Archive for the ‘elections’ Category
Posted by randyshannon on April 17, 2013
Posted by randyshannon on April 17, 2013
Maduro’s Narrow Victory
A Wake-Up Call for Venezuela?
After a short but bitterly fought, insult-laden campaign, Chavista standard-bearer Nicolás Maduro defeated challenger Henrique Capriles, thus assuring continuity in Venezuela after the death of President Hugo Chávez last month. But the election was much closer than the polls predicted: a margin of just 1.6 percentage points, or about 275,000 votes.
Capriles is demanding an audit of 100 percent of all votes; Maduro has apparently agreed. But the audit is unlikely to change the outcome. Unlike in the United States, where in a close election we really don’t know who won, the Venezuelan system is very secure. Since there are two records of every vote (machine and paper ballot), it is nearly impossible to rig the machines and stuff the ballot boxes to match. Jimmy Carter called Venezuela’s electoral system “the best in the world.”
Posted by randyshannon on April 12, 2013
House Dem leaders balk at Obama’s plan to cut Social Security
By Mike Lillis – 04/11/13 05:55 PM ET
House Democratic leaders pushed back Thursday against President Obama’s decision to include Social Security cuts as part of his 2014 budget request.
Several top-ranking Democrats — including Reps. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Steny Hoyer (Md.), James Clyburn (S.C.) and Xavier Becerra (Calif.) — questioned the wisdom of altering popular seniors benefits in the context of deficit reduction.
“I think there was general consensus that all of that discussion should be something for the table on which we preserve Social Security and not really part of this budget,” Pelosi said following a meeting Democrats held with budget experts on the White House plan to reduce future Social Security benefits by adopting a new way of calculating inflation.
Obama’s budget proposal has infuriated liberals for including the chained CPI proposal, which would change the formula used to calculate Social Security benefits and lower payments over the long term.
Most of pushback from rank-and-file members, she said, stemmed from concerns that the Social Security cut appeared to be “subsidizing … lesser priorities” rather than bolstering the program itself. That could have negative consequences on future efforts to strengthen the program, Pelosi lamented.
“What may happen, because of this debate, is that lines may be so drawn on this subject as part of the budget, that it might prejudice people as an approach,” she added. “It’s too bad it’s in the budget.”
Posted by randyshannon on April 11, 2013
P R E S S R E L E A S E
For Immediate Release
Over Longstanding Concerns About Poor Patient Care Conditions
Posted by randyshannon on April 11, 2013
Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on FY 2014 Budget Proposal
A president’s budget is more than just numbers. It is a profoundly moral document. We believe cutting Social Security benefits and shifting costs to Medicare beneficiaries – while exempting corporate America from shared sacrifice – is wrong and indefensible.
The administration’s budget cuts cost-of-living increases for current and future Social Security beneficiaries by $130 billion over 10 years, and much more in future years. It shifts $64 billion in health care costs to Medicare beneficiaries over 10 years. Yet despite closing some loopholes, it calls for corporate income tax reform that is “revenue neutral” – meaning it fails to ask big, profitable corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.
The Obama budget also continues to demand more sacrifice from federal employees than from Wall Street. Federal employees did not cause the Great Recession. They did not cause the deficits that resulted from the Great Recession. Yet their pay and their retirement keeps getting cut. Why?
Putting aside the injustice of demanding sacrifice from the innocent while letting the guilty off scot free, the Obama budget falls short of putting our economy on a path towards higher wages and full employment. As we have said many times, the greatest economic challenge facing America is the jobs crisis, not the deficit. Yet the administration cuts the part of the budget that pays for investments in worker training and jobs, which has already been cut to its lowest level since the Eisenhower administration, by another $100 billion. This austerity budget is bad economic policy at a moment when the economy remains weak and we urgently need more job-creating investments.
Posted by randyshannon on April 10, 2013
April 10, 2013
My brother David has always had the special spark in our family.
Like our two older brothers, David served in the military. When he got out, he started a small business — and when that one didn’t work out, he started another one. He couldn’t imagine an America where he wasn’t living by his wits every single day.
Year after year, my brother paid into Social Security. He never questioned it. He figured he was paying so that he — and a lot of other people — could have a secure retirement.
Today my brother lives on his Social Security. That’s about $1,100 a month. $13,200 a year.
I’m telling you my brother’s story not because it’s unusual, but because it’s like the story of so many other people. I can almost guarantee that you know someone — a family member, friend, or neighbor — who counts on Social Security checks to get by.
That’s why I was shocked to hear that the President’s newest budget proposal would cut $100 billion in Social Security benefits. Our Social Security system is critical to protecting middle class families, and we cannot allow it to be dismantled inch by inch.
The President’s policy proposal, known as “chained CPI,” would re-calculate the cost of living for Social Security beneficiaries. That new number won’t keep up with inflation on things like food and health care — the basics that we need to live.
In short, “chained CPI” is just a fancy way to say “cut benefits for seniors, the permanently disabled, and orphans.”
Two-thirds of seniors rely on Social Security for most of their income; one-third rely on it for at least 90% of their income. These people aren’t stashing their Social Security checks in the Cayman Islands and buying vacation homes in Aruba – they are hanging on by their fingernails to their place in the middle class.
My brothers and I grew up in an America that invested in its kids and built a strong middle class. An America that allowed millions of children to rise from poverty and establish secure lives. An America that created Social Security and Medicare so that seniors could live with dignity.
We can’t chip away at America’s middle class and break the promise we make to our seniors.
Thank you for being a part of this,
(Sen. Elizabeth Warren)
Posted by randyshannon on April 9, 2013
Rothfus reflects on first three months
John Jeffers, president of the United Steelworkers Local 8183, seated at right, listens to U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, far right, respond to Jeffers concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement and its possible negative effect on U.S. jobs at a “Coffee with Keith” event at the Maple Restaurant on Maplewood Avenue in Ambridge on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Seated with Jeffers are John Wakeley, 8183 unit chair for Horsehead Corp., front left, and 8183 vice-president Tim Yeater. Jeffers was also concerned about retraining opportunities for workers as more mill jobs are being replaced by machinary.
Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013 11:30 pm
BEAVER — Some might consider U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus’ recent round of coffee klatches with constituents to be more political theater than substantive work, but don’t tell that to Rothfus.
“This is the front line for me,” Rothfus, R-12, Sewickley, said Wednesday in his Beaver office after a day of public events. Rothfus said it’s vital for lawmakers to provide district services and get out among the voters for face-to-face meetings.
“If we’re not delivering basic constituent services, we have a problem,” Rothfus said. “You’ve got to be engaged with your constituents.”
Besides getting a baptism into the hectic traveling schedule of a congressman, Rothfus’ first 100 days in office have been a trial by fire, including budget and sequestration talks, controversial votes on Hurricane Sandy relief and the ongoing debate over Social Security reform.
Rothfus acknowledged that he did not expect Congress to be working with President Barack Obama. “That has its own set of challenges,” he said.
With the House in Republican hands while Democrats control the Senate, Rothfus said legislators should respect the will of Americans who have installed a divided government.
Follow the Money: Don’t Expect Much from Christiana by Way of Supporting Teachers and Public Schools
Posted by carldavidson on April 8, 2013
Representin’ Like A Representative: A Look At Jim Christiana’s Campaign Cash
Jim Christiana with his wife in New York City in front of a car fire, as posted to his official Twitter feed.
By John Paul – Founder of BeaverCountian.com
Published on April 07, 2013 at 7:03 pm
State Representative Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) received more political contributions last year than all of the other five state reps for Beaver County combined, money the candidate used to help finance a lavish lifestyle, an investigation by the Beaver Countian has revealed.
Campaign finance reports from 2012 show Christiana received nearly $310,000 in political donations. Democratic Representative Rob Maztie came in a distant second, bringing in just shy of $84,000. Representative Jim Marshall, the county’s other Republican representative, received only $52,675 in contributions.
In just one month, between March 6th and April 9th of last year, Christiana’s campaign saw donations to his campaign in excess of $88,000. He brought in half of that sum again between April 10th and May 14th, another $48,000. The months between May and October saw an additional $164,400 added to his coffers. Despite extensive spending by the candidate, Christiana’s campaign account had over a quarter of a million dollars sitting in it at one point during the last election cycle.
By comparison, Christiana’s rival in the last election, Democrat Bobby Williams, raised just over $20,000 during his entire campaign.
While Representative Christiana failed to respond to inquiries from the Beaver Countian made at the end of March, Beaver County Commissioners say they were stunned to learn just how much money has been flowing through his hands.
Posted by randyshannon on April 5, 2013
Progressive Caucus Co-Chair
Statement to President Obama:
Social Security Benefit Cuts Hurt Our Economy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2013
Adam Sarvana (Grijalva) –
Jeremy Slevin (Ellison) –
Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs
Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the
following statement today responding to reports that President Obama will
include chained CPI in his annual budget.
“Republicans have been trying to dismantle Social Security ever since
President Roosevelt proposed it during the Great Depression. We should
not try to bargain for their good will with policies that hurt our
seniors, especially since they’ve been unwilling to reduce tax loopholes
for millionaires and wealthy corporations by so much as a dime.
“One hundred seven Members of the House of Representatives, a majority of
the Democratic Caucus, have already stated our vigorous opposition to
cutting Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits. Americans all
over the country depend on every single dollar they get from Social
Security to put food on the table and pay for housing. Using chained CPI
will shift more costs onto already struggling American families, seniors,
veterans – including our 3.2 million disabled veterans who also depend on
the Social Security calculation for their Veterans Affairs benefits –
individuals with disabilities, and children on survivors’ benefits.“This
week, a new study from the New America Foundation finds that proposals to
cut Social Security benefits could be disastrous for our economy because
the recession has led more seniors to rely to Social Security for income.
Cutting benefits now, when people are already struggling to make ends
meet, will mean unnecessary hardship for millions of people. It is
unpopular, unwise and unworkable.”
Posted by randyshannon on April 5, 2013
16 arrested in Charleston, WV
Charleston,West Virginia. April 1, 2013. They boarded buses and cars before dawn, some the night before, coming from the coalfields of Illinois,Pennsylvania,Kentucky,Virginia,Ohio,Indiana, and all acrossWest Virginia. By10:00 AM over 7,000 had packed into the giant Charleston Civic Center to voice their support for the 23,000 miners and their families who face the loss of their lifetime health benefits in a bankruptcy scam.
In a series of mergers and deals, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal transferred their contractual health benefit obligations to Patriot Coal. InSt. Louis,Missouri, in March, 2013, Patriot Coal filed in bankruptcy court seeking to terminate the United Mine Workers (UMWA) contract and set up instead a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) for the retirees and families.
Patriot seeks to put only a pittance into the VEBA, vastly underfunding it. UMWA President Cecil E. Roberts has said this plan would “put thousands of retired coal miners, their dependents or their widows on the path to financial ruin, worsening health conditions or even death.”
The UMWA pioneered in healthcare benefits and pensions when they battled coal operators and the American Medical Association to establish the UMWA Health & Welfare Fund. John L. Lewis and the union defied accusations of socialized medicine to set up miners’ clinics and built the miners’ hospitals that serve today as the backbone of health care in Appalachia. The UMWA won early retirement with family coverage for miners who retired before they were 65. These achievements of the miners’ struggles are under attack by Patriot, Peabody, and Arch. Most unions, following the lead of the UMWA, have negotiated early retirement with employers picking up the cost of health care until Medicare kicks in. The attack on UMWA retirees is a snapshot of what employers have in store for union negotiated early retirement plans.