Thursday, May 04, 2006

Nine Pennacchio Editorials in One Day

Today's edition of The Centre Daily Times (State College and Centre County) printed a special section for primary election letters in its op/ed section. Nineteen letters were printed. Ten letters were written on behalf of local candidates. Nine letters were written about the US Senate race--all of them supported Chuck Pennacchio. I have tears welling up in my eyes. This is absolutely beautiful.

To all those who say that Chuck Pennacchio cannot win in central Pennsylvania, I submit to you these nine letters.

Voting values, not fears

I will vote for Chuck Pennacchio for the Democratic nomination for U.S. senator from Pennsylvania in the May 16 primary election.

I met with Pennacchio in January, February and March when he came to Centre County. On those occasions, he appealed to the audiences to vote their values and not their fears.

He spoke about his principal values.

u On Iraq: an immediate withdrawal of our forces.

u On abortion: protecting a woman's right to choose.

u On civil liberties: supporting full liberties for all.

u On PAC money: ending political action committee donations to political campaigns. It pollutes elections and gives us the best government money can buy.

Democratic voters, if these values are yours, Pennacchio deserves your vote on May 16.

Mike Sletson
State College

Talking about the issues

Discovering where Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate candidates stand on issues is challenging when media coverage emphasizes fundraising, polls and mudslinging.

The Internet information on the candidates' positions regarding nuclear weapons causes concern, especially in light of the current administration's willingness to actually use nuclear weapons.

Pre-emptive first strike and tactical use of nuclear weapons are radical departures from decades of U.S. foreign policy established and upheld by both Republican and Democratic administrations and Congresses.

Despite the recent bandwagon behavior of Congress, I think one senator can make a difference, especially one with effective communication skills and knowledge of history and foreign policy to bring credence to his arguments.

Chuck Pennacchio thinks the United States should take a leadership role in enhancing diplomacy and reducing nuclear weapons, and that we should fully support the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Alan Sandals, who echoes Pennacchio on almost every domestic policy issue, differs starkly on nuclear weapons and recently said he would oppose the adoption of a "no nuclear first-strike policy" by the U.S. Bob Casey Jr. has supported the use of nuclear weapons as an option in dealing with Iran.

Further information can be found at www.pcntv.com, where U.S. Senate debates are available as pod casts, and at other sites.

Caryl Byrne
State College

An expression of anger

There are plenty of angry Democrats out there. We are angry at the Republican-controlled government for messing up our country.

But we are also angry at the Washington Democrats for their hapless lack of leadership and their craven appeasement of the Republican radical right.

We Democrats are facing a critical election. We have a clear choice to make.

Do we want a Democrat more interested in courting Republicans than Democrats? Someone who wants to revoke Roe vs. Wade and stay the course in Iraq, who thinks a censure of President Bush is a worthless piece of paper, that nuking Iran is a viable option, that Samuel Alito is an acceptable Supreme Court Justice? An unresponsive candidate who refuses to talk to voters? Someone who is bought and paid for by lobbies and corporations?

Do we want more of the same lack of leadership? Then Bob Casey is our man.

Or do we want someone who will fight for the Democratic values of living wage, universal single-payer health care, an immediate end to the war in Iraq, the use of diplomacy rather than nukes, the separation of church and state, and a woman's right to choose?

Someone who has accepted no PAC or corporation money? Someone with the guts and passion to fight for us, and the knowledge and experience to do it?

Someone with the skills and personality to defeat Santorum in the fall? Then vote for Chuck Pennacchio on May 16.

Brenna Lorenz
State College

Experience to be senator

If you're a registered Democrat, Chuck Pennacchio needs your vote in the May 16 primary, in which he is running for U.S. Senate against Bob Casey and Alan Sandals. The primary winner will face off against incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum in November.

Pennacchio has the experience he needs be a U.S. senator.

Trained in U.S. constitutional and diplomatic history, he teaches at the Philadelphia University of the Arts.

He knows the Senate. He has served on Sen. Alan Cranston's staff and helped run the successful Senate campaigns of Tom Harkin, Paul Simon and Tim Wirth.

He served as military personnel advocate on Rep. Ron Dellums' staff. He has formulated policy positions on Social Security, health insurance, a living wage for workers, veterans' benefits, women's rights and ending the Iraq War.

He has spoken clearly and forcefully in the debates against his Democratic opponents. He is the candidate most apt to convince his audience in any debate that might take place with Santorum this fall.

Please vote for him now.

Art Goldschmidt
State College

Another political perspective

As an immigrant from Britain, I see politics from two different perspectives and continue to be astounded at the vast sum of money re-quired to elect a candidate.

When asked in a recent interview how the Senate had changed in 43 years, Ted Kennedy answered, "Money now plays the major role," referring to the $10 billion spent by lobbyists every year.

We accept this institutional corruption as the norm, ignoring that there must be quid pro quos in services rendered for all that cash.

A consequence of this financial thirst has been the reduction of the work week for the average senator, Kennedy said. Typically they start work on Tuesdays at noon and finish on Thursday, returning to the serious task of seeking funds for their next election.

Only one candidate in this year's Democratic primary election for the Senate refuses to accept lobbyist PAC money. That candidate is Chuck Pennacchio.

Consequently, if elected, he will be batting for all Pennsylvanians, not splitting his loyalty be-tween us and the organizations to which he's beholden. He will spend every weekday working on Senate business and not using the time to raise funds for his re-election.

Pennacchio is the kind of Democrat we need representing us in the Senate.

I look forward to the day when we will hear his voice on the Senate floor addressing issues that matter to us, not those of some major corporation. This can happen only if we vote for Pennacchio in the primary.

Karl Mierzejewski
State College

High praise for a candidate

Chuck Pennacchio is the kindest, most knowledgeable, humblest, wisest, courageous, intuitive, visionary person I have met in my 50 years of voting.

His energy is endless. He has traveled from east to west and north to south in Pennsylvania in the past two years meeting with more than 200 small groups of residents, getting to know the people and what would make their lives better.

He has done this at his own expense and with the help of volunteers because he loves people and his country and sees the need to unite people for the good of the country.

For the past 15 years he has taught college courses in American history, European history, politics and media.

He knows what makes an effective United States senator: being informed about foreign policy, national defense and homeland security.

His deep understanding of the roots and causes of war and the pitfalls of making decisions when you know only the surface without thinking of the outcome is sorely needed in Washington.

If you have been discouraged and thought there was no one qualified, truthful, honest and courageous left in the world, I'd like you to vote for Pennacchio. You can trust him to stand up for what is right and not for the big-money people. He accepts no PAC money. You can count on him to support you and the United States.

Joyce Luzier
Philipsburg

A real Democrat

In the race for the Democratic nomination to oppose Rick Santorum in November, the anointed candidate is Bob Casey Jr. The leaders of the party chose him and did what they could to keep other candidates from running against him in the May 16 primary.

But grass-roots Democrats have not yet spoken. We can all agree that Santorum must go. He's an embarrassment and his views are extreme, way out of the Pennsylvania mainstream.

If nominated, will Casey be able to beat him? Conventional wisdom says yes. Casey leads in polls. The problem is that the race hasn't started. The Republicans haven't begun spending their millions.

This time, they don't even have to do much outright smearing. They only have to point out that Casey and Santorum agree on most issues; that Casey and Santorum receive money from more than 200 of the same PACs.

As Harry Truman said: "In a race between a Republican and somebody who acts like a Republican, the real Republican wins every time."

I urge you to vote May 16 for a real Democrat: Pennacchio. He does not agree with Santorum and Casey on the Iraq war, on choice, on stem-cell research. He takes no PAC money.

Unlike Casey, Pennacchio is a dynamic speaker who does not hide what he believes in a fog of words. He can beat Santorum in November.

Peter Morris
State College

Recurring problems

Some problems never go away.

In Philadelphia in 1787, the Founding Fathers worried about despotism, aristocracies, kings, armies and ways to keep the republic they were creating democratic. When they finished the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin said he thought it was sound and could "only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other."

As long as we allow corporations to continue to control our political process in the 21st century, we can't expect anything but corrupt and despotic government.

Bob Casey and Rick Santorum both answer to the same corporate sponsors. They both feed at the same corporate troughs. If we have to choose between them, we will have to endorse a corrupt political process. We will be selling our democracy to the highest corporate bidder and we will fulfill Ben Franklin's pessimistic vision.

But we are not there yet. On May 16, we can decide who our candidates will be. We do not have to select corporate candidates.

Democrats can vote for Chuck Pennacchio, the only candidate for the U.S. Senate who does not receive corporate or any other PAC money.

As the only candidate for Senate who does not represent corporate power, Pennacchio is the clear choice for independents, Democrats and Republicans alike. Democrats can vote for him in the primary election. Independents, Republicans and others will have to wait until November.

Paul Durrenberger
State College

For, not against

For many years, my husband and I have voted against a candidate with whom we were uncomfortable, and felt miserable about the need to do that.

Times have changed. We will truly feel good on May 16 voting for Chuck Pennacchio for U.S. Senate.

When we first went to www.Chuck2006.com, we were amazed and delighted to find that he stands for many issues with clarity and integrity. Whether support of a living wage, universal health care, expanded stem-cell research, an exit strategy for Iraq or equal rights, Pennacchio explains his convictions and stands behind them.

PAC money does not change Pennacchio's decisions -- his support is solely grass-roots. He believes in people power, not money power, and in Washington he will continue to spend time with constituents, not lobbyists.

Democrats lose in Pennsylvania because they have not backed a strong candidate. Pennacchio can beat Rick Santorum. We do not think Bob Casey can do that. His views are almost identical to Santorum's.

Pennacchio has taken on tough political challenges for decades, against long odds. As a historian, he knows how to avoid the errors of the past.

Vote for your principles, not your fears.

Judith Walter Heald
Potters Mills

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