Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

Agencies of Social Change Often Wear a Clerical Collar

Posted by carldavidson on December 21, 2014

Faith making a difference in Aliquippa

Resurrecting Aliquippa: Faith

Kevin Lorenzi/The Times: Chris Ingram speaks to a church gathering at a "Black Lives Matter" service Dec. 14 at New Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Aliquippa.

By Tom Davidson

Beaver County Times

 tdavidson@timesonline.com |

ALIQUIPPA — Beyond the facts and figures in the sheaf of 150 pages that is the city’s Act 47 recovery plan are the people who live and do business here.

They’ve endured decades of economic downturns and slow decay since the industrial lifeblood of the community — Jones & Laughlin Steel and its successors — left with the collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s.

But the city’s people have leaned on another institution, one that many say is even tougher than steel: their churches and what springs forth within them, namely their faith. Despite the city’s financial woes, it has a strong spiritual foundation, and scores of people of all faiths are working to help the city resurrect itself.

"We see united … clergy like we’ve never seen before" crossing congregational and racial boundaries to unite for the city’s common good, said Rich Liptak, pastor of Wildwood Chapel in Hopewell Township, just across the border from Aliquippa.

"There’s genuine love and care for each other. It’s been great," he said.

More than 300 people attended a September service billed as Aliquippa Celebrates Faith, and for five years, each Saturday morning, a group of clergy has gathered to pray at various places in the city, Liptak said. He remembers times when there would be a shooting or stabbing on a Friday night, and the next morning they’d gather to pray near the scene of the crime.

But in the five years, the Saturday group has prayed in every neighborhood of the city, and it’s made a difference. After a stretch of more than a decade where there was at least one homicide each year in Aliquippa, the city saw a 16-month stretch in 2012 and 2013 without a murder, Liptak said.

"We see answer to prayer," he said.

He himself been a witness to the demise of the mills and the jobs they provided. His father, uncle and grandfather were all steelworkers. "It’s been a slow spiral downward" is how he puts it.

Liptak has listened to people longing for the mills to come back since they were shuttered. But the mills haven’t come back, and for 30 years, the city has been stuck in the state’s Act 47 program for financially distressed communities. The city’s latest recovery plan was approved earlier this year, and city officials are working to exit the program and foster a renaissance in town.

"I think we’re poised for improvement," Liptak said. He serves as president of the Greater Aliquippa Ministerial Association, a vibrant group of pastors who work together to make a difference in Aliquippa.

Making an impact

There are also groups including Aliquippa Impact that work to help youth.

Steve Rossi, executive director of Aliquippa Impact, said its main aim is to "foster tangible hope to youth" in the city.

"It’s not just spiritual in nature; it’s practical," Rossi said.

Aliquippa Impact has an after-school program at Linmar Terrace, a one-on-one mentoring program, a city camp, arts education and several summer programs for youth in the city. They try to teach kids what they can do themselves to ensure they have a bright future, Rossi said.

"A lot of it is common-sense stuff," he said. "We want you (the youth they serve) to own it."

The youth in the city are full of potential, he said, and they try to teach kids that they have the answers to the problems they face.

Many of the people involved with Aliquippa Impact, including Rossi, aren’t Aliquippa natives. They came to serve and not to "fix Aliquippa," he said, but to help the people there "fix themselves."

"It is a long-haul ministry," he said, with the long-term goal being that the kids served now will one day be a part of the ministry’s leadership.

A big part of it is "just showing up" to be there for the kids. "We can go so far through love," Rossi said. "It brings hope to families."

Offering coffee — and hope

Another group that’s active in Aliquippa is Uncommon Grounds, a coffee shop and ministry program based on Franklin Avenue downtown that was founded in 2005 by Church Army evangelist John Stanley, an Australian who has since returned to his native land.

The ministry lives on, thanks to Herb Bailey, whose first impression of Aliquippa differed from the persistent negative perceptions of the city that are common in Beaver County.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Aliquippa, Community, Organizing, Solidarity | Leave a Comment »

PA Top Court: Wal-Mart Must Pay $188 Million in Workers’ Class Action Suit

Posted by carldavidson on December 17, 2014

From Reuters

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered Wal-Mart Stores Inc to pay $188 million to employees who had sued the retailer for failing to compensate them for rest breaks and all hours worked.

Wal-Mart said on Tuesday that it might appeal the decision, which upheld lower court rulings, to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Monday’s ruling on the class-action lawsuit will reduce Wal-Mart’s earnings for the quarter ending on Jan. 31 by 6 cents a share, the company said in a securities filing. That amounts to roughly 4 percent of its profit forecast of $1.46 to $1.56 for the period. Family of Ohio man shot and killed in Walmart sue company, police

Wal-Mart shares were up 0.5 percent at $84.39 in midday New York Stock Exchange trading.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld a 2007 lower court ruling in favor of the workers, who said Wal-Mart failed to pay them for all hours worked and prevented them from taking full meal and rest breaks.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in labor, Low Wage workers | Leave a Comment »

Memo to Tom Wolf and Harrisburg: An Eye-Opening Description of Pennsylvania’s Failed School Funding System

Posted by carldavidson on December 14, 2014

By Valerie Strauss
Washington Post

Dec 11, 2014 – Many school reformers today like to say that “money doesn’t matter” in making schools work and that holding students and teachers more “accountable”   — largely through standardized test scores — is what is needed.

Certainly a great deal of money can be used poorly but that is not the same thing as money doesn’t matter. It is, however, a good mantra for people who want to ignore the severe and consequential funding inequities that persist in the U.S. public education system across the United States.

According to this 2013 report on school funding by the Education Law Center:

    In fiscal year 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, state governments, on average, funded 43.5 percent, or $259.8 billion, of the total amount spent on public education. School districts and other local sources were responsible, on average, for almost 44 percent of all public school spending or $261.6 billion. The federal government, on average, provided almost 13 percent of the total revenue received by public schools, or $75.9 billion.

With most of the money coming from state and local sources, disparities are inevitable, especially because in most places local sources are dependent on property taxes, meaning that poor areas have less money to spend on schools. Federal money given to low-income areas doesn’t close the gap.

So how inequitable can school funding be within a single state? Let’s look at one of the most troubled in this respect, Pennsylvania.

Here’s some testimony from Michael Churchill of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, given to a public hearing of the Basic Education Funding Commission in Pennsylvania about school funding:

    Pennsylvania’s system of funding schools is a failure by every criterion: equity, adequacy, predictability, fairness. Too many students in too many schools are unable to meet state standards of what children should know and be able to do. Too few are going on to college or are prepared for well paying jobs. No one is responsible to calculate how much it will cost districts to provide the necessary instruction and support. The inequity of the system is glaring: the amount of public resources spent on preparing a child to succeed in the adult world varies from $9,000 to $27,000 a year, which is a quarter of a million dollars difference over a school career from K to 12th grade. But it is not only unfair to children, it is unfair to taxpayers where the tax burden can vary from the equivalent of 8 to 36 equalized mills of tax effort for homes with the same value. And in the ultimate insult, the districts bearing the highest tax burdens frequently have less dollars to spend on their students than districts with tax burdens half the amount.

    The reasons for these multiple failures are simple:

    1. Too few state dollars result in too high reliance on local dollars;
    2. The system does not take into account how much it costs to educate children.
    3. State dollars are distributed on a basis which does not reflect the tax effort of the district.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Education, Harrisburg, Youth and students | Leave a Comment »

Progressive Democrats in Congress Oppose Gov’t Funding Deal

Posted by randyshannon on December 11, 2014

Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Statement on Government Funding Deal

keith ellisonWASHINGTON-Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), released the following statement ahead of a House Rules Committee hearing on a deal to partially fund the government through September of next year.

“We support a government funding bill that invests in creating jobs and American families. Unfortunately, the CROmnibus fails to do that.

“Republicans, who learned nothing from the financial crisis of 2008, included a provision that allows Wall Street to engage in some of the same risky practices that crashed the world economy. The short-term funding of the Department of Homeland Security sets up another government shutdown battle in February and is motivated by Republicans who refuse to fix our broken immigration system.  Continuing cuts to education and environmental protections while spending billions on endless wars is the wrong priority for American families.  Sneaking in last minute provisions, like turning our democracy into an auction house by raising campaign contribution limits, is the wrong way to govern.

“Republicans are once again using a potential crisis with the federal budget to hurt working families. The Progressive Caucus stands with the American people and opposes the bill.”

Posted in elections | Leave a Comment »

Gov-elect Wolf Appoints John Hanger Sec’y for Policy and Planning

Posted by randyshannon on December 10, 2014

December 10, 2014

Randy Shannon

Its hard not to get a little hopeful about the incoming administration of Governor Tom Wolf. He has appointed John Hanger, an opponent in the primary that we supported, as the Governor’s Secretary for Policy and Planning.

John Hanger certainly has a lot of connections among progressives in PA. He visited Beaver County as a guest of our Progressive Democrats of America chapter and he walked the picket line downtown with UPMC workers early this year.

What we need to do now is work for a hike in the PA minimum wage, protection of our water, expansion of medical care, and boosting our educational sector. While doing that we must find some good candidates to run in our local legislative districts. Wolf and Hanger will have a hard time getting a lot done with the right wing dominating the PA Republican Party.

tom-wolfGovernor-elect Wolf announces key staff

December 10, 2014 by Wolf Transition Press

York, PA – Governor-elect Tom Wolf today announced key staff that will join him in the Office of the Governor. Wolf announced that John Hanger will serve as secretary of planning and policy, Mary Isenhour will serve as secretary of legislative affairs, and Obra S. Kernodle IV will serve as deputy chief of staff and director, Office of Public Liaison.

“I am proud to announce that John, Mary, and Obra will be joining my staff in the governor’s office,” said Governor-elect Tom Wolf. “As governor, I intend to get things done on behalf of all the people of Pennsylvania. These senior members of my team will be key to this mission because they are seasoned and have deep relationships on both sides of the aisle. I look forward to working with them to move our commonwealth forward.”

John Hanger – Secretary of Planning and Policy

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, John Hanger came to America in 1970 as an immigrant from Ireland. After graduating from Duke University in 1979, where he majored in Public Policy and History, John attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and then became a legal services attorney at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia.

John was appointed as the Public Advocate for customers of Philadelphia’s municipal utilities prior to being nominated by Governor Casey as a commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. John served as commissioner at PUC from 1993 to 1998, where he expanded low-income and energy conservation programs and led efforts to restructure Pennsylvania’s electricity and gas industries.

From 1998 to 2008, John was the president of Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future and then served as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection from 2008 to 2011. Since then, John has been an attorney at Eckert Seamans. John resides in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Mary Isenhour – Secretary of Legislative Affairs

Mary Isenhour began her career as a staffer in the Kansas House of Representatives, where from 1991 to 1995, Mary was chief of staff to the Democratic Leader. It was here where Mary worked across party lines to advance legislation that improved the lives of the citizens of Kansas.

In this role, Mary worked with leadership and committee members to develop and implement committee and floor strategies, and she worked on developing legislative strategy and building coalitions that resulted in legislation in numerous areas. Mary also served as liaison between the Leader and other elected officials, agencies, and political entities.

From 1995 to 1999, Mary served as a national political director for the Washington, D.C. based Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, and from 1999 to 2003, Mary served as executive director of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC). Following her time at HDCC, Mary served as executive director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and as state director for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign.

Mary owns a consulting firm and served as senior strategist to Tom Wolf for Governor. Currently, Mary is co-chair of Governor-elect Wolf’s Inaugural Committee.

Obra S. Kernodle IV – Deputy Chief of Staff and Director, Office of Public Liaison

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Obra S. Kernodle IV is a graduate of Roman Catholic High School. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Education from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in 2002.

Before serving in his current position as senior advisor for Governor-elect Tom Wolf’s transition team, Obra played a key role on the Wolf campaign as both deputy campaign manager and political director.

Before joining the Wolf for Governor campaign, Obra worked in Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s Administration as deputy of legislative affairs, helping to coordinate the city’s Actual Value Initiative. In 2012, Obra was part of President Obama’s reelection effort as the Pennsylvania southeast political director. Obra previously served as the political director for both Mayor Nutter’s 2011 reelection bid and District Attorney Seth Williams’ race in 2009.

http://www.wolftransitionpa.com/

Posted in elections | 1 Comment »

Bernie Sanders Lays Out Economic Agenda

Posted by carldavidson on December 8, 2014

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders delivered a fiery speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, laying out his new 12-point plan for rebuilding the middle class. Steve Kornacki speaks to Sanders about his efforts to make his party more progressive as he considers a bid for president.

Posted in 2016 Election, Banks, Congressional Progressive Caucus, Organizing, Wall Street | Leave a Comment »

Young People Take to the Street in Solidarity with Ferguson, Garner and vs. other Killings

Posted by carldavidson on December 5, 2014

Pittsburgh police give Downtown protesters their space

By Liz Navratil

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Dec 4, 2014 – Julia Johnson let out a piercing scream on the steps of the City-County Building on Thursday afternoon.

“Stop killing us!” she yelled next. Then, she screamed loudly once more.

Below her, on the steps leading to the Downtown building, dozens of people lay on the ground, their limbs splayed outward as if they were dead. Later, some would be outlined in chalk, and Ms. Johnson would scatter flower petals over their bodies.

On the outskirts of the protest — which at times swelled to include about 100 people — were Pittsburgh police officers on bicycles and on foot, some in plainclothes. Most of them stood silently or chatted with one another while the crowd — over about two hours — chanted slogans such as “no justice, no peace” and “no racist police.”

Their message was being echoed at similar demonstrations across the country — they decried a New York City grand jury’s decision not to indict an officer who killed Eric Garner in a chokehold this year and lamented a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to charge an officer who killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

20141204MWHprotestLocal17-1 Protesters rally against police brutality and racism by marching with their hands up along Liberty Avenue, Downtown.

Protesters rally against police brutality and racism by marching with their hands up along Liberty Avenue, Downtown. Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette

But this demonstration, unlike some in other cities, ended peacefully and without arrests.

Pittsburgh police Cmdr. Eric Holmes stood on the fringes of the protest as groups blocked traffic at four intersections and as one of his officers coordinated with demonstrators to clear the path for a woman driving her child to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

The issues discussed, he said, were important to many officers on the force. “I obviously recognize that I’m an African-American male, so I’m going to come to the discussion on both sides.”

Cmdr. Holmes said he took a “passive approach” to working with the demonstrators. “I allowed them to block the street, and I made that call, so that decision rests with me. We wanted to make sure that individuals are allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights and we do recognize that with that comes a cost, and today that cost was [the] disruption of traffic.”

Elizabeth Pittinger, executive director of the Citizen Police Review Board, watched as the group gathered outside the City-County Building. She praised the police and the protesters for the way they acted. The 2009 G-20 Summit aside, she said, Pittsburgh residents and police have a long history of peacefully interacting with each other at protests.

Still, tensions at times were high. Iyanna Bridges, who is black, yelled in the street at a white man who she said described their protest and stories as “funny.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Pittsburgh, Racism, Solidarity, Youth and students | Leave a Comment »

Trade Unions’ Address Climate Change

Posted by randyshannon on December 4, 2014

This Statement was submitted to the 20th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP20), currently meeting in Lima, Peru, by theInternational Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

 

83938_990x742-cb1411319345WORKERS AND CLIMATE CHANGE

2015: A just, ambitious and legally binding agreement

The international community shares today more scientific evidence than it needs to inform decision-making on climate change. The impacts on people’s lives, livelihoods and prosperity if we fail to act now will be calamitous. Yet the opportunities for social progress and decent work behind an ambitious climate protection agenda are such that it would be irrational to let go this unique time in history where we can still solve the problem.

The international labor movement has supported the UNFCCC convinced that it is the place for delivering a fair, ambitious and binding global Agreement on climate change. But time is running out. Solutions must be found at all levels: from community based diversification to sectoral transformations, from macroeconomic planning at the national level to an international deal that sets a global goal for inspiring massive action.

css_home_badge_itucThe global crisis of climate change comes in parallel with another global crisis, the crisis of inequality. Never in history has humanity has created so much wealth and concentrated it in such a small number of hands – according to recent data the 66 wealthiest people in the Planet have the same amount of wealth than the poorest 3.5 billion!

Tackling these two challenges together requires bold measures, and most important, ensuring efforts towards the improvement of one goal are coherent with addressing the other. Climate measures must contribute to protecting the weakest in society; equality measures must put the need for moving towards a sustainable future at its heart.

Trade unions are convinced that only a massive demand from citizens will be able to correct the current unambitious path in which leaders have set their comfort zones. That said, it is our duty as workers’ representatives to expect leadership and vision from the very people we elect.

A renewed climate change agreement is needed for 2015. It must ensure the stabilization of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere, at a level which will avoid the worst effects of human-driven interferences in the climate system.

It must ensure a high likelihood that it will keep the rise in global temperatures to below 2 degrees, or 1.5° if possible, above pre-industrial levels.

The Paris 2015 agreement must include contributions in the form of targets, commitments and actions within a framework that provides sufficient support to countries with low capacity and ensures sustained and predictable funding for those particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It should also develop strong rules including on accounting and compliance.

The Lima negotiations, which will lead to the Paris COP21 are not about negotiating a full new climate regime, but about building on UNFCCC principles, in a way that the outcome responds to the climate challenge looking at present and future planetary realities. They are also about filling the gaps of the Convention when it comes to the linkages between climate action and the world of work.

arton15226A renovated framework for climate action will have to be informed by science, based on equity, be environmentally effective and ensure broad participation of all countries, while respecting their different responsibilities and capacities. It will have to provide clarity on emission reduction and the 2° degrees global temperature objectives, adaptation, support (financial, technological and human), strengthen its commitment to just transition and develop strong mechanisms for verification, compliance and review.

Trade unions consider fundamental that

  • Just transition: The new UN agreement honors the commitment made by Parties in COP17 on the importance of ensuring a “Just Transition which will create decent work, good quality jobs in the transition towards a low emission and climate-resilient society.” We welcomed the support for Just Transitionprinciples in the Global Commission on the Economy & Climate as well as ongoing work on the ILO. A strong message to the working people in the UNFCCC is key to show government’s commitment to fight climate change in a socially sound manner.

We suggest the following wording: Parties commit to accompany their climate policies and actions with the promotion of decent work opportunities arising from a low-emission society as well as with a strategy aimed at ensuring a just transition for workers, contributing to protecting them in times of hardship, strengthening social dialogue, securing their rights, growing new sectors and promoting prosperity and sustainable development.

  • Parties should support the introduction of this commitment in the section of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) draft negotiating text that confirms the commitment to 2°C. In doing so it gives a signal to all Parties on how to implement their climate policies in a worker-friendly way.
  • In preparing their “contributions” for the post-2020 period, governments are encouraged to introduce data on employment impacts of climate measures (both, positive in terms of job creation, as well as the identification of sectors which will need support in the transition).
  • Social Protection policies are brought to the center of climate action. Income security, unemployment benefits, child care and maternity protection, health care and pensions, including for people with disabilities, and respect for human rights, including internationally recognized labor rights, are critical for ensuring the sustainability of climate policies. This must be reflected in the new agreement.

The labor movement positions itself clearly among the actors calling for climate ambition:

  • Trade unions support a global regime which ensures a high likelihood that it will keep the rise in global temperatures to below 2 degrees, or 1.5° if possible, above pre-industrial levels.
  • Following the Convention’s commitment from all Parties to reduce emissions, trade unions believe that all countries should take mitigation commitments and actions, within a multilaterally agreed, ambitious and equitable framework. Since 2007, the ITUC supports a reduction in global emissions by 2050 consistent with the likelihood of keeping average global temperature increase below 2°C or less. Therefore, developed countries should increase the ambition of their economy-wide targets, and go well beyond the 25-40% reduction compared to 1990 levels which was necessary by 2020. We also call on them to take the lead in taking commitments for 2025 and 2030, in such a way of aligning them to the Fifth IPCC report. major emitters in developing countries and countries that have surpassed a certain development threshold should take mitigation commitments and actions at a level compatible with an emissions’ pathway likely to achieve the 2°C objective.
  • A sound emission reductions’ regime must be designed in parallel with a responsible strategy for transforming and developing clean industries, empowering workers to access jobs created in them and supporting them and their families in the transition (see under just transition above). In this regard, emission reduction commitments could be complemented by commitments to public policies, which will give broader public visibility and positive flavor to climate action, and could include commitments to energy efficiency or renewable energies targets, to incorporate full climate cost accounting to public procurement, investment in sustainable water and land management, sustainable urban planning, among others.
  • Even though the entry into force of the future agreement will only take place in 2020, parties must urgently increase the ambition of their mitigation policies and plans in all possible sectors and at all relevant levels: local, national, regional, international and global.
  • Trade unions ask for a global regime which supports a properly financed global adaptation goal, aimed at ensuring citizens are resilient to climate impacts through coordinated action on sustainable infrastructure, social protection and disaster risk reduction policies.
  • Developed countries, according to the commitments they made, to mobilize the scale of funding required to face the impacts of climate change and help developing countries shift to low-emission development paths.
  • Knowledge-transfer must be a key part of technology sharing initiatives. All Parties should strengthen their efforts to increase the global exchange of clean and sustainable technologies and thereby support the development of alternatives to conventional ones.
  • Democratic ownership of energy is needed if we are to achieve ambitious climate action. energy, along with other common goods that belong to humanity (air, water) must be brought, administered and kept under public control. Energy companies need to be restructured in order to allow for broad democratic control and oversight, including a strong scheme of workers’ participation. reclaimed by the public, utilities and municipal bodies can be required to drive decentralized systems of power generation. Renewable energy cooperatives established to meet community energy needs also have an important role to play. energy transition plans at the national and subnational levels need to be developed in ways that serve the public good, meet science-based emissions reduction targets, end energy poverty and facilitate cross-border cooperation in research and development. These plans should attempt to shift decision-making to the local level while at the same time ensuring that the energy transformation is equitable and sustainable according to the principles of just transition and participatory democracy.
  • The transition towards a sustainable, decarbonized society must provide a means to pivot decisively away from ecologically and socially destructive methods of fossil fuel extraction (as in the case of ‘fracking’ for shale gas, tar oil exploitation, among others) towards renewable energy under public and democratic control. The energy transition must include an end to fossil fuel subsidies. It requires prioritizing the global common good against greed of large fossil fuel companies that continue to promote the uninterrupted use of ever greater quantities of coal, oil and gas.

Posted in elections | Leave a Comment »

Big Banks Broke America: Why Now’s the Time to Break Our National Addiction

Posted by carldavidson on December 2, 2014

Why are these guys smiling? Since looting all of us for a generous bailout, you’d have thought they’d all lie low. Here’s what they did instead

Big banks broke America: Why now's the time to break our national addiction

Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein (Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite/Reuters/Natalie Behring/Photo montage by Salon)

By Robert Hennelly

Progressive America Rising via Salon.com

They just can’t help themselves. Like the drunk that ruins family holiday gatherings year after year, the big banks, once they are caught in yet another episode of their serial criminality, feign contrition, pay billions in fines, and swear to go forth and sin no more.

But these repeat offenders know the law does not apply to them. These 21st century pirates of the Caribbean were actually rewarded for sacking and pillaging America. They never have had a greater share of the pie and they have no allegiance other than global wealth accumulation beyond the reach of any social contract.

The one relationship to which they remain faithful is the fee for service one they have with the members of Congress they showered more than $65 million in campaign donations on since 2012.

You would have thought after they peddled hundreds of billions of dollars in worthless toxic mortgage-backed securities to the nation’s pension funds, setting into motion the largest destruction of American household wealth  since the Great Depression, the big banks would have taken their bailout and tried to stay out of the headlines.

But in the years since they took the U.S. economy for a near death spiral spin they have been caught instigating one scam after another. No sooner had the big banks settled with the federal government for perpetrating their massive mortgage fraud and they were back pushing the envelope. Law enforcement and regulatory agencies all scrambled to keep up with these banking behemoths that navigate the line between innovation and criminality with the help of former regulators and prosecutors in their employ.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Austerity, Banks, Wall Street | Leave a Comment »

Progressive Caucus to the GOP: Potential Extension Of Tax Cuts Leaves Out Middle Class, Hurts Climate

Posted by carldavidson on November 29, 2014

By Congressional Progressive Caucus

  WASHINGTON, DC – Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), released the following statement in response to a reported agreement in Congress on extending certain tax breaks.

The provisions that are included in the deal, such as permanent extension of tax breaks for corporate research and continued fossil fuel subsidies, will add nearly $450 billion to our budget deficit while providing little relief to the middle class and phasing out renewable energy credits.

“The tax extension package will once again be a boon for corporate profits while largely leaving out middle-class and low-income families who are struggling just to get by. If we can find hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to make corporate tax breaks permanent, we should be able to help those struggling to find work. We should be making permanent those tax breaks that help working families without adding restrictions that exclude children in need.  This deal is a permanent step backwards for those who think we have a system that is rigged in favor of the wealthy.”

Posted in Congressional Progressive Caucus, Tax Policy | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,176 other followers

%d bloggers like this: