Budget Debate: Getting Us Headed in a Progressive Direction

Photo: Progressive Caucus Members announcing their alternative

The People’s Budget:

Quick Summary of a Good Plan

By Kay Kirkpatrick
Beaver County Blue

Among the budgets proposed in Congress recently, one eliminates the deficit in 10 years, puts Americans back to work, and restores our economic competitiveness.

Unlike the GOP proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the People’ Budget does not seek to crush those with a low-income, the elderly or otherwise cripple vital government services.

Instead, it preserves Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment benefits; expands jobs and job training programs; shifts the tax burden off the backs of the people; eliminates tax credits for the oil and gas industries and subsidies for new nuclear power plants; invests in infrastructure and brings our troops home.

This version of our financial future, proposed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), is not only in keeping with priorities of the majority of the American people, it is viable, reasonable and sustainable.

The CPC plan ends the budget deficit two decades earlier than the Ryan plan. Specifically, the budget offers:

· $5.6 trillion in deficit reduction

· $869 billion in spending cuts

· $856 billion net interest savings

· $3.9 trillion revenue increase

· $1.7 trillion in public investment, and

· $30.7 billion in a budget surplus in 2021.

Continue reading Budget Debate: Getting Us Headed in a Progressive Direction

Obama, 2012 and Focusing Hope

How Do We Bring Obama Home?

How to Respond to Obama

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Progressive America Rising via BlackCommentator.com

Rather than dwell on the question of whether we can bring Obama home, whether he ever was home, etc., I want to refocus on this question of how to respond to him, particularly as we start to think about 2012.

First, what do we now say about 2008? Contrary to those who have thrown up their hands and feel betrayed by what the Obama administration has not done, I start in a different place. I continue to assert that Obama was knowable in 2008. He was a charismatic, smart candidate who made the right call on the Iraq War and stepped out on the issue when it was necessary. He was also, as I said at the time, someone who could appear to be different things to different people. The problem was that too many of his supporters saw what they wanted to see rather than what existed.

What existed? Well, from the beginning he was a corporate candidate. We knew that. The question was not whether he was one but the extent to which his views could be shifted in order to take progressive, non-corporate stands. Second, he was a candidate who was going to avoid race as you or I would avoid a plague ship. He went out of his way to prove that he was not an ‘angry black man’ and that race was not going to be an issue that he would harp on. Third, he was clear that he wanted to change the image of the USA around the world, but it was not clear to what extent he wanted to change the substance of the relationship of the USA to the rest of the world.

Continue reading Obama, 2012 and Focusing Hope

Spill at Marcellus Shale drilling site in Bradford County prompts evacuation

Spill at Marcellus Shale drilling site in Bradford County prompts evacuation

Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2011, 1:00 PM     Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2011, 3:08 PM
DONALD GILLILAND, The Patriot-News By DONALD GILLILAND, The Patriot-News The Patriot-News

Seven families in Bradford County have been asked to evacuate following a large spill during fracking operations in the Marcellus Shale at a Chesapeake Energy well west of Towanda, Pa. Earlier reports that there was a blow-out were inaccurate, according to company officials.

A local Emergency Management official said he didn’t believe the families had gone anywhere.

“It’s literally on top of a mountain,” said Francis “Skip” Roupp, deputy director of the Bradford County Emergency Management Agency.

According to Chesapeake spokesman Brian Grove, “At approximately 11:45 p.m. on April 19, an equipment failure occurred during well-completion activities, allowing the release of completion fluids from a well at a location in Leroy Township, Bradford County, Pa.”

Continue reading Spill at Marcellus Shale drilling site in Bradford County prompts evacuation

Petition Gov. Corbett to Stop Assault on Healthcare

Tell Corbett: Don’t give away my health to business!

Governor Corbett allowed the adultBasic health insurance program 41,000 Pennsylvanians relied on to die, claiming that the state was just ‘too broke.’ He ignored the record-breaking profits of the non-profit Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies that had been required to contribute due to their tax-exempt status.  Highmark, for example, announced they’ll be shelling out bonuses thanks to the record-breaking year.

And it probably doesn’t hurt that these companies are acquiring even more clients now that adultBasic ended.  The Governor’s ‘solution’ was to give the Blues a lot of business by having those who had been on adultBasic enroll in a Blues plan known as Special Care.  Special Care costs about 300% more than adultBasic and only covers 4 doctor visits a year!  This was only a ‘solution’ for the Big Blues, not real Pennsylvanians.  If it were, then we wouldn’t be looking at only 21% of people who had been on adultBasic actually enrolling in Special Care.

Even more shocking: Corbett now wants to take over 220 million dollars from the Tobacco Settlement fund-a fund that had been going  to adult health programs, like adultBasic- and put it towards a program called Liberty Loans.  He is taking money away from adult health in Pennsylvania and giving it to businesses.

We know where Corbett’s interests lie.  Join us and stand up to these tactics.

Protect Pennsylvania’s Health!  Sign the petition.

Medicare is the Solution – Not the Problem – Hands Off!

Medicare is the Solution – Not the Problem

Republicans want to privatize Medicare and slash Medicaid to reduce the nation’s deficit. President Obama says he wants to preserve Medicare and Medicaid, but his budget proposal looks to those programs to find savings.

We agree that healthcare costs are a serious problem, but cutting Medicare and Medicaid won’t help.

Instead, we need to take the corporate greed and waste out of our healthcare system, and make healthcare a human right by extending Medicare to everyone.

Join us in sending this message to President Obama and your Congresspeople: Medicare is the solution – not the problem. We need improved Medicare for all NOW!

Send your message by clicking here.

Lease Tricksters: ‘Don’t Let Them Talk About Fracking’

Revealed: Confidential Document Shows Oil Company’s

Strategy to Con Landowners into Giving up Drilling Rights

By Tara Lohan
Beaver County Blue via AlterNet.org

April 14, 2011 – AlterNet recently received a document through a tip that appears to be right out of the playbook of an oil company. The document lays out the strategy for their field agents to convince landowners to give up drilling rights — despite how risky this may be for the landowners. We’re working on verifying its authenticity, but wanted to give our readers a chance to take a look and make your own assessment. (You can read the whole document here.) We’re not sure yet if this did indeed come from a gas company, nor which one, but if so, the information sure is damning.

Called, "Talking Points for Selling Oil and Gas Lease Rights," the document begins by saying it is designed for Field Agents to outline what to say to commonly asked questions, and more importantly, how to avoid answering the hard ones. And it cautions, "Remember, if at all possible try not to deliberately mislead the landowner, that only makes our position harder to defend at a later date." Right — that gets a little less believable as you read on.

Here’s more — everything in quotes is straight out of the document.

Don’t give them time to think: "It is critical to obtain a lease signature in the first meeting, or at least the agreement to sign and take the lease to a notary. Drive them to the notary if you have to."

Continue reading Lease Tricksters: ‘Don’t Let Them Talk About Fracking’