothers Riot in Miami in 2000? Sweeney takes another cue from Rove/Bush/Cheney and said:

Revisionist history is always fun, especially in a campaign year.

In spite of Sweeney's desire to pretend that he never went carpetbagging down to Miami, the fact remains that he did. To claim that people who ask him about it are the ones who are revising history is the utmost in arrogance and hypocrisy. Here are the facts:

On Nov. 22, 2000, after learning that the Miami canvassing board was starting an examination of 10,750 disputed ballots that had previously not been counted, Rep. John Sweeney, a New York Republican, called on Republican troops to “shut it down,” according to Down and Dirty. Brendan Quinn, executive director of the New York GOP, told about two dozen Republican operatives to storm the room on the 19th floor where the canvassing board was meeting, Tapper reported.

“Emotional and angry, they immediately make their way outside the larger room in which the tabulating room is contained,” Tapper wrote. “The mass of ‘angry voters’ on the 19th floor swells to maybe 80 people,” including many of the Republican activists from outside Florida.

News cameras captured the chaotic scene outside the canvassing board's offices. The protesters shouted slogans and banged on the doors and walls. The unruly protest prevented official observers and members of the press from reaching the room. Miami-Dade county spokesman Mayco Villafana was pushed and shoved. Security officials feared the confrontation was spinning out of control.

The canvassing board suddenly reversed its decision and canceled the recount. “Until the demonstration stops, nobody can do anything,” said David Leahy, Miami’s supervisor of elections...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Votes Don't Lie

The press is buying team Sweeney's spin and says Sweeney is a "moderate" Republican.

I beg to differ. John Sweeney (R NY) supports amending the constitution to help deliver congress to Bush again, while most Americans believe this is not a federal issue. (Only 33% support an amendment to the constitution according to a May 9th poll).

Sweeney sends out slick mailers saying: "From public housing to the halls of congress, John Sweeney has never forgotten where he came from. Or who he is fighting for now."

HA! He's fighting for Bush's divisive agenda. He's standing for Big Business' special interests not the working families in this district.

His support of the Food Labeling bill is a prime example of his siding with business and against average Americans like those that live here in the 20th district.

Another example from Sweeney's record: he voted against improving "aviation security, including making all airport security screeners federal employees. House Republican leaders engaged in a protracted battle against the Senate bill since the federalization of the nations security screeners would have meant more unionized workers." (source).

Sweeney called for Chertoff's resignation recently because of Homeland Security bungles. I think Sweeney should turn in his resignation too. Better aviation security would keep us safer at home, it would protect people in this district and would create much needed jobs. Jobs we need right here in our own district. Sweeney opposed good paying jobs with good benefits and real homeland security. That is not what someone with a working class background who remembers their roots would do.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sweeney Dodging his Party

According to this Republican Blogger, John Sweeney (R NY) is one of the Republicans who are:

sadly distancing themselves from President George W. Bush and the Republican Party. Many winced when Congressman Sweeney's second consecutive mailing avoided mentioning that he was a Republican and seemed to be campaign against Bush.

Yeah except that the voters here know that Sweeney supports Bush over 80% of the time when he votes. And the few of his votes that Buck Bush are on the losing side of the votes cast anyway. He's given permission to appear to be independent by Karl Rove so that the president can hold his majority.

Sweeney wasn't able to keep New York on the administration's terrorist radar screen. He never seems to be able to win any of his personal battles with the administration. He opposed dredging the PCBs from the Hudson (because what working class American doesn't deserve to fish and swim in poison?), rioted Bush into office in 2000 and still hasn't been able to get the dredging stopped.

According to AMERICAblog, Sweeney is one of 210 house members who are "firmly in favor of the anti-gay amendment" and it is widely known that the president is dragging this issue out to pander to his base in hopes that they will deliver the election to his party in November. See Panderer-in-Chief and One Size Fits All Elections for more.

Instead of working on the issues that matter to us, the party in power is pandering for votes. And that includes John Sweeney. Though they know this won't be added to the constitution, Republicans support it

... to give the GOP the debate that party leaders believe will pay off on Election Day. (source)

Sweeney is just talking about Steroids, introducing Bills paid for and supported by his donors, and supporting Bush's divisive agenda.

What about getting us out of Iraq? What about attacking jobs to our area? Who could do those things? If you want someone who will Buck Bush, why not elect a Democrat? Gillibrand's priorities are our priorities. She's focused on real issues that will make a difference in our everyday lives.

Bravo to Harry Reid (D) who tells it like it is on the gay marriage bill with no chance of passing (it probably won't even get 50 votes in the senate yet requires two-thirds majority of both houses and has to be ratified by three-fourths of the states). Reid says:

"It is this administration's way of avoiding the tough, the real problems that American citizens are confronting each and every day — high gas prices, the war in Iraq, the national debt, health care, senior citizens, education, crime, trade policies, stem cell research," he said. "Each issue begging the president's attention, each issue being ignored, valuable time in the Senate on an issue that today is without hope of passing."

The same story notes:

Some critics of the marriage amendment contend that it conflicts with the Republican Party's avowed opposition to big government interference.

Heck, it's all in a day's work for the Congressman who says one thing and does another.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


The well researched article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the 2004 elections, and John Sweeney's (R-NY) quote that:

If anything in life is attained improperly, it ought to be scrutinized and possibly taken back.

really means I have to at least ask: Do we get to take back the 2004 elections now, Mr. Sweeney?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Media Watch

No one in the press is covering the Sweeney's Latest Sell Out Bill. (Except us, it's so lonely being a watchdog.)

Today's Post Star gave him a headline on the recent homeland security debacle, even though Senators Schumer and Clinton both also came out against the latest Bush adminstration failures.

Is it a coincidence that Sweeney (R- NY) gets lots of coverage for his comments on this at the same time his Legislation for Sale bill comes up? Or is it all part of Karl Rove's plan? From the Post Star:

...Sweeney said it was "mind-boggling" for Chertoff to suggest New York's historic sites are not of national significance. "

As I said, I think Secretary Chertoff should resign," he said.... Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democratic congressional candidate, has repeatedly said Sweeney's voting record has been in line with Bush 80 percent of the time.

Sweeney's campaign mailed out a brochure to area residents last week listing examples of when he opposed Bush on issues including the Patriot Act and a proposal to allow an Arab company to operate U.S. ports.

The brochure also mentioned Sweeney's unsuccessful efforts to replace several House leaders earlier this year.

Sweeney's call for Chertoff to resign is "smoke and mirrors," said Gwenn Bellcourt, a spokeswoman for the Gillibrand campaign.

"This is interesting coming from a congressman who is in lockstep with President Bush on issues such as CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement)," she said. ...

The Times Union reports that Sweeney has told them he is running for his seat again, also making no mention of NMMA's endorsement of Sweeney's Bill:

...Sweeney continued his efforts to portray himself as independent from the Bush administration. He called for the resignation of Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff over the $80 million, or 40 percent, reduction in Homeland Security funding for New York state.

"The accumulation of incompetence at that place is alarming," he said. "The performance of Mike Chertoff and the agency has been so lacking, there needs to be a shake-up, and Mike Chertoff needs to go."

Sweeney also said the country would be better off if Donald Rumsfeld resigned as defense secretary, though he stopped short of calling for him to do so.

"Am I happy with the leadership of Donald Rumsfeld? No, I am not. I think there has been a rigidity to his view," he said. "It would help us move forward with a different personality."...

Yes, Mr. Sweeney and you are one of the personalities we have to replace.

He's never going to tire of mentioning his attempt to get new leaders (he was probably going to start another riot if he didn't find his own name on the ballot this time).

But what about last month? When his spokesperson explained his vote for a phony Republican backed "reform" bill saying, "Sweeney didn't feel pressured to be seen supporting lobbying reform."

Sweeney's gotta go just as much as Chertoff, Rumsfeld and Bush do. Sweeney has been doing exactly what Rove wants him to, and he's behaving just like the Bush administration does: take money from corporate friends and then let them write their own legislation. Except in his case, on November 7th we'll have a chance to replace him with a real representative.

Sweeney Sells Out (again)

Here's a big shocker, John Sweeney was given $4,000 from the National Marine Manufacturer's PAC on August 9, 2005. In addition to the $1,500 he picked up from them in 2004.

Now the National Marine Manufacturer's announces that Sweeney has introduced HR 5274: "NMMA strongly supports H.R. 5274 and urges Congress to pass the bill by the end of the 109th Congress."

Sweeney and NMMA will stand together and tell us that this bill is in support of "boater safety." To anyone else who reads it, it comes across more like a tax cut for big business. For something that they are probably having consumers demanding come with their purchases.

A person is easily bought when shortly after accepting campaign donation from a PAC they are introducing legislation that the special interest group supports. It sure doesn't sound like a coincidence to me. I this ethical? Doesn't seem so.

Instead of working for us by say: introducing legislation on an exit strategy for Iraq, attracting much needed jobs to the district or helping working people who are struggling with health care, Sweeney is supporting tax give aways for big business. He's such a good "representative." Well, if you own a PAC and have around $5,000 to give him, he is anyway.

If this equipment is important for our safety and will save lives, why not just introduce legislation that requires raised safety standards for the industry?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Gillibrand vs. The Not-so-Moderate Republican

The AP covered the Gillibrand campaign yesterday in a story titled, Moderate Republicans an Endangered Breed:

Dominating the election ballot are two Democratic heavyweights -- New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is seeking a second term, and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the favorite in the governor's race. Three-term Republican Gov. George Pataki, his eyes on the White House, decided not to seek another term.

Polls show Clinton and Spitzer with large leads over their little-known Republican rivals in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 2-to-1. In addition to two Democratic senators, Democrats hold 20 House seats to nine for the GOP.

The state GOP worries that economic setbacks coupled with the statewide realities could give Republicans little incentive to vote on Nov. 7.

"I'm extremely pessimistic," said Todd Finzer, a 38-year-old employee at a Greece, N.Y., sign company in a region hard hit by the loss of manufacturing jobs. "I feel like we're walking on a razor, that's what it feels like. It's just a house of cards ready to go boom."

The father of five and self-described Christian conservative voted twice for Bush but doesn't support him now. ...

In the bedroom communities around the state capital of Albany, four-term Republican Rep. John Sweeney faces a tough challenge from lawyer Kirsten Gillibrand. The Democrat has tried to appeal to the older generation of Rockefeller Republicans.

"They don't agree with this administration at all. They don't agree with the lack of fiscal discipline. They don't agree with the right-wing agenda on social issues," Gillibrand said in her bid for the 20th Congressional District seat.

Sweeney recently enlisted the help of Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the White House hopeful who brings star power but none of the baggage of Bush. At a fundraiser not far from Saratoga's famous racetrack, McCain warned of a tough election season and said the threat to Northeast moderates could drive a geographic wedge through U.S. politics....

I can't decide what was funnier about the McCain Fundraiser: Sweeney's comment that you get to have "do overs" in his business? Or McCain's comment that Sweeney - someone who voted with Tom Delay over 90% of the time, and who voted just as Bush wanted over 80% of the time - is a "moderate"?