Dollarocracy Over Democracy, 2012

One Percenters Buying Themselves an Aristocracy

By Leo Gerard
USW President, via Huffington Post

August 30, 2012 – The U.S. Constitution guarantees separation of church and state. What this nation needs now is separation of wealth and state.

Without such a protection, Americans stand to lose their democracy. They’ll be ruled instead by an aristocracy of 1 percenters.

That’s the 1 percenters’ plan. To them, it was no more than a perk when the U.S. Supreme Court enabled politicians to open their wallets for unlimited, anonymous campaign contributions. That’s because way before the 2010 Citizens United ruling, 1 percenters were working on a takeover. If the 99 percent don’t stop them soon, don’t establish some sort of separation of wealth and state, then the nation will lose its founding precepts — that all men are created equal and that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Aristocracies can ignore the governed.

Already the 1 percenters have been extraordinarily successful. The rich really do enjoy advantages. They’ve succeeded in stuffing Congress with their peers. In America, fewer than 1 percent of all people are millionaires. In Congress, 47 percent are. The median net worth of a U.S. senator in 2010 was $2.56 million.

Those guys haven’t experienced what it’s like to try to pay a mortgage, fix the car and keep food on the table for the average household with a median income of less than $52,000. They’re completely out of touch with the 50 million Americans who don’t have health insurance.

Continue reading Dollarocracy Over Democracy, 2012

The Long Struggle for Voting Rights


By Al Hart
UE News Managing Editor via Beaver County Blue

August 20, 2012, Pittsburgh, PA – Since the founding of the United States, working people have had to fight to win, and to keep, the right to vote. And through American history, rich and powerful people, often calling themselves "conservatives", have tried to maintain their privileges by depriving other Americans of the right to vote.

The story of the long struggle for voting rights in America is thoroughly and brilliantly told in ‘The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States,’ by Alexander Keyssar, who teaches history and social policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. This highly- readable account was first published in 2000, and the 2009 revised edition brings the story up to nearly the present, when voter suppression has again become a national issue.

Before and immediately after the American Revolution, the right to vote in most of the 13 original states was limited mainly to white men, and in most states, only those who owned a certain amount of property. Free blacks who owned property had voting rights in some Northern states and, for a while, North Carolina. The most common property qualification was a freehold of 50 acres (among others, this disqualified tenant farmers who leased land.) In some states the requirement was property of a certain monetary value, such as 50 pounds, or a taxpaying requirement. When Vermont gained statehood in 1791, it was immediately the most democratic state, with no property or tax requirements for voting.

Continue reading The Long Struggle for Voting Rights

Even Papers as Far Away as New Zealand Are Shocked at PA’s GOP Voter Suppression Efforts

Dorothy Cooper, Tn, denied vote by the same GOP efforts back by Santorum here.

Eligibility rules bar millions of voters in US

By Peter Huck
New Zealand Herald

Aug 18, 2012 – When Dorothy Cooper applied for a free voter identity card in Chattanooga, Tennessee, she supplied a rent receipt, a copy of her lease, her birth certificate and her voter registration card to prove who she was.

Voter ID is mandatory to prevent fraud under a new state law passed by Republicans, despite scant evidence fraud exists.

But the 96-year-old, who was on the voting roll, left her marriage certificate behind. Cooper was denied the ID.

Wilola Lee in Pennsylvania has a similar story to tell. The 60-year-old has voted in most national elections since the 1970s, worked at her local Philadelphia polling station and is retired from the city’s education department. She has a social security card and a state identity card.

But a new law, passed by a Republican-controlled legislature, says voters must use an ID card issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

To get one you need a birth certificate. Lee’s was destroyed by fire. Efforts to get one from Georgia, her birthplace, have been frustrated for the past decade.

Continue reading Even Papers as Far Away as New Zealand Are Shocked at PA’s GOP Voter Suppression Efforts

PA 12th Congressional District Race “One of Most Competitive in Country”

Republican 12th CD Candidate Rothfus speaking at Tea Party rally

from Huffington Post:

# Pennsylvania 12th District
As a result of redistricting, fellow incumbents Jason Altmire (D) and Mark Critz (D) faced off against each other in the Democratic primary in the newly drawn conservative twelfth district in western Pennsylvania. With the help of local unions and Bill Clinton’s endorsement, Critz narrowly defeated Altmire in the April primary.

Since winning the primary, Critz — a “Frontline” Democrat — has been trying to distance himself from President Obama, who is unpopular in the district, and has announced that he will not be attending the Democratic National Convention. Since the district has a high number of of Medicare recipients, Critz has already tied his opponent, Keith Rothfus (R), to Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, which would make significant cuts to the popular entitlement program.

The NRCC started running ads against Critz in the Pittsburgh media market in August, and has added him to its “Young Gun” recruitment program. At the end of June, Rothfus had more cash on hand than the Democratic incumbent. An August internal poll for the Critz campaign showed him leading Rothfus by ten points, but he has consistently been hovering at 50 percent or below.

This is shaping up to be the most competitive race in the state, and one of the most competitive in the country.

Continue reading PA 12th Congressional District Race “One of Most Competitive in Country”



by Harry Targ
The Lafayette, Indiana Journal and Courier, a Gannett Newspaper, printed an Associated Press story, Monday, August 13, on the front page above the fold, entitled“Little Security for Program’s Payouts.” It warned that Social Security would be in financial crisis by 2033.

The $2.7 trillion surplus in the fund, the story suggested “is starting to look small.” The story did admit that for thirty years the social security fund received more in taxes than it paid out to eligible recipients. But it raised the fear that the balance sheet would undoubtedly change in the future. In addition, the story indirectly blamed Social Security for federal deficits by suggesting that“surpluses also helped mask the size of the budget deficit being generated by the rest of the federal government.”

Banksters Turn against Obama

by Randy Shannon

When the banksters wrecked the economy in 2007, they jumped on the Obama campaign bandwagon in hopes of saving their positions of power in the economy and the government.

They were able to achieve a lot of their objectives under Obama, but not all of them. The Consumer Protection Act and Obama’s attempt to liquidate Citibank rubbed the banksters the wrong way.

Now, the banksters want more than Obama can deliver. As the story below reveals, they have executed an about-face and are throwing their money at Romney.

If Obama is re-elected the banksters chance for a double down on their economy-wrecking program may be at risk. If Obama is elected there will be a real struggle to save Medicare and Social Security from the cuts the banksters have planned.

It will take an aware and energetic voter turnout to beat the banksters in a presidential election. The big money is on Romney but the people will decide.

Goldman Sachs Leads Split With Obama, as GE Jilts Him Too

By Jonathan D. Salant – Aug 9, 2012 10:10 AM ET

Bloomberg News

Goldman Sachs Group (GS) employees have changed to red from blue.

Four years ago, employees of New York-based Goldman gave three-fourths of their campaign donations to Democratic candidates and committees, including presidential nominee Barack Obama. This time, they’re showering 70 percent of their contributions on Republicans.

That’s the biggest switch among the 25 companies whose employees have given the most to candidates and parties since 1989, according to data through June 30 compiled by Bloomberg from the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group that tracks campaign donations. Goldman isn’t alone; 13 of the companies’ employees are now giving more to Republicans after backing Democrats four years ago.

Continue reading Banksters Turn against Obama

Shayna Metz and Beaver County’s Marcellus Awareness Committee Defending Our Water!

Shayna Metz, Center, at Protest

Industry Woman Cycles Against Fracking Current

By Bill Utterback
Beaver County Times

August 4, 2012 – On a cross-country cycling trip created to promote clean water as a priority over Marcellus shale drilling, Shayna Metz of Industry waded into the Youghiogheny River. She was moved to poetry.

“I push against the current … I wade deeper and stand and fight,” she wrote in an online blog.

Metz, a Geneva College graduate, pushed against the surging current of natural gas drilling by serving as project coordinator for the Tour de Frack, a bicycle trip that began July 14 in Butler County and ended July 28-29 on the lawn of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. The cyclists, and a bus full of supporters from western Pennsylvania who joined them, participated in the "Stop the Frack Attack" rally, labeled the first national anti-fracking event.

Continue reading Shayna Metz and Beaver County’s Marcellus Awareness Committee Defending Our Water!

What Romney Economics Means: Working Class Men’s Wages Have Plummeted Over the Past 40 Years

By Kevin Drum
Beaver County Blue via Mother Jones

July 31, 2012 – Dylan Matthews says a bit more today about something I mentioned briefly a couple of weeks ago: among men, wages haven’t just stagnated over the past few decades. They’ve plummeted: [1]

    As you can see on the black line in the above graph, median earnings for men in 2009 were lower than they were in the early 1970s. And it gets worse. The decline shown above is actually too mild, because it doesn’t take into account the massive exodus from the workforce of men since that period. Between 1960 and 2009, the share of men working fulltime fell from 83 percent to 66 percent, and the share not making formal wages tripled from 6 percent to 18 percent. When you take all men, not just those working fulltime, into account, the slight decline in the second graph becomes a plummet of 28 percent in median real wages from 1969 to 2009. ‘

    ….High school dropouts’ earnings have fallen 66 percent since 1969, and people with some college – the median level of education in the US – have seen earnings fall by a third. Reasonable people can disagree about what caused this massive decline and what should be done to fix it. But it’s a major crisis….

This decline in both male employment and male wages has been going on for 40 years now, and as Dylan mentions, it’s far worse at the bottom of the ladder than at the top. Male high school grads working full time earn 25% less than they used to, and if you account for those not working or working only part time, aggregate wages are down by nearly half.

Half! And that’s for high school grads, not dropouts. (And the picture changes only modestly if you add health benefits to the wage picture.) These are men who basically played by the rules, got their diploma, and then went into the workforce. Or tried to, anyway. But they’re finding it far harder to find steady, full-time work than their fathers did, and when they do they earn dramatically less than their fathers did. So I’ll repeat what I said the last time I wrote about this: if you want to understand why marriage has declined among the working and lower middle classes, you have to understand what’s happened to male wages. It’s not the whole answer, but there’s simply no way that it’s not a big factor.

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