On the Musical “Atomic”-Nuclear Bombs Totally Rock : Mark Blankenship

The musical Atomic puts a wild slant on the Manhattan Project

—Imagine what it felt like to create the atomic bomb. Imagine the manic pulse in the various labs and hallways of the Manhattan Project, where everyone was working so hard to create something they weren’t even sure was going to work. Something they weren’t even sure they wanted to work.

In 2014, when we’ve had decades to comprehend the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that fraught sense of urgency can seem as remote as a black-and-white newsreel, and so can the moral paradox of ending a terrible war with an earth-scorching weapon.

But Atomic—a new rock musical by Danny Ginges, Gregory Bonsignore, and Philip Foxman that began performances yesterday at Theatre Row—wants to revive those frantic feelings. With a cracked sense of reality that includes gyrating lab technicians, rocking government officials, and even Robert Oppenheimer belting a vampy number to the commission putting him on trial, the show drops the creators of the bomb into a fever dream. As they grapple with what they’re about to do to the world, the scientists and officials are surrounded by smoke machines, strobe lights, and shredding guitars.

For cast member David Abeles, who plays conflicted physicist Arthur Compton, that’s the perfect context for this story. “The life and energy that come through our production in the light and sound and action all have a wild energy,” he says. “And that’s what we’re trying to translate. This is a project where the scientists were under a high amount of pressure to perform. It was absolutely a race to build this bomb, and there was an energy that was created from that that I think suits rock music really well. There’s a drive to it, a build, and that’s where the grandiosity of all these effects and this approach helps the storytelling. It gives a frenetic rush to the whole evening.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean Abeles can just act like a crazy person for two hours and call it a day.

David Abeles & Jeremy Kushnier

His character is almost always rooted in grim reality, trying to navigate his sense of duty to the American government and his deep fear that the bomb will ruin society. (The real-life Compton, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927, was eventually awarded a Medal of Merit for his work on the Manhattan Project.) The character doesn’t become heightened until the second act, when he sings a song called “Method to Madness” about how this conflict is tearing him apart.



Primary: May 20, 2014
Bob Casey Jr. (D) Next Election 2018

Pat Toomey (R) Next Election in 2016.

District 1

Bob Brady (D) Incumbent

Access to quality, affordable health care is critical to the well being of America. Central to this is addressing the needs of the millions of uninsured Americans, strengthening the Medicare system, providing health insurance to our low-income children, funding cutting-edge research, and giving patients the ability to make their own health care decisions.
The Affordable Care Act took a major step forward in addressing these important health care issues. Signed into law on March 21, 2010, we recently marked the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act – a law that ensures all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care and significantly reduces long-term health care costs. The Affordable Care Act is also designed to put you, not the health insurance companies, back in charge of your health care. Because of the Affordable Care Act:
Voted against Keystone Pipeline without limiting amendments.
I am dedicated to moving America’s energy future in the right direction. Every day, Americans struggle with high energy prices, the effects of climate change, and health issues associated with pollution. I fully support energy policies that decrease our dependence on foreign oil and make strategic invesments in clean, affordable domestic energy alternatives.
In the last Congress, we made it a priority to combat climate change and enhance America’s alternative energy production:
– American Clean Energy and Security Act – A comprehensive approach to America’s energy policy that will create millions of new clean energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance America’s energy independence, and cut pollution
– The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act- In addition to rejuvenating our nation’s economy, this package included a number of provisions to produce clean and efficient American energy, including investments in a new electric power grid, enhancement of our transportation infrastructure, $6.3 billion in energy efficiency and conservation grants, and $2.5 billion for renewable energy research
– Home Star Energy Retrofit Act – Provides immediate incentives for consumers who renovate their homes to become more energy-efficient—rapidly creating jobs here at home, while saving money for American families

Megan Rath (R) Challenger
The new Affordable Care Act has been disruptive, expensive and confusing.
No one, including our own Congressman, read the bill before it was voted on. There is no question that we needed reform to our health care system; however, this bill has been a failure. And there are consequences.
For too many in our community, their health care choices have been eliminated and their costs have skyrocketed. For others, the cost of health care is still well beyond their reach.
Our health care decisions should be made by us and our doctors, not the government.
We must embrace free-market reforms to improve the quality of health care, while also lowering its cost. This includes allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines, promoting price transparency so that we will know the actual cost of treatments before we undergo them, capping non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits to end the practice of defensive medicine, and empower individuals and small businesses to form purchasing pools in order to expand coverage to the uninsured.
The best way to help families in Philadelphia and Delaware County succeed is to drive industry to our district. This district needs all kinds of jobs — now.
Philadelphia sits at an integral location on the East Coast. We can leverage our port, waterways, airport, highways, and railways to bring more jobs to our community. As your Congresswoman, I will work to improve this critical infrastructure.
I will also work to ensure that our region remains competitive by working together with unions to bring new businesses to Philadelphia, and by working with the state and city to ensure that our tax burden is competitive as well.

District 2

Chaka Fattah (D) Incumbent

Voted against Keystone Pipeline without limiting amendments.
Fully fund the Energy Block Grant Program: Local and state governments are uniquely positioned to foster a grass-roots approach to the development and deployment of energy efficiency and conservation projects. Government leaders understand that since metropolitan areas are big sources of the carbon emissions and big users of energy resources, they need to be on the forefront of efforts to encourage energy efficiency and independence (through the use of renewable energy technologies like wind, solar, and geothermal, support the use of smart growth planning and zoning to reduce automobile usage, create more energy efficient buildings, and implement energy savings campaigns). The Energy Block Grant enables local governments to do just that, it enables them to support projects that create new employment opportunities in their communities while presenting real world examples of renewable energy projects that work.
Diversify America’s energy supplies: The nation must continue to diversify its current energy mix to include more alternative energy resources. To do this a number of different strategies need to be undertaken. First, expand federal tax credits for wind and other energy power supplies (to promote the stability and long term growth of these industries, private businesses need to have the assurance that these credits will be around long term and not subject to constant renewal every few years). Second, the federal government, following the lead of many states in this area, should adopt a national portfolio standard that requires utility companies to use alternative energy supplies. Finally, create incentives and programs that promote energy storage and smart grid policies.
Invest in a Smart Energy Grid: To truly create a greener future, the federal government must ensure that the power created from these energy resources actually reaches major population centers (unfortunately, most of the power generate through alternative energy resources – solar, wind, geothermal, tidal – are often located in remote areas). Current alternative energy incentives that only focus on growth of separate industries is not enough. To ensure that government resources are not wasted on nonviable industries, the nation must invest in new transmission lines and other facilities to guarantee that alternative energy projects are a viable means of power production.
Invest in Weatherization of Homes and Commercial Buildings: The nation could reduce its dependence on foreign energy resources simply by being more energy efficient. Weatherizing (i.e. upgrading home furnaces, ducts, windows, and insulation) the nation’s current housing stock (or just the government’s considerable public housing stock) could help reduce current energy demand by a significant number.
Create Jobs in Green Industries: The federal government in addition to investing in a new smart grid, alternative energy, weatherization programs, should also fund initiatives for advanced green manufacturing training, job transition programs for new green industries, and apprenticeships with private sector employers and unions that will work in new green industries.
Affordable Care Act
In March 2010, Congress passed and the President signed comprehensive health care reform into law with the Affordable Care Act. This law puts in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will hold insurance companies more accountable, lower health care costs, guarantee more health care choices, and enhance the quality of health care for all Americans.
Whether you get health benefits through work, buy insurance yourself, have a small business and desire to provide health coverage to your employees, are on Medicare, or don’t currently have insurance, the Affordable Care Act gives you better control of your own decisions about your health coverage. It makes insurance more affordable right away by providing small businesses with a tax credit to provide coverage, and in 2014, by providing tax credits to those who need help in buying insurance — representing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history.
The Affordable Care Act is projected to reduce premium costs for millions of families and small business owners who are priced out of coverage today. This could help as many as 32 million Americans who have no health care today receive coverage.
Once the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, Americans will have access to affordable health coverage.

Armond James (R) Challenger

District 3

Mike Kelly (R) Incumbent


Rated -3 by AAI, indicating anti-Arab anti-Palestine voting record. (May 2012)

• Urge the European Union to Designate Hezbollah as a Terrorist Organization. I am one of two lead Republican signers of a bipartisan letter from members of Congress to the Ministers of the Council of the European Union urging the EU to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah has a long history of engaging in terrorist attacks against the U.S., Israel, and other allies.
• Support Tough Sanctions on Iran. I wrote an article published by The Hill urging U.S. leadership to compel the Iranian regime to abandon its drive for nuclear weapons, its human rights violations, its acts of aggression, and its vows to wipe Israel off the map. I supported strong Iran sanctions language in H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, as well as H.R. 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, which was passed by Congress. I also signed a bipartisan letter to President Obama urging him to designate the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) as supporters of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Such designation would authorize even stronger levels of sanctions against the oil-dependent Iranian regime.
• Defend the U.S.—Israel Alliance. I recognize that the alliance between the United States and the State of Israel is crucial to the national interests of the U.S. and must be upheld. I authored an op-ed published in The Hill emphasizing the importance of this relationship. I voted for H.R. 4133, the United States—Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, which reaffirms and expands the U.S. commitment to protecting Israel. I also co-sponsored H.R. 4229, the Iron Dome Support Act, which authorizes the president to provide the Iron Dome missile defense system so that Israel can defend itself against rocket attack.

• SUPPORTED AN “ALL OF THE ABOVE” ENERGY STRATEGY. Rep. Kelly voted in favor of H.R. 4480, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, which would streamline and reform the process for energy permitting of federal onshore oil, natural gas, coal, and renewable resources. H.R. 4480 passed the house on June 21, 2012, by 248 – 163.
• SUPPORTED CONSTRUCTION OF THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE. Rep. Kelly voted in favor of H.R.1938, the North American-Made Energy Security Act, which directed the president to deny or approve the permit to construct the Keystone XL Energy Pipeline. The pipeline will create more than 20,000 jobs and transport up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day.
• SUPPORTED NATURAL GAS EXPLORATION IN AN ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE WAY. Rep. Kelly led a PA delegation letter to the president’s National Economic Council regarding the economic impact of natural gas development in PA. Rep. Kelly sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking it to address many deficiencies in their study on the potential impact of fracking on water. Joined a PA delegation letter to the Army CORPS regarding the classification of wells in PA.
• voted to delay the job destroying utility mact rule. Rep. Kelly voted in favor of H.R. 2401 Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act, which creates a Presidential committee to analyze and report on the impacts of EPA rules and actions concerning air, waste, water, and climate change. H.R. 2401 passed the House on September 23, 2011, by 249 – 169.
• SUPPORTED COAL INDUSTRY JOBS. Rep. Kelly cosponsored legislation and cosigned several letters in support of the beneficial reuse of coal ash in products like gypsum board and concrete. Rep. Kelly wrote a letter to President Obama encouraging him to include coal as part of his “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. Also, authored a letter to the EPA for clarification regarding PA DEP’s primacy over coal permitting.
Two years ago, the president signed into law his signature health care bill, which will include the government takeover of one-sixth of the U.S. economy. It is the largest expansion of the federal government in decades, and a majority of the American people want it stopped.
To that end, I have worked to repeal and defund this disastrous law before its full implementation, which will cost taxpayers more than a trillion dollars, take away $500 billion from Medicare, and force millions of people to lose their current health care coverage, putting them on government-run programs instead.
The House Republican majority has voted 29 times so far to repeal and defund, and dismantle President Obama’s health care law.

Dan LaVallee (D) Challenger

District 4

Scott Perry (R) Incumbent
I’ve advocated for legislation to encourage development of hydropower, the largest source of clean, renewable energy in the United States, thereby creating thousands of jobs (including many in the 4th Congressional District) and providing power to millions of Americans at a low cost. Of the approximately 80,000 dams in the United States, approximately three percent currently generate hydropower. This represents a tremendous opportunity for our nation’s energy needs.
At the same time, domestic oil and natural gas play a central role in our energy future by helping to create jobs, revitalizing our manufacturing sector, addressing energy costs and substantially reducing our reliance on energy from unstable foreign sources. Thanks to technology improvements, natural gas production on state and private lands is up 40 percent and oil is up 26 percent since 2007.
I want to build upon this progress by approving construction of the Keystone Pipeline, which the Department of State says could create an estimated 20,000 direct new jobs and deliver approximately 83,000 barrels of oil a day, substantially reducing our reliance on foreign energy. I’ve supported efforts to eliminate government hurdles that block and delay development of other domestic oil, natural gas and renewable energy resources.
These policies are vitally important to American families and businesses. Current gasoline prices largely reflect the fluctuations in the global demand for oil. Many of the nations we rely on for oil have become unstable, causing a spike in global oil prices – one of the main causes of high gasoline prices here in the United States. In order to address energy prices, we must do more to tap into the natural resources that currently are available to us, while continuing to develop alternative energies.
To maintain this balance between our economic and environmental needs, I’m continuously searching for the most current, scientific evidence on climate change. I’m concerned that President Obama’s climate change plan will impose costly new regulations that will stifle job creation. Almost every day, local employers tell me how government regulations hurt their ability to grow their businesses and hire more workers.
The Homeland Security Committee, of which I’m a member, has been working to address a variety of threats facing our country, including the growing threat of cyber attacks.
I staunchly believe in our Constitutional right to privacy and am committed to protecting the freedom and accessibility of the Internet from heavy-handed government regulation. In the same vein, our laws must be modernized to reflect the economic and national security concerns associated with a potential cyber attack. We know that American businesses and industries face cyber attacks every day, coming from countries like China and Russia and resulting in economic losses of intellectual property and other valuable information that cost as much as $400 billion per year. Additionally, the same tactics used against private companies may be used to attack valuable infrastructure such as the electrical grid, airports operations, and drinking water plants, not to mention our armed forces and national defenses.
I’ve supported legislation that outlines a process for the government and private companies voluntarily to share classified and unclassified information about potential or actual cyber threats. Both government and the private sector already possess the capability to detect information that can help protect our cyber networks. We must find a balance that protects our freedoms as individuals while also protecting our way of life; this approach is that reasonable balance.
An issue that directly impacts homeland security, as well as our economy, is immigration reform. I support immigration reform that ensures those who wish to come to America and thrive in our land of opportunity can do so orderly and legally. I’ve supported reforms that strengthen our security, ensure that those who follow our nation’s immigration laws are not disadvantaged, and diligently work to make sure that those here illegally are not afforded benefits reserved for American citizens.
The first step in any reform process must be to secure our borders – period. Significant progress must be made on this issue before we take any further steps.
President Obama promised that his healthcare law (the Affordable Care Act / ACA) would cut costs and make coverage more affordable for families. These claims have not held up to the facts, and I’ve heard directly from hundreds of families and small businesses worried about the increased cost of health insurance under this new law. The ACA contains 20 new or higher taxes on American families and small businesses. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) originally estimated that the bill would cost $940 billion over ten years; that estimate has increased to $1.683 trillion – a 55 percent cost increase before the law is even fully implemented.
The ACA’s online health insurance exchanges have proven rife with problems. The registration and enrollment process has been a disaster thus far, with most potential users either being locked out of the federal exchange system or simply unable to complete the application process. Overall, this part of the implementation of the ACA is off to a disastrous start.
Likewise, the Obama Administration unilaterally delayed portions of the law without Congressional approval, such as the decision to delay the employer mandate for a year. Prior to the government shutdown in Fall 2013, the U.S. House adopted legislation that called for a one-year delay of the ACA’s mandate that required every American citizen to buy health insurance. The President and Senate Democrats refused to even consider this proposal and, as a result, the government shut down.
A month later, after millions of Americans lost health care plans they were promised they could keep, many Congressional Democrats began calling for a delay in the individual mandate – the same policy House Republicans offered in order to avert the government shutdown. What was labeled as “extremist” or “irresponsible” a month prior was now being adopted by increasingly more Democrats as they saw a fundamental unfairness in the way the ACA was being implemented. Instead of name-calling and politically-motivated “fixes”, we need solutions that solve the underlying problems with our health care system.
I’ll continue to look to replace this legislation with a system that emphasizes improving quality, accessibility and affordability, and will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to initiate common-sense reforms that don’t interfere with individual choice, threaten jobs due to rising costs on employers, or increase our already unsustainable debt.

Linda Thompson (D) Challenger
No campaign website>

District 5

Glenn “GT” Thompson (R) Incumbent
http://friendsofglennthompson.com/ Updating in process
Rated -3 by AAI, indicating anti-Arab anti-Palestine voting record. (May 2012)
On March 25, 2010, Congress passed sweeping legislation that seeks to fundamentally realign our nation’s health care system. This massive health care overhaul—a remake of one-sixth of our economy—will exacerbate the very problems this reform effort sought to address. I actually sat down and read all 2,000 pages of the healthcare bill. As I read through the measure, I became increasingly alarmed at the level of control over an individual’s health that would be vested in the federal government. Since passage of this bill, my worst nightmares have become a reality as the law’s implementation continues to drive up costs, saddle small businesses with burdensome regulations, and imposes unfunded mandates on the Commonwealth, by shifting costs from the federal government to the states. We must repeal this law and move forward with commonsense reforms that will improve our nation’s healthcare system and provide even greater access to more Americans.

Voted for Keystone XL Pipeline without limiting amendments.
Affordable energy is vital to our economy and national security. High energy costs slow job growth, increase the costs to industries and of products, and squeezes household budgets. In rural Pennsylvania, affordable energy is critical for heating and cooling our homes, transportation, and for businesses and industries to remain productive.
For decades we have imported the majority of our energy supplies from foreign nations. As this continues, we have become part of the largest shift of wealth in history, as we send billions of dollars overseas every year. Even more troubling is the fact that a large percentage of this trade deficit has been going to unstable countries which are hostile towards the United States and our ideals.
I believe that we must make energy a priority and take bold action to protect our economy, national security and the environment. While there is not a silver bullet solution that will put us on that track overnight, I will remain committed to providing resources and outreach in the community, while continuing to advocate for:
Increases in Domestic Production of Fossil Fuels: Lands onshore and offshore contain significant amounts of natural gas, petroleum, and coal that can fuel our energy needs for centuries. Approximately 85% of our energy usage comes from fossil fuels, whereas renewables currently comprise about 6%. Even with continued heavy government funding for renewables, fossil fuels will have to play a significant role in our energy use in the coming years. I believe that it is essential that we utilize more of our own domestic supplies of traditional energy sources while we continue to develop alternative sources and a bridge toward the future.

Kerith Strano Taylor (D) Challenger

District 6

Jim Gerlach (R) Retiring in 2014.

Ryan Costello (R) Challenger
Issues such as the future of Social Security and the negative impact of Obamacare on America are important to him. He is a proponent of reforming Social Security to keep it around for younger Americans who may never see a dime the way the way things are going.
Democrats have only demagogued the issue and refused to address any sort of meaningful reform that would keep it around for future generations in Costellos’s opinion, which stands to harm young people in the long run.
Costello also is worried about what Obamacare will do to younger workers and small businesses once the employer mandate is enforced.
“If you are a 27-year-old living in the Philadelphia region, single and in good health, your premiums have jumped,” Costello said. “Meanwhile, the cost of college is going up; rents remain stable or are going up; the cost of living has gone up; the job market has been depressed, making it more difficult to get a job coming out of college.
“Now you have to pay for health care.”
Such a situation is not fair to young people.
Republicans have the right ideas, he says. But now it’s a matter of listening to where people are at and explaining those ideas in a way that people will listen.

Manan Trivedi M.D.(D) Challenger
From 2001 to 2003, Trivedi served as the battalion surgeon for the 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment Marine Corps Infantry Battalion. His battalion was among the first U.S. ground forces to enter Iraq. Trivedi served on the front lines of battle, commanding a medical team that cared for over 1,200 of our troops and hundreds of Iraqi civilians. For his service, Lt. Commander Trivedi earned the Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy Commendation Medal, and his unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. After his service in Iraq, Trivedi received a Master’s degree in health policy. He drew on his experience with combat medicine to become one of the early researchers to investigate the unique mental health issues affecting our troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Trivedi went on to serve as health policy advisor to the Navy Surgeon General and was an assistant professor of medicine at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.
Since leaving the Navy, Trivedi is a primary care physician at Reading Hospital and Medical Center.

District 7

Patrick Meehan (R) Incumbent
Rated -3 by AAI, indicating anti-Arab anti-Palestine voting record. (May 2012)


Pat Meehan supports a range of health care reforms designed to reduce premiums, lower health care costs, increase access to affordable health care insurance, prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage of individuals with pre-existing conditions, and a range of other initiatives. But the recently-passed care legislation is not the answer. It will jeopardize millions of jobs, force people out of their existing plans, increase premiums, cut Medicare for seniors, and raise taxes. Pat Meehan believes we can reform the health care system without these negative impacts.
Pat Meehan supports a number of health care reforms — reforms that have bi-partisan support and that he believes Congress should take up immediately. They include:
• Allowing individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do.

• Ending discrimination by health insurance companies based on pre-existing conditions and prohibiting insurance companies from dropping coverage because of illness, unjustly canceling an individual’s policy, or instituting annual or lifetime spending limits on policies.

• Encouraging greater competition among health insurance providers – and reducing the cost of health insurance — by removing the barriers and restrictions preventing health insurance from being purchased across state lines. Right now competition is limited to just a few providers in any particular region and companies have little incentive to innovate or operate more efficiently.

• Providing for portability of health care plans that will allow people to keep their existing plans when they move from job to job.

• Implementing medical malpractice and tort reform through the establishment of medical courts which encourage arbitration and settlements while also helping to weed out frivolous lawsuits before they become a strain on the judicial system and drive up costs to the health care system. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), as much as $10 billion dollars are spent each year on defensive medicine and unnecessary tests prescribed simply to pad patient records as doctors try to protect themselves from frivolous lawsuits.

• Accelerating the deployment of new health information technologies that allow medical records to be shared among doctors with greater ease, increasing the quality of care of patients, reducing medical errors, and lowering costs.

• Providing tax credits for lower-income families who are not eligible for existing public coverage to defray the cost of purchasing health insurance. Families eligible for public coverage should also have the right to use their current public support to enroll in private plans if they choose.

Voted for Keystone XL Pipeline without limiting amendments.

Pat knows that these solutions cannot be created through government-led programs that rely on higher taxes; rather, we should apply policies that will ignite American ingenuity and resourcefulness.

Pat’s approach favors long-term tax credits, new research and development incentives, and innovative financing mechanisms that will unleash America’s creative minds to develop the best solutions to our most pressing energy challenges.

Finding new ways to heat, cool and power our homes, modernize our grid, and electrify our vehicles is vital. Our approach to developing these solutions is equally important.
On the Homeland Security Committee, Meehan chairs the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies, where he is the leading voice in the House of Representatives on the growing threat of cyberattack. Meehan has been an outspoken advocate for improving our protections against cyberattack, and he and his committee colleagues have worked extensively with privacy advocates and other stakeholders on the issue.
Rep. Meehan has recently visited Israel, Jordan, and Turkey to meet with allies and further assess existing and growing threats in the region. Following the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Congressman Meehan has expressed his concern over the safety of US officials in the Middle East and North Africa and highlighted the importance of maintaining stability in the region in order to prevent further violence towards American citizens.
Congressman Meehan is a longtime supporter of the production of the CH-47F Chinook and V-22 Osprey, constructed in Ridley Park, Delaware County. Rep. Meehan has been an advocate for multi-year procurement contracts that improve job stability for workers and save taxpayer dollars. The Department of Defense recently signed long-term contracts for both aircraft. The V-22 and the CH-47 have proven themselves on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, and we owe it to the men and women that serve our nation to ensure they’re equipped with the best possible equipment.

Mary Ellen Balchunis (D) Challenger
I believe the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is an essential piece of legislation that needs to be protected. As contentious as the healthcare debate was, what resulted was a piece of bi-partisan legislation that allows for government oversight as well as private providers of insurance. Few disagree that healthcare costs have spiraled out of control in this country. The Affordable Care Act is a very necessary step in helping to reign in these costs, and in protecting the most vulnerable Americans among us.

The benefits of the bill extend far beyond just providing health care to those in need; in fact, some of the most important benefits come from its fiscal responsibility. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the ACA will reduce the deficit by $1.7 trillion over the next two decades, and $104 billion over the next decade. It is another very important step in not passing along the debt of our day to our children.

I believe in the fundamental notion that if people are willing to work full time, minimally, then they should be able to support themselves. The sad reality though is that many people currently work full time jobs, yet still are not able to remain above the poverty line. To me, the idea of the working poor is a contradiction in terms; if a person is willing to work, he or she shouldn’t have to be poor. The American dream of being able to succeed through hard work alone is becoming unattainable for far too many. The way to bring back the dream is through a fair wage, and the way to guarantee a fair wage for all Americans is through sensible minimum wage legislation.

There are employers today who fully understand that the wages they pay cannot support a worker and his or her family. There are some of these employers who even encourage their workers to rely on government assistance programs to supplement the salaries which are clearly inadequate. What these employers are doing is passing along the burden of supporting their workers to the taxpayers, while they reap the profits. This practice has gone on long enough and it is long since time that someone does something about it. The way to combat this is through the implementation of a fair minimum wage. Instituting a minimum wage removes the burden from the taxpayers and places it on the employers who should be paying their workers a living wage in the first place.
District 8

Mike Fitzpatrick (R) Incumbent

Rated -2 by AAI, indicating anti-Arab anti-Palestine voting record. (May 2012)
It is critically important that Americans have access to quality and affordable healthcare. One size fits all government run healthcare is not the answer. There are common-sense, free market solutions that can begin to drive down the cost of access to healthcare for all Americans.
Among the solutions I support:
• Give individuals who have to buy their own insurance the same tax benefits of large corporations
• Allow for Association Health Plans so that small businesses can group together to give them greater purchasing power and larger risk pools
• Allow individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines to increase competition and choice
• Pass meaningful tort reform to end the practice of expensive defensive medicine
• Expand Health Savings Accounts to give individuals ownership over their healthcare decision, more incentives to live a healthy lifestyle and a reason to compare costs

Voted for Keystone XL Pipeline without limiting amendments.

Kevin Strouse (D) Challenger

My top priority is helping to boost the American economy and put the country back on the path to prosperity, and that starts by reinvesting in the American worker. We’ve got the best workers in the world right here in Southeastern Pennsylvania. To get more of them back to work we must promote insourcing into America to create good-paying, fulfilling jobs. American workers can and do compete with the best in the world – but in order to thrive in a global economy, we need to ensure a level playing field, that free trade is fair trade, and that American workers and businesses are on an equal footing with foreign corporations. We cannot allow any country to violate trade laws, whether those are violations of child labor, health and safety regulations, unfair subsidies, or illegal dumping of products. We also need to reform our tax code to encourage investment in America and bring dollars parked overseas back into the country.
I completed multiple combat tours to the Middle East and South Asia as an Army Ranger and worked in CIA’s Counterterrorism Center for six years, and I’ve seen the dangers of terrorism, radical extremism, and failed states first hand. Our number one national security priority must be to defeat terrorism at home and abroad. We must provide our law enforcement, military, and intelligence services the support and resources they need to protect us from terrorism and rogue states. We must also engage in diplomacy and coalition building to develop alliances that strengthen international security and encourage American values including freedom, democracy, and open economies.

Our country deserves leaders who will take a new approach to evaluating the challenges we face and the tactics and strategies required to solve them. We must work with our allies to stand strong against the growing threats of Iran and North Korea – through tactical sanctions, diplomacy, and international pressure. Our special relationship with our friend and ally Israel has become more important as the world deals with the aftermath of the Arab Spring and ongoing civil conflict in the Middle East.
I believe women should have the right to make their own decisions about their bodies, that our government should stay out of our private lives and not interfere in a women’s conversation with her doctor. I will protect a woman’s right to choose and stand up to those in Congress who would seek to overturn this Constitutional, legally-protected right. I also believe government should ensure pregnant women and new families have access to the support they need to make informed, healthy decisions, and make it easier for families to adopt.

District 9

Bill Shuster (R) Incumbent
Rated -2 by AAI, indicating anti-Arab anti-Palestine voting record. (May 2012)
Obamacare does not offer the solutions we need for our country’s healthcare problems. The President’s plan costs $1.2 trillion and will vastly increase the national deficit while numerous budget gimmicks included in the law will increase costs for many Americans. The Administration has failed the American people with this healthcare plan and they have failed with the agency they chose to implement it.
• Obamacare must be repealed.
• I believe reform of our healthcare system must ensure that access to available high-quality, affordable health care should be the standard for every American.
• Any health reform must allow for direct patient choice of doctors, care, and insurance options and preserve existing patient/doctor relationships. Patients and consumers should have their choice of care, therapies, insurers, and providers. No government policy or office should dictate how patients receive health care.
• Healthcare reform cannot burden or favor one sector of the population or one sector of the economy over another. Over-taxation and unfunded government mandates will not ensure quality care or coverage.
• Any reform of our healthcare system by government should not stifle or weaken research and development for medical products and therapies. Competition and innovation will maintain America’s leadership in pioneering treatments and cures, as well as keep costs down.
• Before undertaking massive reform, we must address cost control in care, entitlement programs, and ensure that all Americans have access to the best quality care available. I support a health care system that allows individuals the opportunity to actively participate in decisions that affect their family’s care and reduce the government’s role in private care.
Voted for Keystone XL Pipeline without limiting amendments.
As a nation, we are faced with a dangerous dependence on foreign sources of oil to meet our increasing energy demand. Our energy market continues to be held hostage to price spikes governed by a cartel of nations whose interests run in opposition to our own. At the same time, our own domestic oil production and refining capacity remains hampered by overregulation and outdated laws that strangle our own domestic energy industry. We can no longer be dependent on our enemies and competitors for energy. We must take control of our energy future.

Rather than placing a huge energy tax on American families and restricting our energy development, I support an all-of-the-above comprehensive energy plan to reach our energy goals.
• Domestic Exploration- We must take advantage of our rich natural resources by opening the Outer Continental Shelf and ANWR to drilling, which can be done while protecting the environment.
• Coal- Pennsylvania is the nation’s fourth largest coal producer and sits upon tremendous coal reserves that could be used to create a thriving coal-to-liquid-fuel (CTL) industry. We must promote the use of our vast coal reserves by providing tax credits for the development of coal to liquid fuel technology and projects.
• Nuclear Energy- Nuclear energy emits zero harmful emissions into the atmosphere. We must expand our nuclear capability by bringing new nuclear plants online.
• Alternative Sources- We must invest in renewable and alternative fuels like ethanol, biodiesel and hydrogen. We need to encourage and support innovative approaches to energy production.
• Conservation- Conservation is something each and every one of us can do every day to make an impact on our energy demand. Congress should act to make energy conservation attractive for individuals as well as corporations through economic incentives.
Recent attempts at immigration reform have focused on amnesty for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now in America. But amnesty is not the answer to our immigration problems. Instead of easing the crush of illegal immigrants into our country, amnesty would entice a new wave to enter our nation illegally to wait until the next amnesty is announced. This already happened once two decades ago and there is no reason to think it would not happen again.
Instead of amnesty, immigration reform must start with strict border security and end with the forceful enforcement of our laws. A nation is nothing without total control over the sovereignty of its borders. I strongly support tougher laws against smugglers and drug traffickers. I also support the deployment of National Guard troops to our borders as well as increasing the physical fence along the border and the deployment of a virtual fence made up of sensors, UAVs and other monitoring technologies to truly secure our border.
We cannot truly address illegal immigration until we know exactly who is in our country and why. That is why we must expand our e-Verify system to include biometric identification cards that identify all non-citizen immigrants and migrant workers. Our visa system should also be modernized to reduce fraud. While businesses cannot be asked to play the role of law enforcement, Congress can encourage worker verification through a serious program of penalties and incentives that makes it in the businesses’ best interest to employ only legal workers.

Alanna Hartzok (D) Challenger
Alanna Hartzok is Co-Director of Earth Rights Institute, a civil society organization working for economic justice and peaceful resolution of conflicts. Specific approaches include ecological village development and “earth rights policies” for fair land tenure and public finance from a local-to-global framework. Under contract with the UN HABITAT’s Global Land Tool Network she developed an online course and training program that now has over 900 people enrolled from 95 countries. The website is here: www.course.earthrights.net
Her book – The Earth Belongs to Everyone – received the Radical Middle Book Award. Chapters include: Democracy, Earth Rights and the Next Economy; Sharing Our Common Heritage; Land for People, Not for Profit; Financing Local to Global Public Goods; Women, Earth and Economic Power; Restructuring Economic Relationships; and Economics of War and Peace.
In 2011 she received the International Earth Day Award from the Earth Society Foundation. Her 2001 E.F. Schumacher Lecture was published as Democracy, Earth Rights and the Next Economy. That same year she was a candidate for Congress in the Ninth District of Pennsylvania.

District 10

Tom Marino (R) Incumbent

Rated -4 by AAI, indicating anti-Arab anti-Palestine voting record. (May 2012)

Tom knows that the past few years have been tough on the people of Pennsylvania and he has been fighting for pro-growth policies to get America back to work. As a fiscal conservative, Tom believes that the best way to create jobs is to remove government barriers to the private sector and cut the bureaucratic red-tape that stifles innovation and success. He understands that excessive regulation on job creators in America suffocates economic growth and limits individual opportunity.
Tom will continue to fight for small business owners and hard working individuals who are the backbone of our economy by:
• Supporting lower taxes for all hardworking Americans and reducing the job-crushing taxes on businesses that employ American workers.
• Supporting a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution which will stop out of control deficit spending.
• Continuing to reduce government spending and expose the abuse, fraud, and waste in Washington.
Tom has continuously voted to repeal, defund, and replace Obamacare at every opportunity in his first term. While Tom believes that every American should have access to quality and affordable health care, he is fundamentally opposed to the government intrusion of Obamacare into the health care decisions of American families. He believes that the law must be repealed and replaced with more effective reforms.
Tom shares the same beliefs of the people of the 10th District and will continue to:
• Support legislation which allows small businesses to purchase health insurance across state lines and will encourage competition and reduce premiums.
• Work to ensure that those who like their existing health coverage are able to keep it.
• Support meaningful medical liability reforms to put an end to frivolous lawsuits that are a major driver cost driver for health care spending.
• Work to extend equal tax treatment for the purchase of health insurance by individuals and companies.
Tom understands the importance of protecting the citizens of the United States from acts of terrorists and believes that we must continue to keep our nation safe but still free. Tom wants to see our troops safely return home as soon as possible, but understands that it must be done to ensure safety and stability.
Tom believes that we must continue to keep our country safe by:
• Giving our military and law enforcement agencies the tools that they need to fight and win the War on Terror and protect us here at home.
• Investing in new equipment and weapons which will make our nation safer.
• Giving military families a pay increase to acknowledge their commitment to our freedom and to recognize the difficulties that these families face while loved ones are fighting overseas.
• Securing our border to prevent illegal immigrants and potential terrorists from entering our nation.
Voted for Keystone XL Pipeline without limiting amendments.

Tom comes from a region that has been blessed with an abundance of natural gas. This resource can make us energy independent and assist in protecting our national security. Our country’s dependence on foreign oil has led us to give trillions of American dollars to foreign nations, many of which pose a serious threat to our security.
Back in Washington, Tom will vote for legislation that:
• Allows for the safe development of domestic energy resources like oil and natural gas.
• Encourages development of alternative and renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal and improved hydroelectric facilities.
• Reduces the government’s unnecessary regulation of domestic electric utilities which leads to unnecessarily high costs for energy, low job growth in the manufacturing sector and a stagnant economy.

Scott Brion (D) Challenger

District 11

Lou Barletta (R) Incumbent
Rated -3 by AAI, indicating anti-Arab anti-Palestine voting record. (May 2012)
Even though the United States Supreme Court said the president’s healthcare law is a constitutional law, that doesn’t mean it is a good law. The decision was a victory for big government and a defeat for individual freedom. Since being sworn in, I have voted to protect and strengthen seniors’ benefits by repealing the president’s healthcare law over thirty times.
I am deeply concerned that this overreach of federal authority will dramatically impact the healthcare choices my constituents will be able to make on their own. Seniors will have their healthcare decisions made by a panel of 15 unelected bureaucrats who will determine whether or not a doctor who accepts Medicare gets paid to perform procedures or exams.
I will continue to work with my colleagues on commonsense reforms to replace this unconstitutional law. The problem with our healthcare system is not access, it is affordability. I support measures to lower the price of healthcare coverage, including allowing consumers to shop for healthcare plans across state lines. Competition will drive down the price, giving more consumers access to cheaper, yet effective plans.
Voted for Keystone XL Pipeline without limiting amendments.
Pennsylvania has always led America’s production of energy. From day one, I have been focused on eliminating excessive regulations on energy producers in Pennsylvania. As the second largest electricity producing state in the country, Pennsylvania’s industries and workers should continue to fuel our country’s energy needs.
Unfortunately, President Obama’s war on coal and the federal bureaucracy’s excessive government regulations on the energy industry have caused many energy providers to close their production sites. While President Obama has given subsidies for failed green initiatives such as Solyndra, several coal-fired electricity plants in Pennsylvania have announced retirement or deactivation. Additionally, the Obama Administration rejected the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have imported oil from Canada (our largest foreign trading partner) and created 20,000 jobs.
Instead, much of our energy continues to come from the Middle East, a tremendously unstable region. Our dependence on Middle Eastern oil is a toxic habit that leaves our nation vulnerable to supply disruptions and deprives us of important economic benefits.
Increasing our domestic production will alleviate our reliance on foreign oil, give certainty to the market, decrease prices, and create jobs. I support increasing domestic energy through the advancement of clean-coal technology and the safe exploration of new domestic energy sources such as the Marcellus Shale. In Pennsylvania, the Marcellus Shale rock formation is one of the largest natural gas reserves in the hemisphere. I believe this resource can be safely explored and tapped. By using smart practices and upholding appropriate state regulations, natural gas from the Marcellus Shale can make the United States a leader in energy production.
As the mayor of Hazleton , I introduced the Illegal Immigration Relief Act (IIRA) in 2006. This first-of-its-kind legislation cracked down on businesses who knowingly hired illegal immigrants and landlords who knowingly provided refuge to them. This legislation went on to serve as a blueprint for state and local governments across the country.
After signing this legislation, Hazleton was immediately sued in federal court. At that time, I swore to take this fight all the way to the Supreme Court if I had to and that’s exactly what we did.
On May 26, 2011, the United States Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to create and enforce their own anti-illegal immigration policies. Shortly after that, the high court overturned the lower court rulings that prevented the City of Hazleton from enforcing the IIRA, and ordered them to re-hear the case.
When I was first elected to Congress, I promised to continue this fight in Washington. That’s exactly what I have done and will continue to do.

Andy Ostrowski (D) Challenger
The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. It was passed by Congress, and held constitutional by the Supreme Court. I will continue to study the law, and propose and/or vote for all reasonable and appropriate changes. I think that these things need to be done through Congress, and not through the continued expansion of executive power through executive orders. When integrity of government is restored, and the influences of big money, lawyers, and lobbyist is mitigated, I am confident that we will have the best-functioning health care provision service in the world. via Healthcare Reform.
Border control must be an essential element of any immigration law. Not only does the problem of illegal entry into the country create bureaucratic and record-keeping mess for our government, and cause a drain on jobs and have other massive financial consequences, but it takes opportunity away from the law-abiding citizen of other countries who are seeking to emigrate through lawful process. It is these people, seeking to become American citizens, and contribute to the wealth of this country, and, most importantly, keep the wealth here.

We must find ways to protect our farmers, and find ways where they can secure cheap, seasonal labor in order to keep their prices down. We need a compassionate immigration policy that does not tear families apart, but we also need firm enforcement, to ensure that people come into our borders legally, with the lesson that the rule of law prevails in America. We have a proud history of immigration in this country, and in this district, and need to ensure that there is equal opportunity for all in this great land of ours.

District 12

Keith Rothfus (R) Incumbent
Voted for Keystone XL Pipeline without limiting amendments.
I will fight for an energy policy that ends overregulation and takes advantage of the great resources we have in our district and the entire United States. In addition to using coal, natural gas and nuclear power (which will all contribute to significant job gains in our district) we need to press ahead with drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and Outer Continental Shelf.
I will fight every attempt the EPA makes to impose a cap and tax scheme on our economy.
And I will stop efforts of an over-reaching Federal government wanting to interfere with Pennsylvania’s development of its Marcellus Shale resource. Washington does not always know better, and Pennsylvania is more than able to monitor its own businesses without interference from an agenda-driven EPA.
Our nation must develop an “all of the above” approach to domestic energy production so that we can grow our economy, add jobs, and advance towards North American energy independence. We must safely and responsibly develop the abundant energy sources that are plentiful in Western Pennsylvania, including coal and natural gas. Our approach should also allow for nuclear, solar, wind energy, and hydroelectric.
In order to harness all of these energy sources, we need to reduce the unnecessary government regulation that is results in higher energy prices and lost jobs. We need to begin by streamlining the Environmental Protection Agency’s permitting process and forcing federal agencies to take the full costs of their actions into account when adopting future regulations. We must also take steps to expedite the construction of the Keystone Pipeline, increase safe and responsible exploration and development of energy sources on federal lands, and reform trade rules to make it easier to export natural gas to our allies around the world.
An “all of the above” national energy strategy will improve our economic competitiveness and help create good paying middle class jobs. We can power our manufacturers, small businesses, schools, streetlights, and homes with safe and affordable energy produced right here in Western Pennsylvania.

We should be proud of the excellent care that doctors and nurses provide in Western Pennsylvania and throughout America. However, in order to address the rising cost of health care and the lack of access to health insurance coverage, we need health care reform.
Unfortunately, President Obama’s unaffordable health care law has proven to be nothing more than a string of empty or broken promises. We have seen people lose their health care plans, premiums rise, workers having their hours cut, new job-killing taxes on health care businesses and innovators, and an expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion. On top of its trillion-dollar tax hike, President Obama’s health care law places government bureaucrats between patients and their doctors.
The law is simply unworkable. President Obama has admitted as much by issuing ten delays, dozens of special exemptions, and signing seven pieces of legislation repealing various aspects of the law.
It is important that we repeal the President’s health care law and find common-sense bipartisan solutions that reduce costs and expand access.

Erin McClelland (D) Challenger

When women are paid 70 cents for every dollar a man makes, that’s not just a women’s issue – it’s an economic issue. When restrictions are placed on women’s health care and yet they pay more for coverage, it’s not just a women’s issue – it’s a civil rights issue. And when a woman faces an impossible choice between her job and her child because her workplace doesn’t offer maternity leave, it’s not just a women’s issue – it’s a family values issue. While our sisters, mothers, and daughters are fighting for equality every day in our homes, doctor’s offices, and workplaces, I’ll make sure they have someone fighting for them on the floor of Congress.
I’ve spent my career in the healthcare industry, so I know firsthand the problems we face. An inefficient and outdated system that leads to errors, coupled with a lack of preventative care, drive up costs and make our system too expensive. Our country has the best medical professionals in the world. In Congress, I’ll fight to make sure we also provide the best care to our citizens at affordable rates by continuing to reform and improve our healthcare system.
Every day, our armed forces work tirelessly to keep us safe from those who seek to do us harm. But often the greatest battle they face is the difficult readjustment to life back at home. After World War II, we passed the GI Bill to give our veterans the training they needed to build the American middle class. We need to ensure that today’s veterans receive the training and resources as heroes they deserve – including proper physical and mental health care.
When we built our country’s network of bridges, roads and highways, we constructed the backbone necessary to support for the world’s strongest economy. Now, those same bridges and roadways are filled with potholes and becoming unsafe. Rebuilding our transit infrastructure is necessary to keep our economy running smoothly and safely.

District 13

Allyson Schwartz (D) Lost Primary for Governor in 2014

Brendan Boyle (D) Challenger
In Congress I will join the push to create a “Public Option” for health care. I believe it builds on the health care reform legislation by creating more competition, lowering costs and it provides a great way to bring down the deficit. In fact the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a public option could save as much as twenty five billion dollars over ten years.
I am proud to have a 100% pro-environment voting record (source Sierra Club and Clean Water Action, 2012). For my entire legislative career, I have been a member of the “Green Dog” Caucus, a group of the most environmentally conscious legislators. It is time for Congress to wake up and make protecting the environment a national priority.
Climate change is real. At a press conference in January, I stood beside leading climate change experts to call for a comprehensive plan to finally tackle this crucial challenge that affects us all.
We must begin the process of weaning ourselves as a nation off of foreign oil – not just for the sake of the environment but also for our pocketbooks. Gas prices are hitting working families squarely on the chin. I will continue to fight to promote alternative energy sources that reduce pollution and create American jobs.
I am a strong advocate for the Lily Ledbetter Act. We must enforce and strengthen laws that ensure women receive equal pay for equal work. No worker should ever receive a lower salary because of her gender.
The Republican War on Women, and their attacks on women’s health in particular, are wrong and counterproductive.
The issue of abortion is a deeply divisive one that raises strong feelings. For me, it was alarming to learn that abortion rates in countries where it remains illegal are not only very high, but procedures practiced are very unsafe. I believe in my heart that if the U.S. made abortion illegal it would not reduce the number of abortions, but would increase the number of women who risk their lives and health undergoing underground abortions. I think reversing Roe v. Wade would be a tragic mistake. Making criminals out of women or their doctors would be wrong.
Because of my support for women’s health and equality, I’ve been attacked by pro-life groups who have even leafleted churches in my district in recent elections. I’ve also been attacked in my campaign for Congress for my evolution on this issue. I believe if the pro-choice movement consisted exclusively of only those who never changed their mind on this critical subject, then it would be a much smaller group. In Congress, I will fight efforts to infringe upon the reproductive rights of women, and work to ratchet down the heated rhetoric on this emotional issue.
It is also essential that women have access to contraception, including emergency contraception. Throughout my legislative career I have been a strong proponent of funding family planning services. I have supported Planned Parenthood and will continue to defend its funding. For many poor and uninsured women, Planned Parenthood is the only place they can turn for health services.

Dee Adcock (R) Challenger
Just before becoming President, Senator Barack Obama told us that the government’s 9 trillion dollar debt was “immoral.” Well, after President Barack Obama’s 5 years of stimulus spending and programs that were supposed to “fix the economy” the national debt just passed 17 trillion dollars! Who’s supposed to pay


On Sunday June 22, high over the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing, the Joint Functional Component Command, Integrated Missile Defense, U.S. Northern Command and the U.S. Navy successfully tested the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) crashing a kill vehicle at nearly 15,000 kilometers an hour into a test warhead, while simultaneously performing discrimination tasks flawlessly.

The interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and intercepted a ballistic missile target launched from the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

This means that for the 65th time since 2001, the US missile defense system successfully demonstrated “hit to kill” technology often described as hitting a “bullet with a bullet”.

According to a top missile defense expert in the House,

“The test clearly demonstrated the advancements made with the integrated missile defense system to detect, discriminate, and disintegrate the potential missile threats being development by countries such as North Korea and Iran.”

The professional staffer further noted:

“Watching the robust, multilayer sensor net control the engagement was proof the system is well on the way to achieving full military capability. Finally, the most impressive event was the performance of the second-generation kill vehicle to operate in a very complex environment and home-in flawlessly on the target.”

The success many believe will now bolster our current missile defenses in Alaska and California to counter current and potential nuclear-armed long range rocket arsenals in North Korea and Iran and give further support to the purchase of 14 additional rockets designed to also stop an accidental, deliberate or unauthorized launch (of a limited nature) from China or Russia.

The cost to do so over 5 years would be $1 billion, or about what the US government spends in 2 hours. To date, the Congressional committees have approved these funds which would increase our national missile defense interceptors from 30 to 44, a nearly 50% increase in capability.


“The single greatest threat to man’s continued existence on earth is the virus.” Joshua Lederberg, Nobel Laureate

I always like to start off a talk or an article with a happy thought. And there are few happier notions than the concept that a virus – something a billionth our size – can kill us in the span of a few days.

But if the virus remains a persistent risk, one of the greatest threats to the health security of the United States, and our local communities, is the growing population of illegal immigrants who can carry into our cities and towns an array of viral and other infectious illnesses typically endemic to their home countries and relatively uncommon in our country. And if emerging diseases arrive in the US, how well prepared, or even how proactive are our preparedness agencies, including the CDC?

This article addresses three critical elements to our national health security – policies that increase the risk of disease, the most recent problems facing CDC, and bioweapons preparedness – areas which this administration continue to earn low marks for their collective performance.

Illegal Immigration

Among all the irresponsible acts and failed policies of President Obama to protect the citizenry, the craziest include those related to immigration and border security or lack thereof. Everyone including the village idiot and his slow brother can recognize why the Democrats and Obama want open borders, and tons of poor immigrants from South America to flow into the United States – the Latinization of US demographics has been predicted to nearly guarantee all but total DNC control of Federal and Blue State governments well into the 21st century. Within thirty years if population trends continue, the United States could become a one party nation – leaving the Democrat party in near total control of all government policies, edicts and actions.

Sadly the DNC remains blithely unconcerned about the tremendous burden local communities face in terms of crime, overcrowding of schools, increasing numbers of welfare recipients, and burdening the community infrastructure (schools, hospitals, law enforcement) that, prior to amnesty and other policies designed to attract large groups of mostly unskilled people, would expand in a more predictable, natural way proportionate to people moving in based upon work, income, and affinity. The DNC answer – more taxes to pay for these programs.

Let’s be clear – this isn’t being anti immigrant (my grandparents came through Ellis Island); this is about Obama abandoning rational strategies that allow for controlled immigration of skilled, healthy and employable people, instead fostering the current craziness of uncontrolled floods of folks who are largely unskilled, potentially criminal, possibly sick, and likely requiring public assistance.

Why would the Democrats risk your safety and health under the guise of being generous and caring? Simple! Most Latinos vote Democrat, with few exceptions. Most union members and welfare recipients vote Democrat – the two enterprises where many illegal aliens end up in. Is it any wonder Obama and his government are using the power of the Treasury and Immigration to bring in new voters, while packaging it under the guise of “it’s for the children” or quoting the script associated with the Statue Of Liberty, citing our nation is one of immigrants (one pesky difference – most of our ancestors came in healthy, sponsored, and skilled, not to mention LEGALLY). The DNC accuses those who advocate for tightening immigration as racist, or anti-poor or the GOP is anti-opportunity for the disadvantaged. To all but the most intoxicated on liberal Kool Aide, these arguments are disingenuous. Alas, they are effective. And while we could argue against lax immigration on the basis of politics, economics, or security, for this article let’s look at it from the perspective of health.

Connecting the Dots of the Boiling Arab Street : Ambassador (Ret.) Yoram Ettinger

According to the Saudi Arabian-based newspaper, Arab News, “the Arab Spring is not about seeking democracy, it is about Arabs killing Arabs… about hate and sectarian violence…. The Arab Spring is an accumulation of years of political corruption, human rights violations, sectarianism and poor education systems. It showed that the Arabs were never united and are now divided beyond anybody’s imagination. We hate each other more than we hate the outside enemy. Syrians are hurting Syrians and the Israelis are the ones who treat the Syrian wounds [in an Israeli field hospital built on the Golan Height].”

Connecting the dots of the increasingly boiling Arab Street highlights the 1,400 year reality of intense intra-Arab violent intolerance, hate education, transient (one-bullet) regimes, tenuous policies, non-compliance with intra-Arab agreements which are usually signed on ice and not carved in stone, explosive unpredictability, lack of intra-Arab peaceful coexistence and a savage violation of civil liberties. In 14 centuries, the Arab street has never experienced freedom of religion, speech, press, association or movement, which constitutes a prerequisite for free elections and peaceful coexistence. The Arab world is swept by domestic, regional, national and intra-Arab terrorism, systematically and intentionally targeting civilians and employing car bombs, bullets, missiles and chemical warfare. Ethnic cleansing has engulfed Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia and Libya, underlying the lack of national cohesion on the Arab street and the merciless intra-Arab/Muslim fragmentation along ethnic, tribal, cultural, geographic, ideological and religious lines. The national cohesion of the three most powerful Arab countries throughout the 20th century – Egypt, Iraq and Syria – has collapsed, threatening Iraq and Syria with chaotic disintegration. Studying the fate of minorities in Arab countries, reveals the expected devastating Arab/Muslim attitude towards the “infidel” Christian, Jews or Buddhist.

Connecting the dots of the increasingly boiling Arab Tsunami has intensified anxiety and panic among the inherently unstable pro-US regimes of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Bahrain. These regimes are aware that Egypt’s Mubarak, Libya’s Kaddafi, Tunisia’s Ben Ali and Yemen’s Salah (possibly joined by Syria’s Assad) were perceived to be as stable as the Rock of Gibraltar, but were overthrown summarily and brutally by fanatic Islamic terrorists. They are cognizant of the clear, present and lethal threat posed by Iran and Iran’s adversary, the ISIS (“Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”), which intends to sweep Jordan, Kuwait and the rest of the Gulf. They are concerned about the lava erupting from the endemic civil war in the intractably fragmented Yemen, which controls the route of the oil tankers from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean.

Poor Little Rich Liberals Posted By Daniel Greenfield

No group has been hit harder by the Obama economy than America’s liberals. From Marin County, where bundlers have had to struggle to scrape together a few ten grand bills to attend Obama fundraisers, to Washington D.C., whose bedroom communities now have seven of the ten highest household incomes in the country, poverty is hitting poor rich little liberals hard.

In 2006, Alaska had the highest household income. But voters chose Obama over Palin and these days it’s Maryland because six-figure government consultants on sustainable development and diversity need McMansions to go home to after a long day of team building exercises.

Despite numbers like these, liberals are barely making ends meet. Some like Hillary Clinton are “dead broke”. Forget about a dollar not buying what it used to. Not even a hundred million dollars does. And there’s poor Joe Biden who claimed not to have a savings account or any stocks and bonds. And he doesn’t. He has five savings accounts and eleven investment funds.

But wealth is relative. Despite earning $100 million, Hillary Clinton claims that she isn’t “truly well off”. And if a woman with a colonial mansion for every occasion is, in the words of her adviser, still just “trying to earn a living”, the economy must really be bad.

With income inequality such a hot topic, the Democratic Party’s presidential frontrunners are working hard at pretending to be poor.

If Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden can’t convince Democrats that they’re just one step away from begging for spare change on street corners, Elizabeth Warren is waiting in the wings. After all who better than a Harvard professor who made $429,981 in her last full year of teaching to understand how hard it is to barely get by under income inequality.

Elizabeth Warren has a net worth of around $15 million, making her more working class than Hillary, but less working class than Joe Biden. Like Biden, Elizabeth Warren also isn’t big on investing.

“I realize there are some wealthy individuals – I’m not one of them, but some wealthy individuals who have a lot of stock portfolios,” Warren told an MSNBC host.

Like “Dead Broke” or “Truly Well Off”, “Wealthy Individuals” and “A Lot of Stock Portfolios” are relative terms. Warren only had $8 million in investments. It’s not a lot if you’re a millionaire who, like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, spends a lot of time around billionaires.


The disheartening, though not entirely surprising, breakdown of talks between Israel and the Palestinians marked yet another failure by the two sides to come closer to an agreement that would usher the way for a Palestinian state. Yet, no sooner had the talks collapsed than blame was being assigned by both Secretary of State John Kerry and chief U.S. negotiator Martin Indyk—and naturally it was Israel that bore the brunt of their criticism. Echoing the sentiments of Palestinian leadership itself, Kerry and Indyk pointed to the dreaded settlements as the principal sticking point of the talks, with Indyk suggesting that Israel’s approval of new housing units in the Gilo neighborhood Jerusalem would, as he put it, “drive Israel into an irreversible binational reality.”

Secretary Kerry had the same complaint, insisting that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s refusal to release the final third of Palestinian prisoners, coupled with the provocative new building plans, were the Israeli actions that blew up the nine months of negotiations.

On one development even the State Department was less than enthusiastic: the reconciliation agreement reached by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, announced at the end of April, which State’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, deemed “disappointing” and the timing “troubling.” Even diplomats have to face certain truths, and Ms. Psaki had to begrudgingly admit that, in her words uttered with breathtaking understatement, “It’s hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist.”

Diplomacy involving Israel and the Palestinians invariably reaches this point—the thorny and slippery intersection of the politically possible and the diplomatically desired, with the inevitable result being that it is Israel made to be seen as the guilty party in having talks collapse, regardless of the actual events leading up to such a failure. Without even the barest amount of self awareness of how the inability to hold the Palestinians responsible for any major acts of concessions for strategic negotiation, U.S. diplomacy is continually based on the assumption that it is Israel—and only Israel—that is going to make negotiation move forward, and that it is Israel, and only Israel, that has the will and ability to make changes in policy and any concessions necessary to satisfy the Palestinian’s maximalist demands.

As a result, and as the Palestinians have cleverly figured out, Israel is made to release terrorist prisoners, agreed to land swaps, or to deliver any number of other painful concessions, just to further engage the Palestinians and keep them at the bargaining table.


In the absence of a special prosecutor, the best opportunity for piercing the veil of secrecy and evasion that surrounds the IRS handling of groups perceived as enemies of the Obama administration lies in civil litigation. The National Organization for Marriage has just obtained a $50,000 settlement from the IRS for its criminal release of confidential donor information to an opposition group. But so far Eric Holder’s Justice Department is not pursuing inquiries into who feloniously released that information.

The absence of any official judicial inquiry into the inner workings of the IRS processes is why it is so important to note that yesterday saw the beginning of the discovery phase in the lawsuit by Z-Street a pro-Israel organization that was told its application for tax exempt status was being delayed because:

…these cases are being sent to a special unit in the DC office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.

Z-Street’s lawsuit alleges unlawful viewpoint discrimination, a First Amendment claim. The IRS tried several arguments to dismiss Z-Street’s lawsuit, all of which were dismissed by Washington, DC federal district court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, an Obama appointee. She noted that Z-Street was not suing to gain tax exempt status, but rather over the viewpoint discrimination evidenced by what it was told by IRS agent Diane Gentry about contradicting administration policies – the process by which the IRS made the determination on tax exempt status. In the words of the Jerusalem Post:

The Z Street case may be what forces the IRS to pull aside its carefully constructed curtain and reveal how it made decisions regarding organizations deemed out of step with the current US administration.

Judge Jackson gave the IRS until June 26 to respond to Z-Street. That deadline has now passed, so the case enters discovery. This means that Z-Street can subpoena IRS officials, place them under oath, and ask them questions about how they acted, and cross examine them closely. They can also subpoena documents and require their production. This is much different than a House committee hearing in which members have only a few minutes to ask questions, and when friendly Democrats have their opportunity to apologize for the impertinence of daring to ask questions of our IRS masters. Depositions taken under oath can last many hours and involve detailed questions.


On June 12—now a full two weeks back—three Israeli teenage boys were kidnapped in Judea (part of the West Bank) on their way home from a religious school there. They were Naftali Frenkel, 16 (a dual Israeli-U.S. citizen), Gilad Shaar (16), and Eyal Ifrach (19). Since then Israeli security forces have conducted a massive manhunt in Judea that has included searching caves, wells, and reservoirs. They have turned up nothing.

We do know what organization was behind the abduction—Hamas, as publicly confirmed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Israel’s internal security agency has just recently announced [2] the identity of the main kidnappers, two hard-core Hamas members from the West Bank town of Hebron. But there has been no word from Hamas about a possible prisoner swap involving the three boys, even though, two and a half years ago, Israel swapped 1027 Palestinian security prisoners for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who had also been kidnapped by Hamas and was held in Gaza for five years. That silence increases the concern that the boys have been killed—or smuggled to a different country, which the Israeli authorities consider unlikely but do not rule out.

Meanwhile Israel has been cracking down on Hamas, arresting hundreds of its members, seizing weapons and ammunition, and raiding its media outlets and funding operations. Israel has also been trying to get the international community interested in this unfolding story, but with less success.

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In some ways the circumstances haven’t been propitious. There is the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil. There are also the large-scale atrocities by ISIS in Iraq, compared to which an abduction of three young men might fall under the radar. Especially when, in the U.S., the events in Iraq have sparked a bitter debate over which president was responsible, or more responsible than the other, for the mess there.

Israel has been trying to emphasize the point that, less than two weeks before the abduction, at the start of June, the U.S., the European Union, and the UN all welcomed the announcement of a new Palestinian unity government—formed between Fatah, for better or worse an accepted international player for twenty years, and Hamas, which both the U.S. and the EU officially outlaw as a terrorist organization.

Israel at the time objected vehemently [4] to the legitimization of Hamas and said “unity” would give Hamas, already ruling Gaza, inroads into the West Bank and increase the likelihood of terror activity there. That warning seemed bitterly confirmed when the three young men disappeared on June 12. As for the EU, it took its foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, five days to get around to saying something bad about the kidnapping. As for the U.S., while Secretary of State John Kerry strongly denounced [5] the crime, the Obama administration, like the EU, has shown no inclination to rescind recognition of the new Palestinian government, Hamas and all.

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And as for the UN, on Tuesday the mothers of the three boys—who, of course, deserve all possible sympathy—made an apparently naïve and pathetic move of seeking sympathy and concern [7] at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, a body known for its particularly virulent anti-Israeli bias. A video [8] put together by Anne Bayefsky’s Human Rights Voices [9] shows that the UN has actually reacted to the kidnapping with denial, mockery, and the usual vilification of Israel.

That attempt to get the world concerned about the kidnapping and its implications has appeared to me quixotic from the start. It is true that, in major regards, Israel is now more economically and diplomatically integrated [10] with much of the world than in the past. That has not translated into recognition that Israel’s terrorist enemies are as vicious and reprehensible as other terrorists, or tolerance for Israel’s fight against them.

Along with the crisis over the abduction, these last two weeks have seen an intensification of rocket fire [11] from Gaza against Israeli civilian communities, possibly necessitating another Israeli military operation in Gaza. If so, Israel needs to remain realistically aware of the fact that the world is profoundly addicted to the idea of Palestinian victimhood, even when it entails inversion of the truth.


The ruthless exercise of power by strongmen and generalissimos is the natural state of human affairs.

I’m 41 years old, which doesn’t feel that old to me (most days), but history is short. With the exception of those trapped behind the Iron Curtain, the world as I have known it has been remarkably free and prosperous, and it is getting more free and more prosperous. But it is also a fact that, within my lifetime, there have been dictatorships in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland, India, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Korea, and half of Germany — and lots of other places, too, to be sure, but you sort of expect them in Cameroon and Russia. If I were only a few years older, I could add France to that list. (You know how you can tell that Charles de Gaulle was a pretty good dictator? He’s almost never described as a “dictator.”) There have been three attempted coups d’état in Spain during my life. Take the span of my father’s life and you’ll find dictatorships and coups and generalissimos rampant in practically every country, even the nice ones, like Norway.

That democratic self-governance is a historical anomaly is easy to forget for those of us in the Anglosphere — we haven’t really endured a dictator since Oliver Cromwell. The United States came close, first under Woodrow Wilson and then during the very long presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. Both men were surrounded by advisers who admired various aspects of authoritarian models then fashionable in Europe. Rexford Tugwell, a key figure in Roosevelt’s so-called brain trust, was particularly keen on the Italian fascist model, which he described as “the cleanest, most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I’ve ever seen.” And the means by which that social hygiene was maintained? “It makes me envious,” he said. That envy will always be with us, which is one of the reasons why progressives work so diligently to undermine the separation of powers, aggrandize the machinery of the state, and stifle criticism of the state. We’ll always have our Hendrik Hertzbergs — but who could say the words “Canadian dictatorship” without laughing a little? As Tom Wolfe put it, “The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.”

Why is that? Is there something magical about Albion’s seed — Protestantism? the English language itself? the combination of the two in the King James Bible? — that inoculates the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand against the European intellectual disease? That disease mutates every 20 years, but the primordial strain of the virus is always identifiable: more power, centralized power, consolidated power. If you were observing Earth from space, or from Rome during the reign of Hadrian, you would not be likely to think of England as the planet’s great mover and shaker; it is just a little island sneered at by Europe’s great men as “a nation of shopkeepers.” But culture and history are sensitive to initial conditions, and somewhere between the drafting of the Magna Carta and the invention of the first power loom, a British butterfly flapped its wings in the right way at the right moment, and the deeply intertwined phenomena of the Industrial Revolution and the liberty revolution emerged together, creating an entirely new kind of civilization, one that showed the world that it is indeed a glorious thing to be a nation of shopkeepers. Walk through modern-day London, or drive through Houston, and see how their shopkeepers are keeping themselves — most of them won’t even bother to sneer at the memory of Napoleon and his grubby little wars.

But freedom, self-rule, and prosperity are extraordinarily delicate things. The natural state of the human animal is not security and plenty, but terror and privation. When the Romans overthrew Tarquin, they swore they’d never have another king. Soon enough, they had an emperor, a word deriving from the Latin imperator, which, some of my conservative friends would do well to remember, means “commander-in-chief.”