A Sensible "Deal for All" Challenges the Dreaded "Simpson-Bowles" Cutbacks

Photo: Cardboard image of Jamie Dimond, JP Morgan’s ‘Simpson Bowles’ Advocate.

By Carl Bloice
Beaver County Blue via Black Commentator

‘The real losers would be seniors, sick poor people, the unemployed, and people with disabilities.’

July 26, 2012 – A highly placed journalist spoke up boldly over the weekend on behalf of the country’s serious people, "those of us who crave a little common sense," who are feeling a bit of "despair," right now because the nation’s capital has become "a sludge pit of dysfunction." This state of affairs, wrote New York Times former executive editor. Bill Keller, could be attributed to "Republican cynicism, Democratic fecklessness or presidential disengagement."

"Talk to any credible economist, wire any serious politician to a polygraph, and you will hear at least 80 percent agreement on what is to be done: investment to goose the lackluster recovery and rebuild our infrastructure, entitlement reforms and spending discipline to lower the debt, and a tax code that lets the government pay its way without stifling business, punishing the middle class or rewarding sleight of hand," wrote Keller in the Times July 21. The problem, he asserted, is the failure of the responsible people to come up with a "grand bargain," the outline of which is pretty much summed up in (a little drum roll here) our old friend, the magic elixir; "Simpson-Bowles."

It just won’t go away. Its promoters continue to use a nonexistent "Simpson-Bowles" report from the failed Presidential deficit reduction commission as the code for what a powerful group among the nation’s political and economic elite want to enact by hook or by crook, whether we the people want it or not.

Continue reading A Sensible "Deal for All" Challenges the Dreaded "Simpson-Bowles" Cutbacks

‘We’re Fired Up!’ – Protestors in Harrisburg Vow to Defeat GOP Voter Suppression Law

Photos by Bill Allen

By Carl Davidson
Beaver County Blue

Nearly 500 people gathered on the steps of Pennsylvania’s State Capitol in Harrisburg on the hot afternoon of July 24 to deliver a warning to the GOP-dominated legislature-all their efforts to suppress the right to vote will be met with stiff resistance.

The rally was organized by the NAACP, trade union, women’s and church groups. Its tarrget was the GOP’s so-called ‘VoterID’ law, which may forbid nearly nine percent of the electorate, from voting in November.

"Do you want to know where the voter fraud has occurred? I’ll tell you right now where the vote fraud has occurred?" declared Rep. Ron Waters (D-Philadelphia). "It occurred when the people who wanted to disenfranchise the many 758,000 who are already registered to vote but do not possess a PennDOT-issued Photo IDs. They want to make sure that this is a way to get the candidate of their choice elected."

Continue reading ‘We’re Fired Up!’ – Protestors in Harrisburg Vow to Defeat GOP Voter Suppression Law

PA Commonwealth Court Rules against State Zoning for Marcellus Shale drilling

Court throws out state zoning for Marcellus Shale drilling

July 26, 2012 10:47 am
By Laura Olson / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HARRISBURG — A Commonwealth Court panel this morning threw out Pennsylvania’s attempt to establish statewide zoning for Marcellus Shale drilling, setting up a likely appeal to the state’s top court.

The appellate court ruled that the state cannot require local municipalities to allow gas drilling in areas that would conflict with their zoning rules, as several towns argued was the outcome of the Legislature passing and the governor signing Act 13 in February.

That law enacted a sweeping set of changes for how the oil and gas drilling industry operates within Pennsylvania, including creating an impact fee and, most controversially, dictating what municipalities can and cannot do regarding standards for gas drilling. Any municipality that did not follow those state-issued zoning guidelines stood to lose its share of the impact fee revenues and was liable to legal challenges.

Continue reading PA Commonwealth Court Rules against State Zoning for Marcellus Shale drilling

Second judge rejects Wisconsin voter ID law

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A second judge on Tuesday declared Wisconsin’s voter identification law unconstitutional, further guaranteeing that the ID requirement won’t be in place for this fall’s elections.

Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan ruled that the state’s requirement that all voters show photo ID at the polls creates a “substantial impairment of the right to vote” guaranteed by the state Constitution.

In March, Flanagan issued an injunction temporarily blocking the law, finding that the groups challenging the ID requirement — the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP and the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera — were likely to succeed in their arguments. He made that injunction permanent in Tuesday’s 20-page decision.

Another Dane County judge, Richard Niess, permanently blocked the voter ID law in March in a separate case brought by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. Voter ID proponents would need to get both orders lifted to get the law reinstated.

Continue reading Second judge rejects Wisconsin voter ID law

Pennsylvania’s strict voter ID law faces ACLU lawsuit

Below is today’s coverage by the Los Angeles Times of the ACLU lawsuit against the voter restriction law passed by PA Republicans.

A state-wide coalition of voting rights and civil rights activists is holding a rally at the state Capitol on Tuesday July 24th to express the public’s support for the lawsuit against voter restriction.

Buses leave the IBEW Hall in Vanport, PA at 6:00am on Tuesday the 24th and will return at 3:00pm after the rally. There is no charge. Please call Progressive Democrats of America chairperson Tina Shannon at 724-683-1925 to reserve a seat.

Buses leave Philadelphia from 1619 Cecil B. Moore Ave. at 9:00am and return at 3:30pm.  To reserve a seat from Philadelphia call John Jordan, Director of Civic Engagement for the PA NAACP at 215-978-7500.

Pennsylvania’s strict voter ID law faces ACLU lawsuit

The law could stop hundreds of thousands of voters, many of them minorities, from casting ballots despite their efforts to obtain an ID. The outcome may affect the presidential election.

By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
Los Angeles Times

July 18, 2012, 5:00 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA — At age 93, Viviette Applewhite proudly lives on her own in a high-rise apartment just a few blocks from where she was born. A widow, she has never driven a car, but she has had many jobs, including work as a welder during World War II. She marched withMartin Luther King Jr. in Georgia.

She cast her first vote for PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt. On election day four years ago, Applewhite went across the street to vote. “I was waiting there when they opened the door,” she said. “I didn’t vote for [Barack] Obamabecause he was black. I voted for him because he was a Democrat.”

But her record of faithfully voting for Democrats will be more difficult to maintain, thanks to a strict voter identification law adopted this year by Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Legislature. Now she is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging the new law.

Applewhite is among more than 186,000 registered voters who lack a valid driver’s license in this heavily Democratic city. Many of them are minorities. And to vote in Pennsylvania in November, they will need to produce a government-issued ID or driver’s license.

Continue reading Pennsylvania’s strict voter ID law faces ACLU lawsuit

Defend Our Voting Rights!


By Tina Shannon

At time when we need to increase the number of people voting, our State legislature has passed a law that will turn voters away from the polls.

Although there are no cases of voter fraud in PA, the Republican controlled legislature is requiring a picture ID to vote. This is part of a nation-wide Republican strategy to reduce the vote in order to defeat Obama.

John Jordan from the Pennsylvania NAACP will be in Beaver County on July 11th to explain the Voter Suppression Law, along with details of the rally and petition for injunction. Please join us for this important public meeting.

Public Meeting
John Jordan

PA NAACP Director of Civic Engagement

July 11th at 7:00 PM

USW Local 8183

1445 Market St, Bridgewater

Sponsored by a coalition of labor, civil rights, and community organizations

In a recently speech Republican Representative Mike Turzai said: “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer: “More than 758,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania do not have photo identification cards from the state Transportation Department, putting their voting rights at risk in the November election, according to data released Tuesday by state election officials.”

The NAACP, ACLU & League of Women Voters have petitioned the Commonwealth Court for an injunction to stop implementation of the Voter ID Law. This will give their lawsuit time to make it to court to see if this law is constitutional. It would be a travesty to allow this law to decide the Presidential election only to later have it ruled invalid. 

A rally will be held at 1:00 PM on the steps of the Capitol in Harrisburg on July 24th, the day before the Court holds the hearing on the petition.

Continue reading Defend Our Voting Rights!

Civic Groups Urge Corbett to Delay Voter Restriction Law

Saturday, July 7, 2012
Civic groups urge delay in

Pennsylvania’s voter-ID law
By Bob Warner
Inquirer Staff Writer READER FEEDBACK

Pa. says 758,000-plus voters lack PennDOT photo ID
Groups appeal for delay on voter ID; Corbett refuses
Voters without PennDot ID: 9.2%
Voter ID law may hit more in Pennsylvania
Spurred by the disclosure that 758,000 registered voters do not have Pennsylvania drivers’ licenses, six civic groups called on Gov. Corbett on Friday to delay implementation of a new voter-ID requirement for at least a year. The administration immediately rejected the request.
“Our goal since the law was signed is to reach out to all voters to make them aware of the law so all eligible voters are able to get ID if needed and cast ballots in November,” said Ron Ruman, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, in charge of the state election machinery.
Ruman said Corbett did not have authority on his own to delay the photo-ID requirement and would not ask the Republican-controlled legislature to change the law, passed and signed by the governor in March.  “The administration supports the law,” Ruman wrote in an e-mail, “because it protects the integrity of every vote and voter by giving Pennsylvania for the first time a reliable way to verify the identity of each voter at the polls. This will help detect and deter any illegal voting.”

Continue reading Civic Groups Urge Corbett to Delay Voter Restriction Law

Needed: Worker Organizing and Education

There is No Substitute for Organizing:

How Unions Might Help Win Future Battles

By Bill Fletcher, Jr. and Jane McAlevey
Beaver County Blue via The Nation

July 3, 2012 – Before Wisconsinites voted down the attempt to recall Governor Scott Walker, and certainly since, principled progressives inside and outside of unions have disagreed on whether or not the campaign should have happened. In fact, between the two of us, we don’t fully agree about whether or not the recall was the correct tactic.

But with the defeat in the rear view mirror, two clear lessons can be drawn from Wisconsin: unions need to reinvest in mass participatory education—sometimes called internal organizing in union lingo; and, unions need to stop focusing on “collective bargaining” and actually kick down the walls separating workplace and non-workplace issues by going all-out on the broader agenda of the working class and the poor.

Once you get past the reports that Walker outspent the Wisconsin workers by 7:1, the next most startling fact is that 38 percent of union households voted to keep the anti-worker Governor. That’s slightly more than one third, and had the pro-recall forces held the union households, Walker would no longer be Governor.

With major media outlets drubbing us with the 38 percent number, the liberal political elite seem stuck on a rhetorical question: why do poor people and workers vote against their material self-interest? Actually, in our own experience, the poor and working class don’t vote against their self-interest—but there’s a precondition: we have to create the space for ordinary people to better understand what their self-interest is, and how it connects with hundreds of millions in the US and globally.

Continue reading Needed: Worker Organizing and Education