Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

Archive for April, 2011

FDA Testing Food Radioactivity – Republicans Propose Cuts

Posted by randyshannon on April 13, 2011

FDA Testing Food Radioactivity – Republicans Propose Cuts

April 13, 2011

by Randy Shannon

While the Government of Japan and Tokyo Electric Power continue to struggle to control the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the World’s people grow more and more concerned about the possible impact of radioactive contamination of air, water, and food supplies.

In the USA, our tax dollars pay for an agency, the Food and Drug Administration, that is tasked with monitoring both domestic food supplies and imported food products. After a series of fatalities in the US from domestic food contaminated with salmonella or e-coli bacteria, the public demanded more active monitoring by the FDA.

Now that radioactivity is falling on the US with the rain to be taken up by vegetation and ingested by livestock, and now that food imports may be contaminated, the public needs the FDA to become more vigilant.

Nevertheless, the Republican budget, supported by our Blue Dog Congressman Jason Altmire, proposes to cut funding for the FDA. This will help reduce the deficit. This deficit was caused, not by the FDA, but by handouts to wealthy individuals and banks.

Reproduced below are two articles. The first discusses the FDA budget. The second is an FDA announcement about its efforts to protect the food supply from radioactive contamination.

Do you want the FDA’s ability to protect you and your family from radioactivity and bacteria in your food cut? PA 4th CD Cong. Jason Altmire wants your food safety cut to help out the banks that own him. Will you stand by while your children’s safety is compromised for the greed of a few?

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Senator Bernie Sanders: ‘Robin Hood in Reverse’

Posted by carldavidson on April 13, 2011

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Nurses to Obama: No Cuts, Tax Corporations, End Wars

Posted by randyshannon on April 12, 2011

Nurses to President Obama: Don’t Cut Healthcare, Retirement; Raise Corporate Taxes, End Wars

For Immediate Release                                                                              
April 12, 2011
RNs Won’t Endorse Politicians who Vote to Cut Social Security
In advance of President Obama’s speech Wednesday on the budget deficit, the nation’s largest union and professional association of nurses today called on the President to oppose any cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security – and strengthen the nation’s economy by restoring fair taxes on corporations and the super-rich, ending the wars, and creating good paying jobs.
“America is not broke, it’s just deficient in political courage and leadership,” said Jean Ross, RN, co-president of the 160,000-member National Nurses United. “It’s time to tell Wall Street and the politicians they finance in Washington and state governments that the American people have sacrificed enough. There can be no more cuts in healthcare programs for seniors, the disabled, and the disadvantaged, and no reductions in retirement security.”

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America’s Class Problem

Posted by randyshannon on April 10, 2011

…Instead of taxing the super rich on the bonuses dispensed by top corporations such as Exxon, Bank of America, General Electric, Chevron and Boeing, all of which managed to avoid paying any federal corporate taxes last year, the politicians of both parties in Congress are about to accede to the Republican demand that programs that help ordinary folks be cut to pay for the programs that bailed out the banks…

America’s Class Problem

A “working class hero,” John Lennon told us in his song of that title, “is something to be/ Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV/ And you think you’re so clever and classless and free/ But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.”
The delusion of a classless America in which opportunity is equally distributed is the most effective deception perpetrated by the moneyed elite that controls all the key levers of power in what passes for our democracy. It is a myth blown away by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz in the current issue of Vanity Fair. In an article titled “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” Stiglitz states that the top thin layer of the superwealthy controls 40 percent of all wealth in what is now the most sharply class-divided of all developed nations: “Americans have been watching protests against repressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet, in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.”


That is the harsh reality obscured by the media’s focus on celebrity gossip, sports rivalries and lotteries, situations in which the average person can pretend that he or she is plugged into the winning side. The illusion of personal power substitutes consumer sovereignty—which smartphone to purchase—for real power over the decisions that affect our lives. Even though most Americans accept that the political game is rigged, we have long assumed that the choices we make in the economic sphere as to career and home are matters that respond to our wisdom and will. But the banking tsunami that wiped out so many jobs and so much homeownership has demonstrated that most Americans have no real control over any of that, and while they suffer, the corporate rich reward themselves in direct proportion to the amount of suffering they have caused.

Instead of taxing the superrich on the bonuses dispensed by top corporations such as Exxon, Bank of America, General Electric, Chevron and Boeing, all of which managed to avoid paying any federal corporate taxes last year, the politicians of both parties in Congress are about to accede to the Republican demand that programs that help ordinary folks be cut to pay for the programs that bailed out the banks.

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“Just follow the money.”

Posted by randyshannon on April 10, 2011

“Just follow the money.”

by Randy Shannon

April 10, 2011

Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward was told by an inside informant to “just follow the money” in order to break the criminal conspiracy in the Nixon White House. This is advice that always serves well in searching for the roots of our problems and finding solutions.

As billionaire Warren Buffet pointed out last year: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

The budget cuts for working people and the tax cuts for the wealthy passed by the Republican majority with the help of Rep. Jason Altmire and other corporate Blue Dog Democrats shows that there are no holds barred. The narrow social strata of the financial elite are conducting a scorched earth economic assault upon working people.

The wealthy have enjoyed a tremendous increase in their personal income and financial holdings. They control the levers of power in the government and can present the President with offers he can’t refuse.

An important role in exercising this power is played by the Blue Dog Democrats like Jason Altmire, who aligned with the Republican minority in the 111th Congress to block progressive legislation and now is aligned with the Republican majority to help them pass these attacks on the people’s welfare.

One might wonder, with all this money the banks have, why do they want more? The banks have never recovered from the crisis of 2007. They are entering a new phase of their financial crisis based on the lingering foreclosure crisis. The largest banks – JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citibank, and others –  remain insolvent and unprofitable.

Their political power, their control of a Republican-Blue Dog axis in Congress, saved them from a government controlled liquidation and restructure in 2008. The Government is subsidizing these banks to keep them afloat. This course of action condemns the nation to years of economic malaise and further job losses. This course of action will also fail to revive these banks.

Naomi Klein, author of “The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” explained this irrational impulse in an interview for the film Children of Men: “It doesn’t have the ability to think rationally, this economic model. It thinks like a drug addict: ‘Where can I get my next fix?’ It doesn’t learn wisely. You know if we think of any kind of measure of natural wisdom, it would be, you make a mistake, you correct it the next time around. But a drug addict feels terrible and then says: ‘I want more.’ And unfortunately, we have an economic model that thinks like a drug addict.”

So there is no real deficit crisis. The budget cuts are simply a transfer from your pocket to the bankers’ pocket. The cuts will also remove fiscal, health and safety restrictions on businesses so that riskier and more dangerous pursuit of profits will be possible.

As Rose Schneiderman said a century ago: “It is up to the working people to save themselves.” A rising tide of protest must be organized against the banks’ austerity policy of spending cuts for the people and tax cuts for the rich. Marches and rallies must be joined to political action to defeat Blue Dogs like Jason Altmire and the Republican majority in 2012.

Rep. John Conyers “Full Employment and Training Act” – HR 870 should be a focus of organizing. It has two essential components that can lead the nation out of this swamp. First it establishes a full employment program. Second it funds the program with a financial transaction tax on Wall Street speculators, an important step toward controlling the banks. Labor and community activists should form committees to study this bill, organize hearings, and lobby public organization to endorse the bill.

A broad coalition for full employment, a tax on Wall Street,  national healthcare and an end to wars of conquest can build a movement to change Congress in 2012.

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Congressional Progressives Propose a People’s Budget

Posted by randyshannon on April 8, 2011

The People’s Budget

Posted: 04/ 8/11 09:52 AM ET

Jeffrey Sachs

Just when it seemed that all of Washington had lost its values and its connection with the American people, a bolt of hope has arrived. It is the People’s Budget put forward by the co-chairs of the 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus. Their plan is humane, responsible, and most of all sensible, reflecting the true values of the American people and the real needs of the floundering economy. Unlike Paul Ryan’s almost absurdly vicious attack on the poor and working class, the People’s Budget would close the deficit by raising taxes on the rich, taming health care costs (including a public option), and ending the military spending on wars and wasteful weapons systems.

Click here for a summary of the People’s Budget.

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Unemployment Down, Black Unemployment Up

Posted by randyshannon on April 8, 2011

Unemployment Down, Black Unemployment Up
by Julianne Malveaux
NNPA Columnist
Originally posted 4/6/2011

More than 200,000 jobs were created last month, 216,000 to be exact. Coming after the February lift of more than 200,000 jobs, there are those who are saying that economic recovery is around the corner. I don’t know what corner they are standing on, but the African American corner took a hit in March, and the Black unemployment rate rose from 15.3 to 15.5 percent. No other racial/ethnic group saw unemployment rates rise. Some will say the slight increase is statistically insignificant. Try telling that to the African Americans who don’t have jobs, or to those who are not in the labor force. Indeed, while the number of Whites who had dropped out of the labor force went down, the number of African Americans out of the labor force went up.

The government is on the brink of closing down, with obstructionist Tea Party members determined to shrink the size of government no matter what. They have focused on government workers, but too many of these workers are African American, Latino, and female. Yes, an attack on government workers is an attack on equality, because those who work for governments are more likely to find a fair deal, have a good job, and be paid equitably. The government is on the brink of closing down, but on their way to down time, they have not found time to introduce one piece of legislation that speaks to job creation. Given the numbers that we see this month, this really means they have been unwilling and unable to deal with the jobs crisis in the African American community, as the situation in other communities is getting better.

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PA 4th CD Rep. Altmire Votes for Tea Party Budget

Posted by randyshannon on April 7, 2011

House approves stopgap despite White House veto threat

By Pete Kasperowicz – 04/07/11 02:34 PM ET

The House on Thursday approved a stopgap funding measure in the face of a White House veto threat.

In a 247-181 vote, the House approved legislation that would fund the federal government through April 15. The legislation would also fund the Pentagon through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

The Senate is not expected to consider the measure, and the White House said it would veto the bill earlier on Thursday. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he told President Obama he was disappointed about the veto promise during a meeting with the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Fifteen Democrats voted for the bill, while six Republicans voted against it.

The six Republicans opposing the bill were Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Joe Barton (Texas), Steve King (Iowa), Mick Mulvaney (S.C.), and Ron Paul (Texas).

Democrats supporting the bill were Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.), John Barrow (Ga.), Sanford Bishop (Ga.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Tim Holden (Pa.), Larry Kissell (NC), Tim Matheson (Utah), Mike McIntyre (NC), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Mike Ross (Ark.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.) and Heath Shuler (NC).

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‘We Are One—And Ready to Fight Back!’

Posted by carldavidson on April 6, 2011

Beaver County Union and Community Activists

Hold April 4th Solidarity Rally at Courthouse

By Carl Davidson and Tina Shannon
Beaver County Blue

Even though thunderstorms and downpours had swept through Beaver County all afternoon, close to 200 concerned citizens showed up for a candlelight vigil in front of the Beaver County Courthouse on Monday evening.

"Are you fired up?" shouted Roni Hamiel of SEIU Local 668 headquarters in Harrisburg, "Are you sick of this mess? The rich are getting richer and we’re struggling every day, barely getting by. We want fairness, we want our bargaining rights, and we want a decent future."

Photo: Commissioner Joe Spanik at Vigil

Local members of SEIU 668 spearheaded the vigil, with others joining in to organize a broadly supported event. Throughout PA, events scheduled around the anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination were organized by CLEAR (Coalition for Labor Engagement and Accountable Revenues). CLEAR is a coalition of public and private sector unions involved in protecting labor rights and public services from impending budget cuts.

"We are standing beside you in solidarity," said Willie Sallis, president of the Beaver County NAACP, from the podium. "Not behind you, but beside you. We are partners in this struggle."

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“It is up to the working people to save themselves.”

Posted by randyshannon on April 6, 2011

Today in Labor History: Birth of Rose Schneiderman, prominent member of the New York Women’s Trade Union League, an active participant in the Uprising of the 20,000, the massive strike of shirtwaist workers in New York City led by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union in 1909, and famous for an angry speech about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire: “Every week I must learn of the untimely death of one of my sister workers…Too much blood has been spilled. I know from my experience it is up to the working people to save themselves. The only way they can save themselves is by a strong working-class movement” (1882)

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