April 4th Vigil at Beaver Courthouse by AFL-CIO & NAACP

 

CANDLELIGHT VIGIL FOR

WORKERS’ RIGHTS AND FOR

HUMAN RIGHTS

VOICE YOUR OPPOSITION TO THE VOTER SUPPRESSION LAW

April 4, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.

Beaver County Courthouse

“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.,

January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968

Sponsored by: Beaver-Lawrence Central Labor Council, SEIU Local 668, Beaver County NAACP

Endorsed by: 12th CD Chapter Progressive Democrats of America

Yet Another Reason to Defeat the GOP Across the Board

More of the Same: Voter Suppression = Corporate Domination

By Ja-Rei Wang
AFL-CIO Now

March 21, 2012 – Pennsylvania has become the latest state to pass a voter ID law in the Republican-led nationwide effort to deny the vote to millions.

H.B. 934, which Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law last Wednesday, will effectively disenfranchise 691,000 Pennsylvanians who do not currently have a driver’s license, according to a 2006 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) estimate. African Americans, seniors, people with disabilities, the working poor and students are twice as likely as others to lack ID. Voter ID bills introduced across the country would disenfranchise more than 21 million eligible voters.

Continue reading Yet Another Reason to Defeat the GOP Across the Board

The 5 Worst Things About The House GOP’s Budget

By Igor Volsky and Travis Waldron on Mar 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

After his last attempt at a budget went down in flames last year, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled the House GOP’s new budget this morning, painting it as a sensible plan to reform the nation’s tax code and reduce the debt while maintaining entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Yet again, however, Ryan and the GOP have the social safety net and Medicare in their sights, and yet again, they’re attempting to pass the cost of massive tax breaks for corporations and the rich off to middle and lower-income Americans.

Here are the five worst things about Ryan’s budget:

1. SENIORS WOULD PAY MORE FOR HEALTH CARE: Beginning 2023, the guaranteed Medicare benefit would be transformed into a government-financed “premium support” system. Seniors currently under the age of 55 could use their government contribution to purchase insurance from an exchange of private plans or traditional fee-for-service Medicare. But the budget does not take sufficient precautions to prevent insurers from cherry-picking the the healthiest beneficiaries from traditional Medicare and leaving sicker applicants to the government. As a result, traditional Medicare costs could skyrocket, forcing even more seniors out of the government program. The budget also adopts a per capita cost cap of GDP growth plus 0.5 percent, without specifying how it would enforce it. This makes it likely that the cap would limit the government contribution provided to beneficiaries and since the proposed growth rate is much slower than the projected growth in health care costs, CBO estimates that new beneficiaries could pay up to $1,200 more by 2030 and more than $5,900 more by 2050. Finally, the budget would also raise Medicare’s age of eligibility to 67. Some seniors who would no longer be eligible for Medicare would pick up employer coverage—but they would pay more in premiums and cost sharing. And since the budget would scale back or eliminate other coverage options, hundreds of thousands of seniors would become uninsured.

Continue reading The 5 Worst Things About The House GOP’s Budget

Republican Budget in Brief

Ryan Budget Would Crush the American Dream

Robert Borosage's picture

By Robert Borosage

March 20, 2012 – 6:06pm ET

The Republican budget – released by House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan – is a remarkably revealing document. The budget document says it is time for America to choose. And with this document, Republicans choose to be the tribunes of the 1 percent, willing to destroy basic elements of the American dream in service of that cause.

Consider:

  • At a time of extreme inequality – with the top 1 percent capturing a staggering 93 percent of all income gains in 2010 – Republicans would dramatically lower taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and by definition raise them on working families.They don’t actually admit to that, of course. But they lower top income tax rates and sustain lower rates on wealth (capital gains, dividends) while claiming their reforms will raise as much money (be revenue neutral) by eliminating unspecified loopholes and tax breaks. That means they must go after the biggest deductions – either limit the mortgage deduction for middle class homeowners or cut the tax benefits for employer provided health care, both reforms that would directly hit working families.
  • With health care costs soaring and employers cutting back on health insurance benefits, the Republican budget would add millions to the rolls of the uninsured by eliminating the health care reforms, with no program in its place.

Continue reading Republican Budget in Brief

Congressional Progressive Caucus Prepares Response to Republican Budget for the 1%

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2012
3:15 PM

CONTACT: Congressional Progressive Caucus

Adam Sarvana (Grijalva), 202-225-2435

Jennifer Porter Gore (Ellison), 202-225-4755

Jack d’Annibale (Honda), 202-225-3327
Congressional Progressive Caucus Holds Emergency Meeting in Response to the Republican Budget for the 1%

WASHINGTON – March 20 – The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow morning, Wednesday, March 21st, to set its budget priorities in the aftermath of the Republican budget proposal released today.

This year’s Republican budget compounds last year’s mistakes: reckless cuts that slash millions of jobs, an endto the Medicare guarantee, and higher health costs for America’s seniors. The GOP scheme gives more tax breaks to billionaires, Big Oil, and corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Continue reading Congressional Progressive Caucus Prepares Response to Republican Budget for the 1%

Our Infrastructure Emergency Can Be a Source for Green Jobs

Locked and Dammed: The Region’s 23 Locks and Dams Are on the Brink of Failure

By Len Boselovic
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
This is the first of a four-part series.

March 18, 2012 – Pittsburgh’s three rivers, an economic engine since Lewis and Clark departed the city for their epic exploration of the West, are flirting with disaster.

The region’s 23 locks and dams, which annually move 33 million tons of coal, petroleum and other commodities that fuel the local economy, are on the brink of failure, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency charged with maintaining them.

Continue reading Our Infrastructure Emergency Can Be a Source for Green Jobs

Judge Issues Permanent Injunction against Wisconsin Voter Suppression Law

by Amanda Terkel

WASHINGTON — A Wisconsin judge declared a state law requiring people to show photo ID in order to be allowed to vote unconstitutional on Monday, issuing a permanent injunction blocking the state from implementing the measure.

“Without question, where it exists, voter fraud corrupts elections and undermines our form of government,” wrote Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess in his decision. “The legislature and governor may certainly take aggressive action to prevent its occurrence. But voter fraud is no more poisonous to our democracy than voter suppression. Indeed, they are two heads on the monster.”

The decision comes less than a week after another judge temporarily halted the implementation of the voter ID law.

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network filed suit in Dane County Circuit Court in October. Lester Pines, an attorney with the firm Cullen Weston Pines & Bach who is working on the case, told The Huffington Post at the time that their argument against the voter ID law was quite simple: It violates the provision in the Wisconsin constitution that determines who can vote.

Niess agreed with this argument:

Article III is unambiguous, and means exactly what it says. It creates both necessary and sufficient requirements for qualified voters. EveryUnited States citizen 18 years of age or older who resides in an election district in Wisconsin is a qualified elector in that district, unless excluded by duly enacted laws barring certain convicted felons or adjudicated incompetents/partially incompetents.The government may not disqualify an elector who possesses those qualifications on the grounds that the voter does not satisfy additional statutorily-created qualifications not contained in Article III, such as a photo ID.

He added that a “government that undermines the very foundation of its existence — the people’s inherent, pre-constitutional right to vote — imperils its legitimacy as a government by the people, for the people, and especially of the people.”

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed the voter ID bill into law in May, calling it a “common sense reform” that would “go a long way to protecting the integrity of elections in Wisconsin.”

“It’s a shame activist Dane County judges continue to stand in the way of common sense,” said Cullen Werwie, a spokesman for Walker. “We are confident the state will prevail in its plan to implement photo ID.”

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) he plans to appeal the decision.

“In its rush to enact a Voter ID law, the Wisconsin Legislature failed to pay attention to the Wisconsin Constitution. Luckily, the League of Women Voters had the courage to stand up and defend the fundamental right of to vote that our constitution guarantees,” said Pines. “The proponents of Voter ID assert that it is meant to prevent fraud. We all know the truth: it is designed to suppress voting by poor people and students. Now, in Wisconsin, that will not happen.”

A Voter ID law was also blocked in Texas on Monday. The Justice Department’s civil rights division objected to the requirement, arguing that many Hispanic voters lack state-issued IDs.

Go here to read the ruling.