Tuesday, October 26, 2010

REVISED: Who Is JakeTowne? The Guy That Won the Express Times Debate at the State Theatre Last Night

Jake Towne is running to represent YOU in congress--get to know all three of the candidates before you decide who to vote for!

Posted by: Noel Jones


Well, it's becoming a little more clear why Jake Towne has been excluded from some of the congressional candidate debates that Charlie Dent and John Callahan have had the opportunity to participate in, and why Dent and Callahan have cancelled at least two of the debates where Towne was invited. Some of it is the snobbery of hosts who don't want to give anyone a forum who isn't a "contender" in the ongoing battle between Democrats and Republicans for control of our country. But there's clearly another factor at play: Towne is confident, at ease, informed, and in general, handles debates well. He also makes the other two look bad from time to time, when they would prefer to keep hammering out the same tired old political rhetoric. Audiences like him.

Of course Towne is helped by the fact that audiences dislike politicians who mudsling and hedge on questions, and between Dent and Callahan, the mudslinging and hedging was ON. Towne actually answered each and every question and pointed out each and every time the other two did not.

I will be adding my complete notes on this debate later tonight or tomorrow, but for now I will just say that the applause-o-meter at the beginning of the debate last night was polite for Callahan, loud for Dent, and almost equally loud for Towne. By the end of the debate, Towne won on the applause.

Below are my complete notes on the questions asked by the Express Times panel, which

covered the following topics:
  1. Passenger Rail--Callahan: We need passenger rail. Dent: Says Callahan has "deconverted" rail lines in the LV. Towne: We need to privatize Amtrak.
  2. Earmarks--Dent: Supported moratorium on earmarks. Towne: Need to delineate the line items in each bill to avoid earmarks. Callahan: Says Dent gets earmarks--voted no on $800 bailout package and then yes to $700 mil bailout package with earmarks.
  3. Don't Ask Don't Tell--Towne: Against, and (referring back to bailout comments) says Callahan supported the Wall St. bailouts. Callahan: Against DADT and says he never supported bailouts. Dent: Need to change DADT, but not now--need more study, and says Callahan asked for 14 "pork" items.
  4. Cap and Trade--Callahan: Against, but climate change is real--Bethlehem used incentives instead. Dent: Opposed because it will raise utility bills and the price of gas, and says that Callahan signed an agreement supporting Cap and Trade. Towne: Opposed--it is a Goldman Sachs scheme. Need to focus on hydrofracking for natural gas, put surety bonds in place and support the FRAC Act to remove the Halliburton Loophole for gas drillers.
  5. Health Care Reform Bill--Against. It drives up costs, approves Medicaid for 133% of poverty-level income, and insurance mandates are unfair. Towne: Says Dent is currently supporting a bill which includes a lot of the same stuff--we need to disband the health care cartels. Against health insurance mandates, in favor of removal of state portability restrictions, and we need torte reform.
  6. Ending the War in Afghanistan--Towne: Small military groups to go after terrorists are more effective and less expensive in terms of tax dollars and human life lost. Troops should be on our borders instead. Callahan: Will follow the recommendations of generals and we need to take care of veterans. Says Dent voted to cut VA benefits to widows and orphans of troops. Dent: Veteran benefits have double since he came to office he is the candidate endorsed by VA. Against setting withdrawal timelines.
  7. Mudslinging re: Veterans--Does it do our community any good?--Callahan: Didn't answer the question. Says Dent is part of the problem and comparisons are fair. Dent: Didn't answer the question. Says Callahan has no accountability and makes false claims. Says Callahan is a rubber stamp for Washington. Towne: Points out that neither answered the question, and that the 2-party system has failed voters, that neither party has new ideas and that's why the negative campaigning.
  8. Why We Should Trust Republicans When the Recession Happened on Their Watch? Dent: Didn't answer the question. Says he wants to give a 20% cut on income tax. Closing loopholes will hurt companies like Air Products. Towne: Says the public doesn't trust Republicans because of the lack of results. Says Dent was in office while the deficit went from 7 to 12 trillion dollars. Callahan: Says public lose trust because Republicans like Dent supported bailouts.
  9. Gay-bashing at Veterans' Funerals--Free Speech or Crossing the Line? Towne: We have to protect free speech--too often Washington does not suffer dissent. Callahan: We need to protect free speech but also prevent discrimination. Dent: We must protect free speech, but not harassment of citizens by radicals.
And now, for the fun part--candidates questions for each other:
  1. Towne to Callahan: Will you pledge to donate the portion of your salary above the median income to a local nonprofit hospital and refuse the congressional health care and pension like I have? Callahan: Says Dent has raised the debt, and that he would accept no pay raises like Dent has multiple times.
  2. Dent to Callahan: Name 5 taxes in the Health Care Reform bill. Callahan: I'm not going to play games with you, Charlie. You've been against Health Care Reform from the beginning.
  3. Callahan to Dent: Why did  you vote against benefits for widows and orphans of troops? Dent: I voted with Sam Johnson, the most decorated member of Congress. I supported the G.I. Bill and transfer of G.I. bill benefits to other family members.
  4. Towne to Callahan--The war in Iraq is also the Democrats war. Why do you wish to continue the War on Terror that is bankrupting our nation? Callahan: After Sept. 11th, we need to go everywhere in the globe where Al Qaeda is, and he would vote to do so on the recommendation of the generals.
  5. Dent to Callahan: (Reading from Dept. of Labor statistics) The Dept. of Labor says that Bethlehem has 600 less people working now than before you were elected--why do you keep claiming to have created jobs--why aren't you counting the losses? Callahan: Bethlehem has been ranked #1 in the country for new businesses--we have created the right environment for job growth. Dent needs to take accountability for jobs lost by the recession on the Republicans watch.
  6. Callahan to Towne: Why do you want to abolish the Dept. of Education? Towne: Education is a state issue, not a federal issue. The Dept. of Ed has only existed for the last 30 years. Taxpayers pay $100 billion to the Dept. of Ed and $2 billion to the State of PA--what sense does it make for taxpayers to pay the fed only to have to ask for the money back through all of that administrative waste and bureaucracy? Why not let  just pay the funds directly as needed to the state or local school districts?
  7. Towne to Dent: Where in the Constitution do you have the right to health benefits for life, bailouts, wars, and the wiretapping of the Patriot Act? Dent: Wow, that's a lot of questions there. The Patriot Act is important for fighting terrorism.


Anonymous said...

I was at the debate and yes Towne is at ease, intelligent and answered the questions but all he did was throw darts. It is so easy for someone to throw the darts but not offer anything that he wil do to make our country strong. What I saw was a Republican who is against government involvement in anything and evberything. When he said the Department of Education was a waste that did it for me. Sure it is the state's responsibility but do we want a nation of youth education level base don the state they live in?

Also his total immediate withdrawl from Afgan, Iran, Iraq, etc. is not feasable and it wa sthe R's that placed us there. The D's have a methodic withdrawl plan that Callahan supports byt Dent doesn't/ If it was up to Towne we would be isolationists and we can't do that.

My vote still goes to Callahan. Dent had a better handle on federal policy and legislation but unfortuantely his voting record doesn't prove what he says -- it's campaign rhetoric.

noel jones said...

Good observations, Anon. On the abolition of the Dept. of Education that Towne suggests, though. He finally started getting the idea across. I had heard this talking point before and it sounded wacky initially because he hadn't yet explained it well, but after this last debate, I finally get what he's saying:

1. The Dept. of Ed has only existed for the last 30 years
2. It runs on our federal tax dollars
3. Supplying education is not under the job description for the federal government in the constitution, therefore it is a state issue that should be handled with state taxes only.
4. That what is happening now, is that residents are taxed by the federal government, and then have to apply through their state governments to get some of that money back to help their school districts, causing all kinds of unnecessary administrative waste, both in terms of time and money.

I think his point is that it's a states' issue, and that it would be much less cumbersome to simply pay taxes to the state to fund our schools rather than paying to the feds and then asking for it back.

Jake Towne said...

Now, spending lots of money on (federal) education may seem like a good thing at first, but there have been no tangible results over the past couple decades, if anything the exact opposite. Why is this so? Well, besides the wasteful spending on bureaucracy, a few points:

1. Education is best handled on the local level between parents and teachers. The education of children are very important. Remember that when a Washington bureaucrat’s authority over the spending of funds is required, it is the child who suffers.
2. Federal mandates on education has the effect of stifling local diversity and choking off competition. What we want is a healthy competition of “50 laboratories” from state-to-state and between local areas, not a universal “one-size-fits-all” education. The more self-rule and autonomy by local communities provides local diversity and overall greater satisfaction for individual families.
3. The redistribution and control of federal funds (and certainly also on the state level) to localities makes local areas subservient to bureaucrats, even though, in most cases these are the exact same funds the taxpayer paid in to the federal and state governments. More local autonomy over funds increases both the efficiency and self-ownership over the spending of these funds.
4. It is also far easier for a parent to hold a local school board official accountable if this official is entrusted with all of the necessary responsibilities. Local communities that wanted to spend more on education could do still so, through either local taxation or – if one thinks outside the box for just a moment – fundraisers, fairs, and PTAs.
5. While Perkins Loans and Pell Grants for the purpose of college education seem like the greatest invention since sliced bread, their overall effect is to put bureaucrats in charge of the decisions in who receives which loans. Ever hear a parent complain about the cost of their kid’s college tuition? By flooding the market with credit, these government programs lead to colleges to both charge more and also become less efficient on fund allocation.
6. State control of education can have very adverse effects, no matter by what means this comes about. One only has to study the history of totalitarian regimes to realize this.


carinne said...

Sorry anonymous, but what debate were you at? Jake Towne was the only candidate who did not constantly throw darts and offered solutions.
He said a clear answer on most every topic where the other candidates behaved like children (raging in ages of 3-13). Mostly they just talked about how the other is a liar (liar pants on fire). I mean seriously if these politicians were kids you’d give them a time out.
I encourage you to watch (or re-watch) the debate.
One of Jake's best qualities is he does not seem to fit any one word mold. He is not a Democrat, or Republican. For you to say he was at ease and intelligent tells me you saw good solutions in some of his answers. If he only "threw darts", and said bad ideas how would you arrive at the conclusion he is intelligent?

noel jones said...

Jake--thanks for posting. It's always refreshing to see the people who would like to represent us reach out to engage residents through all possible means.

Jake Towne said...

"Also his total immediate withdrawl from Afgan, Iran, Iraq, etc. is not feasable and it wa sthe R's that placed us there."

Well, technically the Dems were split on Iraq, but without their votes, it would have failed.

The latest round of economic and military Iran sanctions was overwhelming approved by BOTH parties.

The Afghanistan war was approved by both parties.

"The D's have a methodic withdrawl plan that Callahan supports byt Dent doesn't/ If it was up to Towne we would be isolationists and we can't do that."

What withdrawal? The Iraq withdrawal was supposed to start after the 2006 election. Sure there are "just" 50,000 combat troops there now, but under the current President the # of troops in Afghanistan has shot from 28,000 to just about 100,000.

Shuffling troops around is not a "withdrawal".

A foreign policy based on diplomacy, commerce, and friendship is the exact opposite of isolationism.

In fact, our methods of "spreading democracy" by using the barrels of a gun has left our country with fewer and fewer friendly countries to our foreign policy.

Bottom line is America is being destroyed economically by the wars abroad.

Bombs or education? Guns or health care? Hopefully we can agree on at least these two points.


Jared said...

Agree or disagree with Jake Towne's positions, he is a refreshing change from the "two-headed one party system".

He's unafraid to speak the un-spun, un-varnished, un-apolagetic truth about what this nation has come to.

Jake Towne is pledging to not only uphold the Constitution, but protect and defend it.

It means he will vote strictly on that platform on what he's allowed to do and what he's not allowed to do.

The Constitution doesn't permit us to go to war without a declaration.

The Constitution doesn't allow a monetary system to print paper money secretly out of thin air to devalue the currency, like the Federal Reserve System.

The Constitution doesn't permit warrentless searches, domestic spying and wiretapping.

Those three examples I just pointed out are about what has happened to our Constitution. Its with BOTH the Democrats and Republicans. These decisions were not an accident, they were calculated decisions.

So if you want change, you need to read the Constitution and make sure whomever wins this election, they must obey the Constitution.

Help Jake Towne reclaim the Constitution with your vote on November 2nd.

noel jones said...

Thanks for the post, Jared. What I like about Jake Towne is that he seems to be truly independent, rather than a Tea Party candidate. Although what I really wish is that the Tea Party was less conservative and welcomed ANYONE who is fed up with the current two-party system, including liberals. I know that there are people out there who feel that the media has made the Tea Party look bad, and that it's actually more rational than it seems, and more inclusive than it seems, but anybody I have met that has even hinted at alliance with the Tea Party has very conservative. If they have liberals among them, I have not seen them in life or on TV yet. And there are plenty of liberals that are sick of the two-party system as well. It would be nice if all that power of The People could be consolidated and focused on taking this country back.

I honestly don't know who Jake Towne would take more votes from, Charlie Dent or John Callahan. I personally know both Democrats and Republicans who are planning on voting for him. He has an interesting mix of positions that can be attributed to neither the usual conservative or liberal philosophies.

For instance--abolishing the income tax over time, sounds like a conservative/libertarian stance. But pulling out of the wars in the Middle East sounds "liberal." Putting our troops around our borders? More conservative. Letting gay Americans marry each other if they want to? Liberal. Abolish Medicaid? Conservative. Moratorium on hydrofracking until safety standards can be imposed--important to all parties because we all need clean drinking water in our homes that doesn't give us cancer.

Regardless of what anyone thinks of these various stances, he's clearly an independent thinker, and that's refreshing. I would love to see more elections where Independents make a strong showing, and debates have more than two candidates in them.

noel jones said...

Apparently the Express-Times felt that Towne won the debate too--they endorsed him over both Dent and Towne in Thursdays paper--see my latest post...

Anyone who would like to meet him can come to Porter's Pub tomorrow for the Rally to Restore Sanity meet-up from 12-4 (the Q&A with Towne will be from 3-4pm, following the rally)