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Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

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Sanders Still Rising; Republican Nightmare Worsens

Posted by carldavidson on March 7, 2016


By Robert Borosage
Campaign for America’s Future

March 7, 2016 – Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders won three of four state contests over the weekend. On the Republican side, Ted Cruz emerged as the leading challenger to Donald Trump in what is quickly becoming a two-man race. And the seventh Democratic debate, in Flint, Mich., highlighted the differences between the parties as much as the differences between the two contenders.

Democrats: Sanders Still Rising

Sanders took the caucuses in Nebraska, Kansas and Maine, while losing the Louisiana primary, as Clinton continued her sweep of the red states of the South. While the mainstream media – egged on by the Clinton campaign – edges towards calling the race over, Sanders keeps on rising. His expanding army of small donors continues to fuel his campaign. And he can look forward to growing support – particularly in the contests after mid-March, as he introduces himself to more and more voters.

For Clinton, the victory in Louisiana showed her “firewall” of African-American voters continues to hold. The two candidates ended dividing the delegates won over the weekend, showing the tough challenge Sanders faces. But Clinton’s losses in the caucuses should raise concern. Unlike 2008, she is organized and intent on competing in the caucus states. But she clearly has trouble rousing the passions of the activist voters who tend to dominate caucuses.

Republicans: The Donald Is The Moderate

The Republican race is rapidly turning into a two-man faceoff between Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Trump won the Louisiana primary and the Kentucky caucus over the weekend. Cruz won the caucuses in Kansas and Maine. Marco Rubio and Governor John Kasich trailed badly in all four. Rubio did pick up the Puerto Rican primary on Sunday.

Clearly, the much ballyhooed plan of the “Republican establishment” to rally around Marco Rubio has collapsed. Rubio’s schoolyard taunts at Donald Trump haven’t helped him. If Rubio doesn’t win Florida on March 15 – and he trails badly in the most recent polls – he is gone. If Kasich doesn’t win Ohio, the race may be virtually over.

Now Republicans must look on their works in horror. Trump – the xenophobic, racist, misogynistic blowhard – is the moderate in the race. Cruz, the most hated Republican in the Senate, is a right-wing zealot. He criticizes Trump not for being extreme, but for being squishy – on abortion, on immigration, on judges, on government. Moderate Republicans may now try to rally around John Kasich, if he wins Ohio. Good luck with that.

Their choice is winnowing down to the disruptor against the zealot. The politics of resentment and racial division have blown up in their faces.

The Democratic Contrast: We Do Substance

The most notable contrast during the seventh Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan was not between Clinton and Sanders, but between the Democrats and the Republicans. As Andrea Bernstein, editor at WNYC, tweeted: “Democratic debate so far: guns, schools, health care, trade, infrastructure, transportation, welfare, racism. GOP debate last week: hand size.”

The Democratic exchange was feistier than normal. Clinton is perfecting the technique of interrupting Sanders, hoping to set off a testy explosion. The campaign and the press tried to make much of Sanders telling her “Excuse me, I’m talking.” But after the Republican melee, this is pretty hard case to make. Sanders remains the courtliest of contenders.

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Posted in 2016 Election, Democrats, GOP | Leave a Comment »

Lesson from History: 150 Years Back, Elections Mattered, Too, Only Then the GOP Was Progressive

Posted by carldavidson on November 2, 2014

1864, Lincoln vs. McClellan: How Allegheny County voted

A pivotal presidential contest in the thick of the Civil War, the election was hotly contested in Pittsburgh. Note the role of the ‘Wide Awakes,’ the Insurgent Youth of the time.

20141102hoabelincoln001local Cartoon of Abe Lincoln and Gen. George McClellan prior to 1864 election. Illustration in Harper's Weekly, June 25, 1864.

Cartoon of Abe Lincoln and Gen. George McClellan prior to 1864 election. Illustration in Harper’s Weekly, June 25, 1864.

Voting rites in 1864: messy and unfair, but rough justice

By Len Barcousky

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nov 2, 2014 – While the editors at Pittsburgh’s Gazette and Post disagreed on almost every issue, the rival newspapers were united on one topic: the importance of the presidential election of 1864.

“The hour has come,” The Pittsburgh Daily Gazette told voters on Nov. 8, election day. “The decisive blow must be struck today.”

“The main issue … is no less than the preservation of our country and with it the preservation of our liberties,” The Daily Pittsburgh Post opined.

Despite worrisome results in congressional elections a month earlier that showed Republican gains, Democrats in southwestern Pennsylvania were counting on a win in the presidential contest.

The Post was the city’s pre-eminent Democratic newspaper, and its editor, James P. Barr expressed confidence.

Six days before the election “the Democracy of Washington, Beaver and Allegheny counties, with their wives, children and sweethearts, turned out en masse to vindicate the Union and the Constitution,” the Post reported Nov. 4. The mass meeting was held in Clinton, Findlay Township.

The march of Democratic supporters, led by Allegheny County delegations from Moon, Crescent, North Fayette and Findlay, “took three-quarters of an hour to pass,” the newspaper said. “The States were represented by a wagon filled with young girls, appropriately clad and adorned, drawn by 35 horses ridden by lads uniformly clothed …”

Why 35 horses and riders? The Union, until the admission of Nevada on Oct. 31, 1864, had 35 states.

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Posted in Democrats, elections, GOP, Racism | 1 Comment »

Wolf Highlights Inland Port Infrastructure for PA Job Potential

Posted by carldavidson on October 27, 2014

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.

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Posted in 2014 Election, Democrats, Infrastructure | Leave a Comment »

Congressional Progressive Caucus Increasingly Vocal, Critical of Obama

Posted by carldavidson on August 5, 2014

progressive-caucus

By Andrew Gripp

Beaver County Blue via IVN-US

August 4, 2014 – Since President Obama’s inauguration and Rick Santelli’s movement-making call to action that inspired the tea party, national politics has been a triangular affair, with the Republican “establishment” caught in the middle between an anti-incumbent reaction and a seemingly united Democratic front. This triangular dynamic guiding policymaking in the past few years — from the credit downgrade to the fiscal cliff to the government shutdown – has led to the exclusion of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party from having much of a say in legislative affairs.

Like the Republican Party, the Democratic Party is not without its own internal fissure – one that could widen and surface preceding the presidential primary process when the Democratic Party will have to reinvent itself in the waning months of the Obama era.

An ideological and organizational X-ray of the Democratic Party in Congress reveals a surprising split: there are approximately 20 members of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition in the legislature, while the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) boasts more than 60 members. With progressive and even nonpartisan outlets and pundits calling for progressive candidates like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Governor Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) to run, progressives – much ignored in the fracas of the last several years — might begin to find venues to ventilate their ideas.

"The Better Off Budget promised to create 8.8 million jobs by 2017 — including 4.6 million after one year."

The CPC — founded in 1991 and currently led by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) — has been especially active since the 111th Congress took its collective seat in 2009 and has not been afraid to challenge the president during his politically-mandated drift rightward since taking office.

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Posted in 2014 Election, Democrats, Obama, PDA | Leave a Comment »

Pittsburgh and The Revolt of the Cities

Posted by carldavidson on April 26, 2014

AN ARTICLE FOR DISCUSSION. During the past 20 years, immigrants and young people have transformed the demographics of urban America. Now, they’re transforming its politics and mapping the future of liberalism.

By Harold Meyerson
Beaver County Blue via American Prospect

Pittsburgh is the perfect urban laboratory,” says Bill Peduto, the city’s new mayor. “We’re small enough to be able to do things and large enough for people to take notice.” More than its size, however, it’s Pittsburgh’s new government—Peduto and the five like-minded progressives who now constitute a majority on its city council—that is turning the city into a laboratory of democracy. In his first hundred days as mayor, Peduto has sought funding to establish universal pre-K education and partnered with a Swedish sustainable-technology fund to build four major developments with low carbon footprints and abundant affordable housing. Even before he became mayor, while still a council member, he steered to passage ordinances that mandated prevailing wages for employees on any project that received city funding and required local hiring for the jobs in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ new arena. He authored the city’s responsible-banking law, which directed government funds to those banks that lent in poor neighborhoods and away from those that didn’t.

Pittsburgh is a much cleaner city today than it was when it housed some of the world’s largest steel mills. But, like postindustrial America generally, it is also a much more economically divided city. When steel dominated the economy, the companies’ profits and the union’s contracts made Pittsburgh—like Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago—a city with a thriving working class. Today, with the mills long gone, Pittsburgh has what Gabe Morgan, who heads the local union of janitorial and building maintenance workers, calls an “eds and meds” economy. Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh, and its medical center are among the region’s largest employers, generating thousands of well-paid professional positions and a far greater number of low-wage service-sector jobs.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto

Peduto, who is 49 years old, sees improving the lot of Pittsburgh’s new working class as his primary charge. In his city hall office, surrounded by such artifacts as a radio cabinet from the years when the city became home to the world’s first radio station, the new mayor outlined the task before him. “My grandfather, Sam Zarroli, came over in 1921 from Abruzzo,” he said. “He only had a second-grade education, but he was active in the Steel Workers Organizing Committee in its early years, and he made a good life for himself and his family. My challenge in today’s economy is how to get good jobs for people with no PhDs but with a good work ethic and GEDs. How do I get them the same kind of opportunities my grandfather had? All the mayors elected last year are asking this question.”

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Posted in Democrats, Organizing, Pittsburgh, trade unions, Youth and students | Leave a Comment »

Progressive ‘Back to Work’ Budget Wins Praise for Anti-Austerity Approach

Posted by carldavidson on March 14, 2013

‘A reminder that we don’t need to cut teachers and school lunches when we can eliminate wasteful giveaways to fossil fuel corporations.’  Watch Rep. Keith Ellison introduce the budget here:

By Jon Queally 
Beaver County Blue via CommonDreams.org

March 14, 2013 – In the midst of ongoing hysteria about a ‘non-existent deficit crisis’ in Washington, the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Wednesday unveiled an alternative approach to destructive austerity economics by releasing their ‘Back to Work Budget’ plan for 2014.

Pushing back specifically on the dominant talking point of inside-the-Beltway elites, the budget challenges the idea that cutting programs, reducing corporate tax rates, and slashing investments is a pathway to economic prosperity. Its proponents argue the US does not have "a deficit crisis"—as those pushing for steep cuts suggest—but rather, "a jobs crisis."

Presented by CPC co-chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison and backed by members of the caucus’ Budget Task force—Reps. Jim McDermott, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan—the plan describes how smart investments, not deep cuts to key programs, would create almost 7 million jobs over the first year of its implementation.

“Americans face a choice,” Grijalva and Ellison said. “We can either cut Medicare benefits to pay for more tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, or we can close outdated tax loopholes and invest in jobs. We choose investment.”

They continue:

    The Back to Work Budget invests in America’s future because the best way to reduce our long-term deficit is to put America back to work. In the first year alone, we create nearly 7 million American jobs and increase GDP by 5.7%. We reduce unemployment to near 5% in three years with a jobs plan that includes repairing our nation’s roads and bridges, and putting the teachers, cops and firefighters who have borne the brunt of our economic downturn back to work. We reduce the deficit by $4.4 trillion by closing tax loopholes and asking the wealthy to pay a fair share. We repeal the arbitrary sequester and the Budget Control Act that are damaging the economy, and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid, which provide high quality, low-cost medical coverage to millions of Americans when they need it most. This is what the country voted for in November. It’s time we side with America’s middle class and invest in their future.

Received as a breath of fresh air of economic sanity, the plan was praised by a variety of individuals and groups.

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Posted in budget crisis, Democrats, Economy, GOP, Infrastructure, Tax Policy, Wall Street | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Report from PDA’S Winslow Leadership Meeting

Posted by carldavidson on March 12, 2013

‘This Is Our Year!’

Posted in Democrats, Organizing, PDA | Leave a Comment »

Why We Like Elizabeth Warren!

Posted by carldavidson on February 15, 2013

Elizabeth Warren Grills Banking Regulators at First Hearing

By Rachel Rose Hatman

Yahoo News

Democrats eager to see consumer champion Elizabeth Warren take Wall Street’s biggest banks to task got their wish on Thursday when the newly elected Democratic senator made her debut at a Senate Banking Committee hearing.

"What I’d like to know is tell me a little bit about the last few times you’ve taken the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street all the way to a trial," the Massachusetts lawmaker said to applause, speaking to the federal regulators gathered for a hearing on Wall Street reform.

No witnesses spoke up.

Warren raised her eyebrows. "Anybody?" she asked.

Thomas Curry, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, spoke up: "We’ve actually had a fair number of consent orders. We do not have to bring people to a trial…"

"I appreciate that you say you don’t have to bring them to trial," Warren said. "My question is, when did you bring them to trial?"

"We have not had to do it as a practical matter to achieve our supervisory goals," Curry said.

Warren moved on to the rest of the panel, knowing full well that none of the regulators present have brought a Wall Street bank to trial.

"I’m really concerned that ‘too big to fail’ has become ‘too big for trial,’" Warren later said.

Warren ousted Republican Sen. Scott Brown in November in a hard-fought campaign. She was President Barack Obama’s first pick in 2011 to head up the government’s newly established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an entity the former Harvard University law professor and attorney helped create. But Republicans in Washington essentially killed her nomination, citing her record of taking on big banks and Wall Street. That opposition helped boost Warren’s reputation and led Democrats nationwide to embrace her decision to run for U.S. Senate.

Posted in Banks, Democrats, Economy, PDA | 2 Comments »

PDA Greets Inaugural with ‘Progressive Central 3’ in DC, Vows to Fight for Jobs and Fair Trade

Posted by carldavidson on January 31, 2013

Discussing Fair and Unfair Jobs, and MORE!

Dear Beaver County Progressives:

Guest Speakers and Staff at Progressive Central

PDA’s January 19th pre-inaugural event in Washington DC–Progressive Central III–alerted us to a hazardous new trade agreement in the making.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), negotiated in deep secrecy, would supersede environmental regulations, labor rights, and consumer safety. This agreement would make it even more difficult to regulate the financial industry.

‘Buy American’ would be outlawed.

Ms. Lori Wallach from Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, as a Progressive Central panelist, delivered a concise and highly informative explanation of what this pending trade agreement contains. She will be our special guest on our next Economic and Social Justice call.

Pennsylvania has been one of the states hardest hit by corporate trade agreements.

We would like to think that President Obama will take a more progressive approach to trade. However, we are acutely aware that trade agreements have been controlled by the top financial corporations and have exclusively benefited the 1%.

Members and friends of PDA in Pennsylvania will want to stay current on these trade talks and prepared to take action along with our allies to prevent more damage to our economy and our social stability.

I hope you’ll consider joining PDA in our “Educate Congress” campaign each month. You can visit with or do a letter drop at a local Congressional office, or back up those who do with phone calls. Our coalition is growing and we are working in conjunction with the Jobs Not Wars campaign to educate Congress on what the people of Pennsylvania and America, really need:

Prosperity Not Austerity.

Contact conor@pdamerica.org to get involved! You can also work with an issue organizing team (like our Economic and Social Justice Team) and / or help to start or connect with a local chapter in your area. Please help support our organizing with a contribution. Feel free to email me at pennsylvania@pdamerica.org with any questions.

Please watch Lori Wallach’s comments from Progressive Central (coming soon), as well as the rest of the exciting videos from this great event at the PDA YouTube channel!

In solidarity,

Randy Shannon
PDA PA State Coordinator
Economic and Social Justice Team Coordinator

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Posted in Democrats, fair trade, Green Jobs, PDA | 1 Comment »

An Ugly Deal: 4 Reasons the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Deal Is Worse Than It Looks

Posted by carldavidson on January 2, 2013

By Robert Borosage
Beaver County Blue via OurFuture.org

Jan 1, 2013 – Early this morning, the Senate passed the fiscal cliff deal by 89-8, a margin virtually guaranteeing that it will survive in the House.  The deal has some good parts.  It lets the Bush tax cuts expire on the wealthy, raises the estate tax marginally and increases taxes on capital gains and dividends a bit.  Unemployment benefits are extended for a year.  Tax boosts for the low paid workers – the child tax credit, expanded earned income credit, refundable tuition tax credits – are extended, if only for five years.  Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are not touched.

But no one should be fooled.  This is an ugly deal, with foul implications for the coming months.

1.  Setting Up the Next Extortion

The most ominous part of the deal is what was left out.  The deal makes no provision for lifting the debt ceiling.  It postpones the sequester (automatic cuts in domestic and military spending) for only two months.  It is a smaller deficit reduction package than that originally sought by the president.  It therefore sets up the right-wing House zealots to hold the economy hostage once more, while demanding deep cuts in public services (known as cuts in domestic spending), backed by a media frenzy about deficits.  And while Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid escaped unscathed in this deal, they will be the prime targets in the coming debate.

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Posted in budget crisis, Democrats, GOP, safety net, unemployment | 1 Comment »

 
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