Protesters Rally for Officials to ‘Do the Right Thing’
People gather at the Beaver County Courthouse to raise awareness of several social and economic issues.
By Kirstin Kennedy
Beaver County Times
Oct 28, 2014 – BEAVER — Everyone knows the First Amendment gives citizens the right to assemble. Few regularly exercise it.
But that wasn’t the case Monday evening on the steps of the Beaver County Courthouse, when over 30 people gathered with signs and chants.
Willie Sallis, president of the NAACP in Beaver County, said he helped to gather the protest to pressure elected officials to "just do the right thing."
"What is the moral thing to do? … That’s what we’re trying to keep alive with the union and the civil rights leaders," he said. Sallis paired with several other organizations — including members of local labor unions — for the rally, with the hope of raising awareness of several social and economic issues.
Inspired by a recent lecture given locally by the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, Sallis dubbed the rally Moral Monday.
"What’s the right thing to do for the poor?" Sallis said. "What’s the right thing to do for health benefits? What’s the right thing to do when it comes to jobs? What’s the right thing to do when it comes to minimum wages? All we’re saying is, ‘Look, do the right thing.’"
On the courthouse lawn, participants chanted, "Keep it fair; we care."
Continue reading ‘Moral Mondays’ Launched in Western PA
Ideology and Investment
By Paul Krugman
New York Times Opinion
Oct 26, 2014 – America used to be a country that built for the future. Sometimes the government built directly: Public projects, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, provided the backbone for economic growth. Sometimes it provided incentives to the private sector, like land grants to spur railroad construction. Either way, there was broad support for spending that would make us richer.
But nowadays we simply won’t invest, even when the need is obvious and the timing couldn’t be better. And don’t tell me that the problem is “political dysfunction” or some other weasel phrase that diffuses the blame. Our inability to invest doesn’t reflect something wrong with “Washington”; it reflects the destructive ideology that has taken over the Republican Party.
Some background: More than seven years have passed since the housing bubble burst, and ever since, America has been awash in savings — or more accurately, desired savings — with nowhere to go. Borrowing to buy homes has recovered a bit, but remains low. Corporations are earning huge profits, but are reluctant to invest in the face of weak consumer demand, so they’re accumulating cash or buying back their own stock. Banks are holding almost $2.7 trillion in excess reserves — funds they could lend out, but choose instead to leave idle.
And the mismatch between desired saving and the willingness to invest has kept the economy depressed. Remember, your spending is my income and my spending is your income, so if everyone tries to spend less at the same time, everyone’s income falls.
Continue reading Time to Narrow the Target: It’s Not ‘Washington,’ It’s Rightwing Republicans
Tom Wolfe holds election rally at Aliquippa Elks Lodge
Tom Wolf, right, shakes hands with Beaver County commissioner Joe Spanik before an election rally on Sunday, October 26, 2014, at the Aliquippa Elks Lodge on Brodhead Road in Aliquippa.
By David Taube
Beaver County Times
Oct 26, 2014 HOPEWELL TWP. — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf visited Beaver County again on Sunday, calling the election a chance for voters to say what they are not and what they could be.
The York County businessman echoed a recent campaign statement that Pennsylvania’s job creation was the worst in the country since 2011, based on federal data, suggesting the state could capitalize on its port access as one economic possibility. He also repeatedly stated that residents shouldn’t take polls too seriously.
Speaking to 60-plus people at Aliquippa Elks Lodge 1221 on Sunday, he said the upcoming election is a chance to move Pennsylvania and the country in the right direction.
“If you want to look at Pennsylvania over the last four years, it’s really a clinical test of the last 40 years,” Wolf said. “What we’ve been told over the last 40 years is ‘The real world is an unfair place. Let that 1 percent take over, and they’re going to show us wonderful things.’
“It hasn’t worked,” he said.
Wolf has visited Aliquippa or Hopewell Township several times in the last few months, and Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker said Wolf’s third visit on Sunday meant he was now family. He visited Aliquippa Elementary School on Aug. 25 and the Aliquippa Junior-Senior High School on Oct. 13.
Continue reading Wolf Highlights Inland Port Infrastructure for PA Job Potential
From Tina Shannon:
Monday, October 27th, is a big day for Beaver County.
It’s the day we’ll have our first Moral Monday rally at the Beaver County Court House.
At 6:00 PM we’ll all gather on the steps of the Court House in Beaver to announce our intentions. We intend to follow our moral compass & use our energy to address the issues facing Beaver County & Pennsylvania.
Public education is under attack. It’s harder than ever to make a living because unions are under attack too. There aren’t enough jobs. Our very water is being threatened because of cuts to the agencies that are supposed to protect it. Inequality is at an all time high, with our brothers & sisters in the African American community suffering the worst. We intend to gather people together & address these issues & other issues that hurt our beloved community.
Please please join us. It’s the beginning of coming together. It’s the beginning of reaching out. It’s the beginning of standing & listening to each other & finding the way forward.
With love & solidarity,
Tina Shannon, 12th CD Progressive Democrats of America
Read more on Moral Mondays:
Activists to Watch: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber | BillMoyers.com
Photo: Tartaglione with union allies
Senator Tartaglione Rises to Defeat ‘Paycheck Protection’ in Statehouse
HARRISBURG, Oct. 15, 2014 – State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione today helped to quash a backdoor attempt to weaken unions by joining a bipartisan push to defeat an amendment that would have prohibited employers from automatically deducting membership dues from a worker’s paycheck.
Called “paycheck protection” by proponents, Tartaglione said the proposal, introduced by Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York) as an amendment to a bill designed to help children with food allergies, was not democratic.
“The only thing Sen. Wagner’s amendment would do is eliminate unions’ abilities to choose who they want to represent them in government,” Tartaglione said. “It would eliminate the voices of the men and women who work hard day-in and day-out to put food on the table for their families, just because they belong to a union.
“Union members can already decide whether or not they want to contribute to union political spending. The law protects them if they choose not to contribute. And, she said, for every hour worked by a teacher, the money they earn for that work is no longer the state’s money; it is the employee’s.
“So, I ask you: why do we call this measure ‘paycheck protection?’” she said on the Senate floor.
Tartaglione added that voting in favor of the Wagner amendment would have handed control of the commonwealth to corporations “and their one-sided political agendas.”
By: Ellen Bravo
Beaver County Blue via FireDogLake
Oct. 17, 2014 – It had all the trappings of an ALEC-backed attack on democracy: Push out a bill prohibiting local governments from passing workplace protections in their own communities. If all else failed, tack the measure onto some popular bill as an amendment and hope the supporters of that bill would want it badly enough to allow the hostile amendment to stand.
Only this time the strategy didn’t work, thanks to the strong stand of progressive legislators and the smart organizing of a broad coalition – particularly the leadership of anti-violence advocates.
In this case, the state was Pennsylvania. The preemption attempt was aimed at stopping future passage of a municipal paid sick days ordinance. And the popular bill held hostage was one to aid those who experience domestic violence.
First Rep. Seth Grove, a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council or “ALEC,” tried to pass a stand-alone bill that would take away the right of local units of government to pass laws ensuring workers could earn paid sick days – or even unpaid leave. Other legislators added multiple amendments to the bill that would have required every elected official to take votes that might have been unpopular with their constituents. The measure didn’t move.
So another ALEC member, John Eichelberger, decided to try a different tack: stick the preemption provision as an amendment onto a bipartisan bill to help those experiencing domestic violence. HB 1796 was written to exempt victims of domestic violence from “nuisance ordinances” that allow landlords to evict those who call 911 more than a certain number of times within a given period. The bill had passed the House with broad bipartisan support.
Continue reading The Right Wing’s ALEC Takes a Hit in Harrisburg
Oppose Credit Unions’ Support for Politicians Who Oppose Working Families’ Interests
by Randy Shannon
Most of our credit unions are members of CUNA – the Credit Union National Association. CUNA’s political action committee has donated $20,000 to right wing Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. They plan to spend another $300,000 in radio and TV adds for McConnell in hopes that he will become Senate Majority leader.
McConnell is in a tight race against Democrat Alison Grimes in Kentucky.
Please sign and circulate this petition. Contact your credit union officers and ask them to pass a resolution against this expenditure of our money.
Sign Petition HERE
McConnell Bid Earns $300K CULAC Support
CUNA told CU Times on Thursday that its political action committee, CULAC, filed notice with the FEC of a $300,000 independent expenditure on behalf of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in his re-election campaign.
McConnell is locked in a tight race against Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-Ky.). If the current minority leader wins his midterm bid, and Republicans win a majority of Senate seats, McConnell would presumably become majority leader, setting the Senate’s agenda.
CULAC, CUNA’s PAC, has already donated $10,000 to McConnell’s campaign as well as $10,000 to his leadership PAC, according to Trey Hawkins, CUNA vice president of political affairs.
NAFCU’s PAC contributed $7,500 to McConnell, according to NAFCU Vice President of Political Affairs Katie Marisic.
CUNA plans to spend approximately $274,000 on television advertisements for McConnell and $25,000 in radio ads.
A CUNA spokesperson told CU Times they have not planned independent expenditures for additional candidates at this time.
Natural gas burns more cleanly than coal, but that’s not enough to reduce global carbon emissions, researchers say.
Waste gas is burned off at a hydraulic fracturing site in March near Buttonwillow, Calif. Five research teams found that natural gas alone won’t curb climate change.
By Alan Neuhauser
Beaver County Blue via US News & World Report
Oct. 15, 2014 – Natural gas won’t save us.
Despite the lofty claims of industry groups and President Barack Obama, the so-called natural gas revolution will not discernibly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, putting the globe no closer to averting catastrophic climate change, according to five independently developed models conducted by teams of researchers around the world and summarized in a new paper Wednesday.
"The high hopes that natural gas will help reduce global warming because of technical superiority to coal turn out to be misguided,” study co-author Nico Bauer, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, said in a statement. “The main factor here is that an abundance of natural gas leads to a price drop and expansion of total primary energy supply."
For this very reason, most of the studies projected, widespread natural gas consumption actually will make global warming worse.
“Abundant gas alone will not solve climate change on its own in the absence of climate change mitigation policy,” says economist Haewon McJeon of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, who helped lead the American research team. “These five models are very different in its architecture and assumptions. The one thing we agreed on is it’s not going to solve climate change.”
Continue reading Booming Natural Gas Won’t Slow Global Warming
Tom Wolf with Mayor Dwan Walker (Photo Credit: KDKA)
By Jon Delano
BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — Students in Aliquippa had the day off — except for the undefeated football team hard at practice.
But that didn’t stop Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf from pushing his education plan at the high school.
“We’d like to welcome you all. If you’ve never been here before, this is Aliquippa,” quipped Mayor Dwan Walker.
Walker, with State Rep. Rob Matzie and school superintendent Dave Wytiaz, briefed the candidate before a short press conference.
“I’m here because this is important to me as a Pennsylvanian,” said Wolf.
“Education actually matters,” he added. “It doesn’t matter because I’m running for governor. It matters to all of us who want to build a business in Pennsylvania. It matters to all of us who want to build a family in Pennsylvania. It matters to all of us who actually care about a society where people can actually get a head. This is how we transform lives.”
By imposing an extraction tax on natural gas drilling, Wolf pledged to bring state funding of education back up to half of school spending
Continue reading At Visit To Aliquippa HS, Wolf Talks Schools And Taxes