April 4 at the Courthouse: Worker’s Rights Vigil

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PA Gov. Corbett Puts Wall St. Profits ahead of State Budget

PA Protest

Tax on gas drillers boils in Harrisburg

Governor resolute in his opposition

Monday, March 28, 2011
By Joseph Tanfani and Angela Couloumbis, Philadelphia Inquirer

As new taxes go, a levy on natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania would seem like a pretty easy political sell.

Two-thirds of the state’s voters support the idea, several polls show.

Politicians are desperate for money to plug a $4 billion budget gap and prevent deep cuts in the state college system and other programs.

Every other major natural-gas producing state has some sort of tax, and some of the biggest drillers have said they won’t oppose one here, so long as it’s reasonable.

“The Marcellus industry has been clear and outspoken on this for a year or so,” said Ray Walker, vice president of Texas-based Range Resources and chairman of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group. “We are willing to discuss a severance tax.”

Continue reading PA Gov. Corbett Puts Wall St. Profits ahead of State Budget

‘Third Way’ Dems and the Road to Perdition

Why Any Deal to Cut Social Security,

Medicare or Medicaid Would be

a Moral, Economic and Political Disaster

By Robert Creamer
Huffington Post, March 28, 2011

Friday, the Democratic group Third Way published a memo arguing that Democrats should support "entitlement reform" — by which they mean cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I don’t doubt the sincerity or intentions of their proposal, but I believe that if Democrats took their advice it would result in a moral, economic and political disaster.

Here’s why:

The immorality of "entitlement reform." The very idea that seniors on Social Security — whose average income is $18,000 a year — should be asked to tighten their belts while the Federal Government still gives huge tax breaks to millionaires and subsidies to oil companies is just plain wrong.

The principle voices for "entitlement reform" are the multi-millionaires from Wall Street who argue that we need to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits as part of a bargain to reduce the long-term federal deficit and give the "markets" confidence. Never mind that Social Security in particular does not contribute anything to the deficit and has in fact generated a $2.6 trillion surplus that was paid for by workers and employers through Social Security taxes. Never mind that the Wall Street gang clamoring for "entitlement reform" demanded extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, subsidies for the oil companies, tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas and an end to the estate tax that only affects the sons and daughters of multi-millionaires.

Continue reading ‘Third Way’ Dems and the Road to Perdition

Nuclear Russian Roulette in USA

Hydrogen explosion at Japan nuclear plant

March 18, 2011

“Why Are We Playing Russian Roulette With the American People?”: Longtime Nuclear Critic Ralph Nader Advocates Phasing Out Nuclear Power Industry

http://www.democracynow.org/tags/japan_disaster

Former presidential candidate and longtime consumer advocate and nuclear critic Ralph Nader strongly advocates phasing out nuclear power in the United States by calling for public hearings on the status of every single nuclear power plant. “What we’re seeing here is 110 or so operating nuclear plants in the United States, many of them aging, many of them infected with corrosion, faulty pipes, leaky pumps and combustible materials… Why are we playing Russian roulette with the American people for nuclear plants whose principal objective is simply to boil water and produce steam? … This is institutional insanity, and I urge the people in this country to wake up before they experience what is now going on in northern Japan.” [includes rush transcript]

JUAN GONZALEZ: We’re discussing the continuing nuclear crisis in Japan, and we’re joined by Philip White from the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center in Tokyo, Dr. Ira Helfand from Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Ralph Nader joins us from Washington, longtime consumer advocate, corporate critic and former presidential candidate. His latest book is Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Ralph.

RALPH NADER: Thank you, Juan.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Your assessment not only what’s happening in Japan, but what the impact will be here in the United States, and especially with the Obama administration and Congress trying to move forward with a renaissance of development of nuclear plants here in the United States?

RALPH NADER: The Japanese disaster has ended whatever nuclear renaissance is being considered here in the United States. The problem is that people have got to get more involved, because the government and the industry will defend nuclear power in the United States to the last mutation. They are representing a closed, monetized mind that does not have options for revision, which true science should provide for. Secretary Chu, Energy Secretary, has refused for two years to meet with the leading critics of nuclear power, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, Friends of the Earth and other groups. He has met with nuclear business interests regularly, and he has written articles touting nuclear power.

What we’re seeing here is 110 or so operating nuclear plants in the United States, many of them aging, many of them infected with corrosion, faulty pipes, leaky pumps and combustible materials. These have been documented by data from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission assembled by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Indian Point, for example, is a plant that presents undue risks, in the opinion of the Union of Concerned Scientists, to millions of people in the New York City greater area. And it is unevacuable if there’s an accident. You’re never going to evacuate a population of millions of people, whether it’s around San Onofre or Diablo Canyon in Southern California or Indian Point or Davis-Besse near Toledo and Detroit or any of the other endangered nuclear plants.

Why are we playing Russian roulette with the American people for nuclear plants whose principal objective is simply to boil water and produce steam? This is technological insanity. It presents national security problems, for every nuclear plant is a prime target. It affects our civil liberties. It endangers our workers. It is an industry that cannot be financed by Wall Street because it’s too risky. Wall Street demands 100 percent taxpayer guarantees for any nuclear plant.

So I suggest that people listening and watching this program to pick up the phone and dial the White House comment number, which is (202) 456-1111, (202) 456-1111, and demand the following: that there be public hearings in every area where there’s a nuclear plant, so the people can see for themselves what the hazards are, what the risks are, how farcical the evacuation plans are, how costly nuclear power is, and how it can be replaced by energy efficiency, by solar energy, different kinds of solar energy, by cogeneration, as Amory Lovins and many others, Peter Bradford, have pointed out.

We must no longer license any new nuclear plants. We should shut down the ones like Indian Point. How many people know that Hillary Clinton, as senator, and Andrew Cuomo, as attorney general, demanded that Indian Point be shut down? That doesn’t matter to the monetized minds in Washington, D.C. We also should prepare a plan where, apart from the aging plants, which should be shut down, and apart from the earthquake-risk plants—should be shut down—for the phase-out of the entire industry. We’re going to be left with radioactive waste for hundreds of thousands of years, for which there is no permanent repository. This is institutional insanity, and I urge the people in this country to wake up before they experience what is now going on in northern Japan: uninhabitable territory, thousands dead, hundreds of thousands at risk of cancer, enormous economic loss. And for what?

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