Thursday, March 05, 2009

Goodbye Runway Rd., Parts I-IV

Thursday, January 08, 2009
Goodbye, Runway Road, Part 1
Current mood: busy
Category: Jobs, Work, Careers
I just found out yesterday that my time is winding down in Levittown, PA. Although my last day there may change, it will be within the next two weeks. I apologize for being like Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid in not saying much; but, as Coach Reid will say in his news conferences, "I'm not going to get into that."

The good news about this is that I will be closer to home, which will save both my car and my body some wear and tear. Along with this comes the bad. First, I have made a few acquaintances in the Keystone State. It would be nice if I can still stay in touch with as many as I can. Finally, the person I currently like lives there, too.

That is all for now. "Time's yours."

Monday, January 19, 2009
Goodbye Runway Rd., Part II & the "Wawa Gang"
Current mood: busy
Category: Jobs, Work, Careers
My last day officially in Levittown, PA, was this past Friday, January 16. It did not take me long to acclamate myself in my new location, which was the next day. Unfortunately, I did not get off on the good foot.
I woke up at 1:40 PM. I was due in at 2:00 PM. Yes, I called to let them know that I would be tardy and told them why. I finally arrived at 3:00 PM. Regardless, it was a complete culture shock once I stepped foot into the warehouse. I felt like a lab rat in a labyrinth, in comparison to walking around an area the size of a postage stamp for over four-and-a-half years. I will admit that it will take me, at least, one week, to adjust to the new surroundings. The fact that there is ongoing construction taking place makes it more complicated. I am certain that I will get lost, at some point, as if I can't find my way out of a burlap bag. It is what it is.
It is both good news and bad for me. The good news is that I will be closer to home. The commute is only about twenty-five minutes, twelve miles, and I do not have to travel on any highway, nor will I have to pay a toll. On the other end, the one I like the most resides in the Keystone State.
I told her last week that it would probably be my last week. At the time, I was not sure if that was the case, but I had a strong feeling that it was. I only told her because it is always better to hear it straight from the source. However, I did not say goodbye, and for a reason.
To me, the only times in which you say goodbye are for the following: 1) somebody has died, 2) somebody is moving long distance, and 3) you have no intentions of seeing either a living individual or group of individuals again. I made a promise to a few members of the "Wawa Gang" that, if I am in the area, I will stop by to say, "Hi!". Yes, that includes "Wawa girl". I meant that as a promise, and not a threat. I am a man of my word when it comes to that.
I wish I knew when next time would be. I do not. It is hard to let the acquaintences go after nearly five years. I am not the type to delete it like one's browsing history. All I do know is that, when I make it over that way to that part of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the pleasure will be all mine, regardless of whom I run into.
Until next time, take care!


Monday, February 02, 2009
Goodbye, Runway Rd., Part III- Not Yet.
Current mood: busy
Category: Jobs, Work, Careers
In the previous episode of "Goodbye Runway Road", I talked about when it is a good time to say, "Goodbye". As far as the situations in which it is "appropriate", I still stand by those. Yes, I have stopped by and said, "Hi!", to some of the Wawa gang. Please stand by for an upcoming announcement.
That teaser was very short-lived. A decision was made Friday afternoon. As a result, I can have a "normal" life in the short term. It was decided that I will be working Monday through Friday until they close down the warehouse in Levittown. Honestly, it was my proposal from the beginning. My motive was for the best interest of the company, and not selfishness. Upper management decided to have the gate open for truckers from 6 AM to 6 PM during the week, and 8 AM to 10 AM on Saturday. Of course, somebody from Security has to come over from Jersey if a trucker is sitting in the parking lot, even though the sign says that we are closed. (Either the driver can not read a sign, or the dispatcher does not know how to read two hands on the clock. I say that it is more the latter.) Yes, it means that I am splitting my time between the Keystone and Garden States. Once the building is shuttered, I will be at the Edgewater Park, NJ warehouse on a permanant basis.
The recap is simple. I will be working Monday through Friday for the short-term, and get to keep a low profile on the weekend. I am sure that somebody will ask me when I am off again; but, I will be nice and answer accordingly. I would love to elaborate further, but I have to get going for work. Blessings on your day!


Thursday, March 05, 2009
Goodbye Runway Rd., Part IV- Sunset
Current mood: tired
Category: Jobs, Work, Careers
I will keep this as brief as possible. They had a meeting earlier in the day; and, it was announced that Friday, May 1 will be the last day of the distribution center in Levittown, PA. At least, my peers there can, at least, have some closure, in that they now know when the last day will be. For me, it means that I will be on a Monday through Friday schedule until then. There are other details involved, but I cannot disclose them here.

"Time's yours."- Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Fed launches new $200B consumer credit program

Fed launches new $200B consumer credit program

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer
1 hr 25 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve on Tuesday rolled out a much-awaited program aimed at boosting the availability of credit to consumers and small businesses.

The Fed will lend up to $200 billion to spur consumer lending — for autos, education, credit cards and other things. The bold program, dubbed the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, was first announced late last year and originally scheduled to start in February.

Participants — companies and investors that pledge eligible collateral to back the loan — must request the new government loans by March 17. The Fed will provide the three-year loans on March 25.

The Fed said the program has the potential to generate up to $1 trillion of lending for businesses and households.

"The TALF is designed to catalyze the securitization markets by providing financing to investors to support their purchases of certain AAA-rated asset-backed securities," the Fed and Treasury Department said in a joint statement. "The TALF will assist lenders in meeting the borrowing needs of consumers and small businesses, helping to stimulate the broader economy."

Under the program, the Fed will buy securities backed by different types of debt including credit card, auto, student and small business loans. The credit crunch — the worst since the 1930s — has made it much more difficult for people to obtain such financing , and those that do can be socked with high rates.

The Fed plans to keep the program running through December, but said it could be extended.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced an expansion of the Fed's program on Feb. 10, saying it also will include support for commercial mortgage-backed securities. The central bank said teams from Treasury and the Fed are now analyzing the right terms for the commercial real-estate component.

The Fed and Treasury currently anticipate that securities backed by car fleet leases as well as certain equipment — including for heavy construction and for agriculture — will be eligible for Fed funding in its April operation.

Participants in the second round of funding must request the government loans by April 7, which the Fed will disburse on April 14.

The program, the Fed said, will remain focused on securities that will have the greatest impact to aid the troubled economy and shaky financial markets and that can be added at a low risk to the government.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Burris ignores cameras, calls for him to quit: Determined senator sticks to business in political storm By Henry C. Jackson


March 3, 2009

If it were up to Roland W. Burris, he'd be here to stay.

A week of lonely walks, calls for his resignation and cameras following his every move didn't seem to discourage the new senator from Illinois. The opposite happened, actually; Mr. Burris spent most of his time digging in.

"He's kept a busy schedule since arriving in Washington, and he's made a point of really going about the business of the Senate," said Mr. Burris' spokesman, Jim O'Connor.

Mr. Burris, a Democrat, was appointed to the Senate seat that President Obama vacated by former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, who was impeached and driven from office after being accused of trying to sell the seat. Mr. Burris is under scrutiny because of new claims about the circumstances of his appointment and for changing his story about it multiple times.

His week began with a phalanx of television cameras at his office door. Then came calls for his resignation and a more pronounced distance from those who once backed him.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat, an early supporter, made a point of staying out of the fray. When asked Thursday if Mr. Burris should resign, Mr. Cummings said, "I think he needs to make a decision for himself."

Mr. Burris barely let on that things had changed for him even after his Illinois colleague and the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Sen. Richard J. Durbin, told him he should resign.

He slogged through committee meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and voted on the Senate floor. He attended Mr. Obama's address to a joint session of Congress, but he walked alone from the Senate chamber to the House when no one seemed interested in chatting with him.

Late Wednesday afternoon, he gave his second floor speech — in support of voting rights for the District — and then presided over the Senate, taking part in a ritual for freshman senators. On Thursday, he had more committee meetings and floor votes, then a night flight back to Chicago.

Mr. Burris was a no-show at a Congressional Black Caucus meeting with Mr. Obama on Thursday, saying he needed to be in the Senate for a vote. His absence prevented a potentially awkward encounter with the president.

Even Rep. Bobby L. Rush, the Illinois Democrat who has championed Mr. Burris' appointment, said it was a good thing Mr. Burris wasn't there.

Democrats on the Hill said Mr. Burris' fellow senators have been cordial to him but have not gone out of their way to make him feel at home.

Sen. Roland W. Burris returns to his office after meeting with fellow Illinois Democrat Sen. Richard J. Durbin, who has said he should resign. Mr. Burris instead has appeared to dig in. (Associated Press)

There was little solace on the Internet, either. Two Save Roland Burris groups have popped up on the popular Facebook Web site. The groups have fewer than 70 members combined, and their ranks include a handful of Republican political operatives.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The New America: Socialism Expands, Freedom Contracts By Herb Denenberg


February 18, 2009

We’ve had another miracle on the political-media scene. And I’m not talking about the appearance of President Barack “The Messiah” Obama. I’m talking about another miracle of that magnitude: Newsweek magazine, also known as the “Obamaweek Magazine,” finally told a bit of the truth with its headline, “We Are All Socialists Now: The Perils and Promise of the New Era of Big Government” (Feb. 16).

Newsweek starts off fast early in the article: “Whether we want to admit it or not — and many, especially Congressman Pence [Mike Pence, R-Ind.] and Hannity [Fox News host Sean Hannity], do not, the America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state.”

The sub-headline of the story tells it all, “In many ways our economy already resembles a European one. As boomers age, we will become even more French.”

That’s not all that’s remarkable about the article. What is just as remarkable is that Newsweek, in the article, doesn’t make any criticism of turning our capitalist economy into a French-style socialist one.

It pays no attention to history that shows socialism has always produced failure, not prosperity. It shows little understanding of the relationship between expanding government and advancing socialism and contracting freedom and economic viability.

Newsweek expresses no cautions or solution that might avoid our descent into socialism, likely to bring chronic unemployment, economic stagnation and distortion, exploding regulation and restrictions on freedom. It shows no understanding how the excesses of the stimulus package, packed with pork and spending not related to economic recovery, are compounding economic problems, already serious enough.

During the campaign, President Obama and his campaign supporters and advocates tried to downplay Joe the Plumber and his question that suggested Mr. Obama’s spread-the-wealth-around advocacy made him a socialist. Now, apparently, Newsweek is willing to admit that Mr. Obama is taking us down the road to socialism. The truth might have been even more useful during the campaign, but it is still quite valuable even at this late date.

With socialism, we also get big government. Newsweek writes, “Bush brought the Age of Reagan to a close; now Mr. Obama has gone further, reversing Bill Clinton’s end of big government.” Newsweek asserts that the big-spending Bush administration and the Bush bailout started us down the path to socialism, an argument with some merit, but that does not justify accelerating that unhealthy trend.

Another article in the same edition of Newsweek confirms that big government is with us again: “Big Government Is Back — Big Time: U.S. policymakers reconsider the relationship between government and the private sector.”

The article’s very lead notes how Mr. Obama is indeed taking the French approach:

“Have you noticed that Barack Obama sounds more like the president of France every day? When Obama said in his Inaugural Address that it is time to get past stale arguments over whether government is big or small, he was echoing the eclectic philosophy of Nicolas Sarkozy, who champions markets one day and state industrial ‘champions’ the next.

“When Obama called Wall Street ‘shameful’ and greedy, he was articulating what the French have always thought, and endorsing Sarkozy’s recent dismissal of the ‘crazy idea that markets are always right.’”

In endorsing “Buy America” rules in the stimulus package, he was also echoing the French approach of ‘economic patriotism.” And when Mr. Obama moved to cap the pay of executives of financial firms in line with the federal bailout, he was always following the French lead on bankers’ pay.

Newsweek notes that until recently, business bashing and protectionism was reserved for the far left, but now Mr. Obama reflects those two approaches. Apparently, Newsweek is unaware that Mr. Obama has always been a man of the far left, reserving any centrist approach for campaign purposes only. Newsweek also fails to acknowledge that business bashing will retard economic development and protectionism in the long run will slow economic recovery, as so clearly demonstrated by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 during the great depression. (You might add to that the Obama gloom-and-doom talking down of the economy to also explain part of our economic troubles).

Newsweek goes on to admit that the stimulus package means we’re in for a European model of governance, regulation and paternalism. America is already starting to resemble Europe in the proportion of the economy going to government. Newsweek thinks that in the absence of a robust private sector, government “will be forced to fill the gap, firmly directing businesses in all sorts of ways — regulating some industries (particularly banking and the automotive sector) with big-brother vigilance, favoring others like clean energy with grants and loans, and turning still others — health care and pensions — into virtual wards of the state.”

This is all pointing toward the European socialist model, with greater government intervention and direction of business and massive welfare programs that crowd out robust economic activity and growth.

Newsweek says this trend will be popular if the conventional wisdom is right: The bailout may stabilize the financial system but the stimulus will be too small and insufficiently “timely, targeted and temporary.”

That will mean a slow recovery over a decade or more. And that will in turn generate more demand for publicly funded social services for many years. Newsweek doesn’t note that critics said the bailout would prove to be ineffective, as it was not timely, targeted and temporary, and was more of a spending bill than a stimulative bill.

Newsweek predicts this slow growth may kill American rugged individualism. If job numbers look bad, more and more people will look to government for health care, which has been tied to employment. And if the stock market follows the Tokyo model of its decade-long recent recession, there may be demand for a shift away from the present model, which relies on wealth generated by the stock market for 401(k)s for retirement, 529 plans to help defray tuition costs, and the like.

Newsweek writes, “Think about it, and its very easy to imagine a chorus of former American individualists demanding cushy French-style pensions and free British-style health care if their private stock funds fail to recover and unemployment inches upward toward 10 percent and remains there.”

Mr. Obama has helped create this environment in which people think government is there to solve all their problems and there will be a new program to solve every problem. One congressman pointed out when someone asked Mr. Obama what his programs will do for him, who has worked at McDonald’s for four years and is not getting raises or promotions, the president said his tax cuts will put more money in his paycheck. A wise congressman replied that the person ought to get more education and skills so he could demand more money in a better job.

He might have added perhaps he should seek employment elsewhere that would afford more opportunity, advancement and money. But the Obama way is to let the Messiah solve all problems. As one woman said during the campaign, now she would not have to worry about making mortgage payments or buying gas.

Our government spending is already approaching European levels and Newsweek thinks a period of slow growth and growing demands on the public sector, may force a reordering of priorities, away from defense and toward social programs. This trend is likely to bring some form of national health insurance, however named. Newsweek also fails to point out that a weakened national defense may also make America vulnerable to its enemies that are now at war with it.

Mr. Obama demonstrated in the stimulus package that he has reordered the old American battle cry to “Millions for pork and Democratic special interest spending, but not one cent for defense.”

With all these problems and trends, we will also have to dig ourselves out from a mountain of debt, now being accumulated by bailouts, stimulus packages, home mortgage rescue measures and all kinds of new social programs such as universal health insurance waiting in the wings. That all foreshadows higher taxes, more inflation, slower growth and stagflation.

Unlike the first Newsweek article concluding we are now all socialists, this article on big government takes a slightly different tack. It says bailouts, protectionism, bank nationalization and a trillion dollar stimulus package are “not a socialist conspiracy.”

Even if there is some nationalization, Newsweek argues it will be only temporary. Even if the Obama government is the only employer still hiring, “it will remain generally easier to hire and fire workers, and start and close down businesses, in America’s rougher form of capitalism.”

The bottom line is that Newsweek thinks our descent into socialism or whatever it might be called may well be a sound middle path between European style safety net and socialist government, on one hand, and American capitalism, on the other. But that might be an optimistic party-line view of what is going on.

The huge spending bills and the huge expansion of government may be a tipping point, and not just a temporary compromise to get the economy running again. The new spending programs, in the tradition of government programs established in the past are not likely to be temporary and the direction of the Obama administration seems to be more spending, bigger government, more social programs such as universal health insurance, more unionization to further cripple business brought on by the card-check bill to abolish secret ballots in union elections, more regulation to also cripple business, and all the other plans of a far-left president backed by a far-left Congress.

That radical trend is likely to be accelerated as Mr. Obama’s court appointments are made, with those going on the court being those that Mr. Obama determines have empathy for the underdog, and not those that follow the law and the Constitution.

And add to that, a possible revival of the Fairness Doctrine to cut off conservative talk radio and criticism of the Obama administration. There is growing evidence that this kind of censorship will be enacted by the FCC after the go-ahead signal from Mr. Obama. During the campaign then Sen. Obama said he opposed the Fairness Doctrine. But when his senior adviser, David Axelrod, was asked about it, he did not reaffirm that position.

He said that will be a matter of discussion between the president and the new chairman of the FCC. Translation: He is sliding away from his campaign position, and getting ready to break another campaign promise. This favoring of the Censorship Doctrine comes in the background of an Obama campaign that tried to suppress criticism of the campaign, by improper methods. So I’m not surprised by the faint odor of fascism anymore than I’m surprised by the strong odor of socialism.

Yes, Joe the Plumber may have been the great prophet of the recent election campaign, as the centrifugal force of our present political power seems to veer toward the big government, big spending, big welfare model of socialist Europe. That might not be what the American people want and what has made America the greatest economic power and country in the history of the world.

The voters may have thought they were voting for the Messiah, but without fully appreciating reality, elected a far-left liberal, radical and socialist. And those who demand bigger government and more social programs may not yet understand as government expands freedom contracts, as socialism advances liberty tends to retreat, as does economic growth and activity. Big government and socialism cannot deliver prosperity and the free society that has historically been central to America.

Elections have consequences and they are not always good ones. If the voters have second thoughts, they still have power through exercising their rights as citizens to slow or reverse a trend they do not like, and that may destroy America. The direction of the Obama administration is clear, and it is clearly the wrong direction. So Americans better get ready to fight such things as the anti-Democratic card-check bill, the anti-free-speech Fairness Doctrine, and the out-of-control spending bills such as the new stimulus bill.

That battle will not be easy, as the Obama administration has demonstrated it talks openness, transparency and bipartisanship, but does the opposite. The task will also be difficult as the president is delegating power that he should exercise to the likes of Rep. Nancy “San Francisco Values” Pelosi, speaker of the House, and Sen. Harry “Wave the White Flag” Reid, majority leader of the Senate. So you’re dealing with an inexperienced, unvetted, inexperienced, radical leftist president, but something of a triumvirate. You have to deal with a president who is arrogant and unengaged in the work of the presidency (such as drafting the most important legislation of his term).

The battle will also not be easy as the Democrats in the House and Senate now think they can ram any radical, leftist legislation down the throat of the American people, and the stimulus package is only the first chapter in a frightening book. If you can pass the biggest economic package in history without even allowing time to read the bill in advance of the vote, you may get the idea that anything goes, and anything will go unless the American people rise up in protest.

Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at

Democratic Party Immersed In Culture Of Corruption By Herb Denenberg


February 27, 2009

You may not know it if you read only the mainstream media, but even The Associated Press put out a story headlined “Analysis: Democrats self-destructing over ethics.”

I’d change that headline to read “Democrats self-destructing over ethics and criminality.” The Democratic Party of retreat and defeat, anti-military and anti-family values, is rapidly becoming the party of tax cheats, of the corrupt and of the ethically challenge. When the head of the IRS is an admitted tax cheat, you’ve got to admit the party is self-destructing.

Who has done all the talking about the culture of corruption? Rep. Nancy “San Francisco Values” Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean, who hold themselves and their party out as the great models of morality and as having high ethical standards. We are indebted to them for creating that terminology, which now so aptly applies to the corrupt culture of their own Democratic Party. And who promised the most ethical Congress in history? The same Rep. Pelosi.

Yes, the Democratic Party’s culture of corruption continues in full force, with the latest addition coming from the new senator from Illinois, Roland Burris. He is now under a criminal investigation in Springfield for perjury and is subject to a U.S. Senate investigation in Washington, D.C. This is perhaps the most important Democrat to commit perjury since President Bill Clinton’s perjury and impeachment (leading to acquittal by the Senate). Both Democrat and Republicans are demanding Sen. Burris’s resignation, including Gov. Pat Quinn, the new Democratic governor of Illinois. Even the White House got into the act, by asking him to take time out and think his position over.

The new senator was supposed to be that rare, clean Chicago politician. That’s what he told the legislature and they believed him. Perhaps when vetting Chicago politicians by Chicago politicians, the word “clean” has to be thought of as relative.

Sen. Burris is a former attorney general of Illinois, so when he testified before the Illinois legislature, he surely knew what he was doing when he failed to answer questions fully and truthfully about his contacts with Rod Blagojevich and members of his staff.

This adds further emphasis to one of the great corruption scandals of recent years involving the ex-governor of Illinois, Mr. Blagojevich, who was recently impeached for trying to sell the senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. This also puts the spotlight on the Obama-Blagojevich connection, as Mr. Obama supported Mr. Blagojevich in both of his gubernatorial runs, even after knowing, in the most recent, run that the then-governor was under investigation. But then-Sen. Obama has a record of not only associating with crooks and those under investigation, but also entering into business deals with them.

Of course, I’m referring to the now-convicted felon, Tony Rezko, who entered into a questionable land deal with Mr. Obama. The fully story on that smelly transaction is still to be revealed, as is so much of the Obama record. Another crony of Mr. Blagojevich, the impeached governor, is none other than Mr. Rezko. So we might use the old New Jersey slogan and say Messers. Obama, Rezko and Blagojevich … perfect together. And until the details of the criminal investigation of Mr. Blagojevich are made pubic, we won’t know of the role of Mr.Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel or others in the Obama fold.

The Burris-Blagojevich scandal also should spotlight the corrupt Chicago political machine, which seems unable to produce an honest politician. So remember that your president came out of the sewage and slime that has always been the main ingredient of the Chicago political culture, considered the most corrupt political machine in the U.S.

Also remember that Mr. Obama supported this corrupt political machine throughout his career and refused to support a move to try to reform the political machine. With that history and connection to the corrupt Chicago political machine, don’t set your ethical and political expectations too high.

And don’t assume Sen. Burris is the only recent addition to the parade of corrupt Democratic politicians in the news. Another new addition is Rev. Al Sharpton, a key figure in Democratic politics. You’ll recall that when Caroline Kennedy made her disastrous, brief run for an appointment to the U.S. Senate, she paid homage to Rev. Sharpton, as all New York politicians and Democratic presidential candidates routinely do. That says something about the state of New York politics and the culture of corruption of the Democratic Party.

Rev. Sharpton is in the news now, as he is protesting a New York Post cartoon that showed two policemen shooting a berserk chimp, with the caption reading, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”

Rev. Sharpton seems to think the chimp is meant to be President Obama. The cartoonist and the Post editors knew that Rep. Pelosi and her liberal elite in the House drafted the stimulus package, not President Obama. They also knew that a chimp or monkey is often used to represent someone that is not too bright.

I would think a cartoonist, under those facts, would be entitled to the benefit of the doubt. But the Rev. Sharpton protest has one useful purpose: It spotlights that the old race baiter, race hustler and shakedown artist is at work again.

This Democratic stalwart is also in the news, as he is on a speaking tour in Syracuse, N.Y. with the subject of personal responsibility and a call to service. Well, it turns out that Rev. Sharpton ought to exercise a little personal responsibility himself by paying his taxes. He’s been in the news for years for owing millions in taxes to New York City and State.

The only surprising aspect of that report is that as for some reason this prominent Democrat and tax cheat wasn’t nominated for a position in the Obama cabinet, so he could keep company with the other tax cheats, both nominated and confirmed. Of course, Rev. Sharpton should have been knocked out of public life by his involvement in the Tawana Brawley scandal, which ended with Rev. Sharpton being on the losing end of a defamation lawsuit brought by a prosecutor.

That prosecutor had been falsely accused of kidnapping and raping Ms. Brawley, the teenager whose allegations of rape turned out to be a hoax. Only in the Democratic Party could such a politician survive and prosper after being involved in the Brawley outrage. But remember Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., who was elected to Congress after he was impeached while serving as a federal judge. He was defeated in the last election.

The Blagojevich scandal was probably even a more shocking scandal than that involving the resigned governor of New York, Elliot Spitzer, another outstanding Democrat who, like Mr. Blagojevich, had presidential aspirations. He was involved with call girls after posing as the great moralizer as attorney general and governor. But Mr. Spitzer’s resignation in New York was only the beginning of the cult ure of corruption there.

His successor, Gov. David Paterson had a chief of staff, Charles J. O’Byrne who had to resign over tax problems. He suffered from the non-filer syndrome. He didn’t pay his taxes. But Gov. Patterson’s office is in such disarray that he said he was going to bring Mr. O’Byrne back. So apparently, the tax cheaters are so talented and effective that they are essential in Democratic administrations, even if they are tax cheats. As one wise man observed, being a tax cheat is almost a prerequisite for the Obama cabinet. Maybe it is for Mr. Patterson’s circle, too.

You’ll recall the noted tax cheat, Tim Geithner, who was the only man who could do the job as Secretary of the Treasury. But the Democratic Senate had no problem in confirming a tax cheat, who has conclusively proved now on the job he is not as brilliant as he was claimed.

Incidentally, Mr. O’Byrne decided not to come back to his old job. And former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., was also billed as so talented he was the only man who could manage the passage of universal health insurance. He stepped down, too, over his tax and conflict of interest problems.

Why do so many brilliant Democrats have an aversion to paying their taxes? They have no aversion to raising taxes.

There’s one thing worse than having a tax cheat as head of the IRS. And that’s having a Democratically-controlled Senate that confirms his nomination. This Democratic Senate is obviously in the business of giving consent but not advice when passing on presidential nominations.

Another in the long list of Democratic would-be office holders with tax problems is Nancy Killefer, who was to head a newly created office to eliminate inefficient government programs. She stepped down when her tax problems were discovered. Too bad, as with her record, she would probably have tried to eliminate the IRS.

Depending on the outcome of the U.S. Senate election in Minnesota, the Democrats may get another office holder who doesn’t seem to be able to pay taxes. Even before Al Franken ran in Minnesota, it was discovered he failed to pay $70,000 in taxes owed in 17 states.

Of course, the Democratic leadership in Congress may think that citizens should be able to cheat on their taxes. I’m referring to Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the tax writing committee of Congress.

He’s the subject of an ethics investigation, focusing on his failure to pay taxes, his financial disclosures, and his fund raising practices for a college center named for him.

We can count on Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., to come into this picture of ethical self-destruction by the Democrats, as he has long been under an ethical cloud going back to ABSCAM. The latest bit now in the news, as reported by the AP, involves Federal agents raiding a lobbying firm with strong Murtha connections, apparently on the suspicion of illegal campaign contributions to a number of Congressmen. Rep. Murtha has been responsible for $1 million in federal funds going to the lobbying firm’s clients. And the lobbying firm, headed by a former top Murtha aide, has been responsible for giving him $143,600 in contributions.

Rep. Murtha, when not busy with his ethical problems, spends his time slandering American military personnel. Remember his comment about how certain members of the military had murdered people in cold blood. And when proven wrong, you know he’s not going to apologize. We’ll have to wait to see if anything comes of this latest investigation. Remember that Mr. Murtha has a knack of escaping from these ethical challenges.

While on the culture of corruption, we can’t forget New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who was nominated to be Secretary of Commerce but had to withdraw as he is under investigation in his home state.

I’d say that the Attorney General’s part in pardoning terrorists and Marc Rich, the fugitive from justice, also raises ethical and corruption issues.

There are also organizations associated with the Democratic Party that also raise culture of corruption issues. Perhaps the best example is ACORN, the community organization, long associated with committing voter fraud and intimidation tactics against banks.

To round out the picture, there’s the former Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, who stepped down when facing perjury charges. He was finally convicted of obstruction of justice. Then he served jail time and is now out on five-year probation.

And who can forget former Louisiana Rep. William “Cash in the Fridge” Jefferson, who has since been defeated for Congress. He was accused of bribery, and when the FBI raided his home, they found a freezer stuffed with cash. Well, you have to keep cash cold, as it gets hot in Louisiana.

Finally, there is Massachusetts State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson who was nailed by the FBI for bribery.

As I was finishing this column, reports came out that a mutual fund controlled by the Vice President Joe Biden’s family has connections with Alan Sanford, the Texas financier responsible for the $8 billion mini-Madoff financial scandal. But it is too early to tell if the Biden family members, his son, Hunter, and his brother, James, have been involved in any ethical missteps in this matter.

Now that sounds like a damning lineup of the corrupt and the ethically challenged and questioned. But it is still a small part of the Democratic Party’s problems. Its main problem is that it has become a far-left, radical, leftist, socialist party that is weak on defense and national security and strong on higher taxes, more regulation and bigger government.

And it has become a party that has abandoned democratic values by lending its support to the card check bill to outlaw secret ballots in union elections and to the Fairness Doctrine, which, in effect, calls for the regulation and suppression of free speech. Where has the Democratic Party gone? It has abandoned its core principles, every one. And what will be the fate of America with the Democratic Party in control of the White House and Congress?

Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at