Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

Archive for September, 2012

Question to the Candidates: Who Will Speak for the Antiwar Majority?

Posted by carldavidson on September 27, 2012

American Public Opposes War with Iran

By Tom Hayden
Beaver County Peace Links via Peace Exchange Bulletin

Sept 18, 2012 – Among key findings of a survey conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs are these:

  •     51% oppose the UN authorizing a strike on Iran, 70% oppose a unilateral U.S. strike on Iran, and 59% do not want to get involved in a potential Iran-Israel war; 45% favor the UN authorization of a strike;
  •     “In the hypothetical situation in which Israel were to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, Iran were to retaliate against Israel, and the two were to go to war, only 38 percent say the United States should bring its military forces into the war on the side of Israel. A majority (59%) says it should not.” (p. 30)
  •     54% do support an attack by U.S. ground troops against terrorist training camps and facilities, down from 82% in 2002.

    To deal with the crisis in Syria, majorities of Americans support diplomatic and economic sanctions (63%) as well as a no-fly zone in Syria (58%).

Those numbers may be what is causing Benyamin Netanyahu, and his allies in AIPAC, to step up their campaign of implied political threats against the Obama administration for its relative caution over Iran’s nuclear program.

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Posted in 2012 Election, antiwar, Iran, Militarism | 1 Comment »

Study: Pennsylvania does not enforce oil and gas regulations

Posted by randyshannon on September 26, 2012

Ambridge Reservoir threatened by Chesapeake Energy, the biggest violator of DEP regulations in the state.

Clean Air Council PA * Clean Water Action PA * Delaware Riverkeeper Network * Mountain Watershed Association * PennEnvironment * Sierra Club PA Chapter

New research reveals Pennsylvania does not
enforce oil and gas regulations

State enforcement data shows more than 85% of active PA wells go uninspected, discovered violations go increasingly unpunished, repeat violators undeterred
Sep 25th, Washington, D.C. — In association with six Pennsylvania groups, national resource extraction watchdog Earthworks today released an unprecedented study, Breaking All the Rules: The Crisis in Oil & Gas Regulation revealing that states across the country fail to enforce their oil and gas development regulations. The one-year, in-depth examination of enforcement data and practices — in Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, New York, New Mexico and Colorado — also includes interviews with ex-industry and state agency employees.
“Pennsylvania’s enforcement of state oil and gas rules is broken,” said Earthworks’ Senior Staff Attorney Bruce Baizel. He continued, “In Pennsylvania and across the country, public health and safety are at risk because states are failing to uphold the rule of law. Until Pennsylvania can guarantee they are adequately enforcing their own rules on an ongoing basis, the state must not permit new drilling.”
As recounted in the separate Pennsylvania-specific analysis, failure to enforce oil and gas regulations means that Pennsylvania is not seeking, documenting, sanctioning, deterring, and cleaning up problems associated with irresponsible oil and gas operations such as chemical spills, equipment failure, accidents, and discharges into drinking water supplies
Among the study’s findings —
  • More than 85% of all active oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania go uninspected each year: 66,000 wells.
  • Rule violators are rarely punished, even more rarely of late: on average only 20% of violators have been penalized in 2012, down from 24% in 2011.
  • Worst violators are getting worse: effective regulatory enforcement would stop repeat violators. In Pennsylvania, repeat violations are increasing.

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Posted in elections | 1 Comment »

PA Court May Enjoin Voter ID Law

Posted by randyshannon on September 26, 2012

Commonwealth Court Justice Robert E. Simpson, Jr.

Pa. judge raises possibility he will move to block voter ID law


Angela Couloumbis | The Philadelphia Inquirer

HARRISBURG, Pa. — With just six weeks until the presidential election, a judge raised the possibility Tuesday that he would move to block Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law.

“I’m giving you a heads-up,” Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. told lawyers after a day’s testimony on whether the law is being implemented in ways that ensure no voters will be disenfranchised. “I think it’s a possibility there could be an injunction here.”

Simpson then asked lawyers on both sides to be prepared to return to court Thursday to present arguments on what such an injunction should look like. There is no hearing Wednesday because of Yom Kippur.

Simpson gave few if any further clues to what he may decide. But his comments provided a dramatic end to a day of testimony in a protracted and widely watched fight over the law, which requires voters to present photo identification at the polls.

Critics of the law have argued that it is being rushed into effect – it was enacted in March – and will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, particularly minorities, the elderly and the poor. Democrats have branded it a thinly veiled attempt by Republicans to suppress the vote for President Barack Obama on Nov. 6 and boost Mitt Romney’s chances of winning Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.

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Posted in elections | 2 Comments »

Obama Auto Bailout Saves More than Auto Jobs in Our Region

Posted by carldavidson on September 21, 2012

It’s Not Just About Cars

When President Obama took the bold step of saving the U.S. auto industry, he didn’t just save auto assembly jobs. He saved American manufacturing, including 350,000 USW jobs that are part of the auto supply chain.

All About Jobs

The auto rescue helped millions of Americans and Steelworkers from all over: the single mom making axles in Indiana. The lifelong paperworker in Wisconsin making high-glossy paper used in auto catalogs. The kid just out of high school hired into the tire plant in Ohio. The police officer in small town Pennsylvania. The list goes on and on.

Change Delivered

Mitt Romney says he would have let the auto industry fail — let us fail. President Obama believed in us. Saving the American auto industry was courageous. It was politically unpopular. But it was the right thing to do.

Posted in 2012 Election, Economy, Manufacturing, trade unions, unemployment | Leave a Comment »

Next Time You Hear ‘Support Our Troops’ from the Right, Remember This:

Posted by carldavidson on September 19, 2012

GOP Blocks Veteran Jobs Bill

By LAWRENCE DOWNES
Beaver County Peace Links via New York Times

Sept. 19, 2012 – Veterans won’t be getting a new, billion-dollar jobs program, not from this Senate. Republicans on Wednesday afternoon blocked a vote on the Veterans Job Corps Bill after Jeff Sessions of Alabama raised a point of order – he said the bill violated a cap on spending agreed to by Congress last year. The bill’s sponsor, Patty Murray of Washington, said that shouldn’t matter, since the bill’s cost was fully offset by new revenues. She said Mr. Sessions and his party colleagues had been furiously generating excuses to oppose the bill, and were now exploiting a technicality to deny thousands of veterans a shot at getting hired as police officers, firefighters and parks workers, among other things.

The vote was 58-40; the bill needed 60 votes to proceed.

It would be easier to admire the Republicans’ late-breaking fiscal scrupulosity if their motives – denying the Obama administration any kind of victory this year, whatever the cost to jobless vets – weren’t so transparent.  It’s probably useful to remind Republicans like John McCain (a "nay" on the jobs bill) that wounded, jobless and homeless veterans aren’t a fact of nature. They’re a product of the wars that Congress members voted for, the war debt they piled on, and the economy they helped ruin.

"It’s unbelievable that even after more than a decade of war, many Republicans still will not acknowledge that the treatment of our veterans is a cost of war," Ms. Murray said in a statement after the vote.

Posted in antiwar, GOP, unemployment, Vets | Leave a Comment »

One Step Forward for Voting Rights, One Step Back for the GOP

Posted by carldavidson on September 18, 2012

Photo: Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette – Monel Walker, left, from Braddock, receives reassurance about her voter identification from Marian Schneider, a local attorney volunteering at the "My Vote, My Right" awareness event held in front of the PennDOT office on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh today.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court sends Voter ID back to lower court

By Karen Langley
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Sept 18, 2012 HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to revisit its decision that allowed the new voter ID law to remain in effect for the November elections.

If Commonwealth Court finds the state’s implementation of the law will disenfranchise voters in November, the high court has ordered it to issue an injunction.

In its decision not to stop the law immediately, the high court ruled that Commonwealth Court relied on judgments about how the state would educate voters and provide access to acceptable forms of identification. The justices wrote that lawmakers have made "an ambitious effort" to put the photo identification requirement in place by the upcoming elections but that state agencies face "serious operational constraints" in doing so.

Given that, the justices wrote, they are not satisfied with a decision based on assurances of what the state will do to ensure all voters have acceptable identification.

They ordered Commonwealth Court to issue a new decision by Oct. 2 based on the present availability of identification.

"The court is to consider whether the procedures being used for deployment of the cards comport with the requirement of liberal access which the General Assembly attached to the issuance of PennDOT identification cards," the order says.

"If they do not, or if the Commonwealth Court is not still convinced in its predictive judgment that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the Commonwealth’s implementation of a voter identification requirement for purposes of the upcoming election, that court is obliged to enter a preliminary injunction."

The voter ID requirement passed the Legislature with Republican support and was signed into law in March by Gov. Tom Corbett. It requires voters to show one of several forms of photo identification at the polls.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and other groups filed suit, claiming the law violates the state Constitution and would disenfranchise many Pennsylvania voters. After a week of testimony, the Commonwealth Court in August declined to stop the law.

Supreme Court Justices Seamus McCaffery and Debra McCloskey Todd filed dissenting statements.

Justice Todd wrote that she would reverse the lower court’s decision, not return the matter for further consideration. She wrote of an "impending near-certain loss of voting rights" and said the court was allowing the state to essentially ignore the short timeline before the election.

"The eyes of the nation are upon us, and this Court has chosen to punt rather than to act," she wrote.

Justice McCaffery concluded in another dissent that the evolving efforts by state agencies to implement the law "are a tacit admission that (the law) is simply not ready for the prime time" of the November election. He wrote that further hearings are unnecessary and that the high court should order the lower court to issue an injunction.

Karen Langley: klangley@post-gazette.com or 717-787-2141 .

Posted in 2012 Election, GOP, Right Wing, Voting Rights | 1 Comment »

Romney’s Green Energy Job Destruction Plan: Hurting GOP Governors to Hurt Obama

Posted by carldavidson on September 13, 2012

Wind Subsidies Raise a Storm in Heartland States

By Jim Malewitz
SolidarityEconomy.net via PEW’s Stateline

Across the plains of Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and South Dakota, tall turbines with sleek blades dot once-clear horizons, churning out carbon-free energy to add to the nation’s power grid. The blades seem to wave a greeting, on windy days at least, to whoever drives across those open spaces.

The wind industry’s rapid growth has been cause for excitement among both Republican and Democratic policymakers in the heartland states. They welcome the jobs that come with it. In South Dakota, which has the capacity to generate almost a quarter of its energy from the turbines, “wind is not a partisan issue,” says Hunter Roberts, the state’s energy director.

But it is a controversial issue in Washington these days, threatening to stop the turbine boom before it progresses much further. Fiscal hawks in Congress — those who don’t represent wind states — question whether Congress can still afford to dole out the generous tax credit that has helped fuel the industry’s rise. Wind energy credits are just one of several renewable energy incentives set to expire at year’s end.

Wind-state governors, most of them Republicans, have loudly called for the credit’s renewal, writing letters to Congress and speaking through the media. But with the expiration deadline looming, the governors have grown curiously quiet on the issue. That’s since Mitt Romney voiced his opposition to the subsidy, shortly before releasing an energy plan that is heavy on oil and natural gas investments and light on wind and other renewables.

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Posted in 2012 Election, Environment, Green Energy, Green Jobs, Right Wing, unemployment | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

‘Revolution’ from Aliquippa’s Ace Rapper, Dorian Stevens

Posted by carldavidson on September 12, 2012

Posted in elections | Leave a Comment »

Standing Firm: PDA Organizing at Charlotte Convention

Posted by carldavidson on September 5, 2012

Stage being set up for PDA’s Progressive Central’ forum near the Democratic Convention in North Carolina

2012 Convention: Pulling Democrats’ Platform to the Left

By Martin Wisckol
Beaver County Blue via Orange County Register

Sept 5, 2012 – Proudly liberal activist Tim Carpenter, who toiled in Orange County for more than 20 years before resettling in Massachusetts and co-founding Progressive Democrats of America, has made a career of standing staunchly to the left of mainstream Democrats, relentlessly beckoning and cajoling others to come a little closer.

His 8-year-old PDA group was at it again Tuesday, with a “People’s Convention” at a Charlotte church and soup kitchen that featured the Rev. Jesse Jackson, former presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, a couple Congress members, several Congressional hopefuls – including Paul Ryan‘s Democratic opponent – and a host of progressive leaders.

“The country would have been a lot better if Jesse Jackson was elected and, if not, Michael Dukakis,” said Carpenter, recalling the 1988 presidential field from which George H.W. Bush emerged victorious.“We wouldn’t have had Bush I and maybe not Bush II. But (Jackson and Dukakis) are still engaged. And they’re coming here instead of parading around the convention.”

As usual, Carpenter is pushing an agenda beyond which most Democratic lawmakers are ready to support.  But before outlining the list, Carpenter took a moment to celebrate a Tuesday victory: At the Democratic convention, delegates approved a platform backing marriage rights for gays – a clear distinction from Republicans.

“This election is not simply a choice between two candidates or two political parties,” the platform summarizes, “but between two fundamentally different paths for our country and families.”

The specific support for gay marriage comes after President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law and, until recently, Barack Obama opposed gay marriage.

“That’s a victory that’s been a struggle for a long time,” Carpenter said.

Among the 240 people who paid registration dues for the Tuesday event were 92 convention delegates, rallying around eight central issues including:

A single-payer, “Medicare for all” health-care system that, unlike the Affordable Care Act, would leave no American without health insurance. A series of initiatives to diminish corporate influence over the political system. “Main Street, not Wall Street,” Carpenter said. A carbon tax and other measures to address global warming. Immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan. A diplomatic solution to the brewing conflict with Iran. “We’ve got to stop the saber rattling,” Carpenter said.

While it’s trying to pull Obama more toward these positions, PDA supports the incumbent’s reelection as far preferable to a Mitt Romney presidency.

And Carpenter remains as positive and optimistic as ever on a number of fronts. Take, for instance, Rob Zerban, the PDA member challenging vice presidential candidate Ryan in his other race, reelection to Congress.

“Now we get to beat Paul Ryan twice,” he quipped.

Posted in 2012 Election, GOP, Organizing, PDA | Leave a Comment »

If We Can Shoot It Down in Texas, Why Not in Pennsylvania?

Posted by carldavidson on September 1, 2012

Texas Loses Latest Voter ID Battle after Judges Strike Down ‘Retrogressive’ Law

Judges find that law requiring voters to present photo ID at the ballot box placed ‘unforgiving burdens on the poor’

By Chris McGreal
Beaver County Blue via The Guardian, UK

August 30, 2012 – The court said that the law was ‘likely to have a retrogressive effect’ by limiting access to the ballot box. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty

A federal court has struck down a Texas law requiring voters to present photo identification at the ballot box in the second ruling this week to effectively accuse the state of racial discrimination and attempting to manipulate elections.

In an escalating legal battle between mostly Republican-controlled states and the Obama administration over voter ID and other election laws, a panel of three judges in Washington DC found that the Texas legislation imposed "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor" because of the cost and process involved in obtaining identification.

The US justice department told the court that voters would have to pay for birth certificates and travel up to 250 miles to obtain ID cards. The court said this imposed a "heavy burden" on any voter and would be "especially daunting for the working poor" who are more likely to be racial minorities.

The court concluded that if the law was implemented it "will likely have a retrogressive effect" by limiting access to the ballot box. It said that evidence submitted by Texas in support of its claim that the law was not discriminatory – and was necessary to combat voter fraud – was "unpersuasive, invalid, or both".

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Posted in 2012 Election, GOP, Right Wing, Voting Rights | Leave a Comment »

 
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