Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

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Bernie Sanders Lights a Fire under Pennsylvania Democrats at Keystone Progress’s Annual Summit in Harrisburg

Posted by carldavidson on February 10, 2015

By Carl Davidson

BeaverCountyBlue.org

Feb 8, 2015, Harrisburg, PA. If the vote were taken for the Democratic presidential candidate at the Harrisburg Hilton on Saturday, Feb. 7, Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, would likely have won by a landslide.

That was the spirit in the hotel ballroom as Sanders addressed the 800 people gathered for the PA Progressive Summit. The annual meeting, sponsored by Keystone Progress, brought together progressive activists—community and trade union organizers, women’s right and civil rights groups, hopeful candidates and door knockers—all of whom made up the democratic wing of the Democratic Party, from all across the Keystone State.

“I’m going to try something a little different this morning,” said Sanders to start things rolling, “I’m going to tell you the truth.” He got a wave of laughter and cheers from people who often got something else from politicians.

Sanders with Tina Shannon

Sanders with Tina Shannon

Sanders started off with the ‘Citizen United’ Supreme Court decision taking limits off the superrich in funding elections and candidates. “It will go down is history as one of the worse ever made in modern times” Sanders said by way of description. “By a five-to-four vote, it undermined the very foundations of democracy. I know you think the situation is bad, believe me, it’s worse than you think it is.” Billionaires are not satisfied with owning the economy, he explained. They were buying government as well.”

The Koch Brothers, with 85 billion in wealth, were taken as the case in point. Sanders explained that they alone intended to spend over 900 million dollars on the 2016 election—more than the combined total of Obama and Romney in 2012. This meant these “counter-revolutionaries with a far right agenda” would wield more power than both political parties in the recent past.

Turning to the economy, Sanders said while the economy was clearly in better shape than when Obama, first took office, it was still clearly in bad shape. He explained the different meanings of official unemployment figures, with 5.8 percent being the most common number cited, but double that, near 12%, was more accurate.

Then he broke it down further: “We talk a lot about Ferguson, as we should. But we also need to talk more about Black youth unemployment, which is 30 percent. Nobody should be satisfied with where we are today. We have 45 million people living in poverty, another word we need to talk more about today.”

For those worried about deficits, Sanders noted that they had been reduced under Obama. But he also insisted that if they were truly concerned about deficits, they would have stood up against the Iraq war. This remark got wild cheers and everyone out of their seats.

Unfair Impact of Technological Change

Sanders went on to examine ‘the explosion in technology,’ not only i-Phones and i-Pads, but robotics in factories. “All of this has led to a tremendous growth in productivity on the part of American workers.” Such changes logically might suggest workers were paid more or worked shorter hours, he added, “but all of you know, tens of millions of Americans today are working longer hours for less pay.”

This meant anger and stress among workers—impacting both men and women, even if in slightly different ways—needed discussion as a national issue. There was a time, “ancient history” said Sanders, when one worker could work 40 hours and support a family reasonably well. Now women were working along with men, sometimes at two or three jobs, at long hours and low pay, to hobble together enough to support a family. “This causes a lot of anger, and often it’s being angry at the wrong people for the wrong reasons,” he added. “The average male worker, right in the center of the economy, now makes $800 a year less in inflation adjusted dollars than he did 40 years ago. The average female worker in the center makes $1300 a year, even less. They have a lot to be angry about. They want to know why, and our job is to explain it to them.”

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Posted in 2016 Election, Harrisburg, PDA, Right Wing, safety net, Wall Street | 2 Comments »

Time to Narrow the Target: It’s Not ‘Washington,’ It’s Rightwing Republicans

Posted by carldavidson on October 27, 2014

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.

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Posted in 2014 Election, Infrastructure, Right Wing | Leave a Comment »

Meet the Preacher Behind Moral Mondays

Posted by carldavidson on April 29, 2014

Coming to Beaver County in June, The Reverend William Barber is charting a new path for protesting Republican overreach in the South—and maybe beyond.

By Lisa Rab

Beaver County Blue via Mother Jones

April 14, 2014 – The Reverend William Barber is charting a new path for protesting conservative overreach in the North Carolina—and beyond.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, the Reverend William Barber II [1] reclined uncomfortably in a chair in his office, sipping bottled water as he recovered from two hours of strenuous preaching. When he was in his early 20s, Barber was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful arthritic condition affecting the spine. Still wearing his long black robes, the 50-year-old minister recounted how, as he’d proclaimed in a rolling baritone from the pulpit that morning, "a crippled preacher has found his legs."

It began a few days before Easter 2013, recalled Barber, pastor at the Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and president of the state chapter [2] of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). "On Maundy Thursday, they chose to crucify voting rights," he said.

"They" are North Carolina Republicans, who in November 2012 took control of the state Legislature and the governor’s mansion for the first time in more than a century. Among their top priorities—along with blocking Medicaid expansion and cutting unemployment benefits and higher-education spending—was pushing through a raft of changes to election laws, including reducing the number of early voting days, ending same-day voter registration, and requiring ID at the polls. "That’s when a group of us said, ‘Wait a minute, this has just gone too far,’" Barber said.

Barber "believed we needed to kind of burst this bubble of ‘There’s nothing we can do for two years until the next election.’"

On the last Monday of April 2013, Barber led a modest group of clergy and activists into the state legislative building in Raleigh. They sang "We Shall Overcome," quoted the Bible, and blocked the doors to the Senate chambers. Barber leaned on his cane as capitol police led him away in handcuffs.

That might have been the end of just another symbolic protest, but then something happened: The following Monday, more than 100 protesters showed up at the capitol. Over the next few months, the weekly crowds at the "Moral Mondays" protests grew to include hundreds, and then thousands, not just in Raleigh but also in towns around the state. The largest gathering, in February, drew tens of thousands of people [3]. More than 900 protesters have been arrested for civil disobedience over the past year. Copycat movements have started in Florida [4], Georgia [5], South Carolina [6], and Alabama [7] in response to GOP legislation regarding Medicaid and gun control.

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Posted in African-Americans, Poverty, Racism, Right Wing, safety net, Voting Rights | Leave a Comment »

Follow the Money: Don’t Expect Much from Christiana by Way of Supporting Teachers and Public Schools

Posted by carldavidson on April 8, 2013

Representin’ Like A Representative: A Look At Jim Christiana’s Campaign Cash

Jim Christiana with his wife in NyCity as posted to his Twitter feed.

Jim Christiana with his wife in New York City in front of a car fire, as posted to his official Twitter feed.

By John Paul – Founder of BeaverCountian.com

Published on April 07, 2013 at 7:03 pm

State Representative Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) received more political contributions last year than all of the other five state reps for Beaver County combined, money the candidate used to help finance a lavish lifestyle, an investigation by the Beaver Countian has revealed.

Campaign finance reports from 2012 show Christiana received nearly $310,000 in political donations. Democratic Representative Rob Maztie came in a distant second, bringing in just shy of $84,000. Representative Jim Marshall, the county’s other Republican representative, received only $52,675 in contributions.

In just one month, between March 6th and April 9th of last year, Christiana’s campaign saw donations to his campaign in excess of $88,000. He brought in half of that sum again between April 10th and May 14th, another $48,000. The months between May and October saw an additional $164,400 added to his coffers. Despite extensive spending by the candidate, Christiana’s campaign account had over a quarter of a million dollars sitting in it at one point during the last election cycle.

By comparison, Christiana’s rival in the last election, Democrat Bobby Williams, raised just over $20,000 during his entire campaign.

While Representative Christiana failed to respond to inquiries from the Beaver Countian made at the end of March, Beaver County Commissioners say they were stunned to learn just how much money has been flowing through his hands.

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Posted in Education, elections, GOP, Right Wing | 1 Comment »

Union Busting Coming Our Way via GOP and Koch Reactionaries

Posted by carldavidson on January 22, 2013

‘Right-to-work’ legislation proposed in Pennsylvania legislature

 

By Ned Resnikof

Beaver County Blue via MSNBC

Jan 22, 2013 – A little more than a month after Michigan Republicans successfully passed landmark anti-union legislation in their state, members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly are attempting to follow in their footsteps. Six Republican state representatives are each bringing their own “right-to-work” style bill to the State House floor, as part of an effort collectively known as the Open Workforce Initiative.

One of the legislators involved, Rep. Darryl Metcalfe, has reportedly introduced right-to-work bills during every legislative session of the past 14 years. ”The framers of our Constitution did not intend for our government to become an enforcer for unions,” he explains on his website. “Working men and women should have the freedom to join a union if they choose and to leave that union when it is in their best interest to do so.”

Metcalfe’s success record so far might reassure union allies that Pennsylvania is unlikely to turn into another Michigan. In fact, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, a Republican, said as much during the Michigan right-to-work battle, telling reporters, “There is not much of a movement to do it.”

However, Corbett has also said he would sign right-to-work legislation if it came across his desk.

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Posted in GOP, Right Wing, trade unions | Leave a Comment »

White Racial Resentment: The Elephant in the Room

Posted by carldavidson on October 27, 2012

AP Poll: A Slight Majority of Americans Are Now Expressing Negative View Of Blacks

By Associated Press
October 27, 2012

WASHINGTON — Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not.

Those views could cost President Barack Obama votes as he tries for re-election, the survey found, though the effects are mitigated by some people’s more favorable views of blacks.

Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly.

In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.

“As much as we’d hope the impact of race would decline over time … it appears the impact of anti-black sentiment on voting is about the same as it was four years ago,” said Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University professor who worked with AP to develop the survey.

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Posted in 2012 Election, GOP, Obama, Racism, Right Wing | Leave a Comment »

Deny the GOP It’s Secret Weapon: Progressives Who Are Dispirited and Disengaged

Posted by carldavidson on October 22, 2012

Three Reasons Why The Race Is So Close – Nine Reasons Why Obama Will Win

By Robert Creamer
Progressive America Rising via HuffPost

Oct 21, 2012 – As Election Day grows closer, some pundits seem almost breathless in their prediction that the Presidential election will be close. Well, of course it will be close. It has been obvious from the campaign’s first day that it would be close. But there is overwhelming evidence that President Obama will win.

Why is the race so close?

1). First and foremost, the Republican’s trickledown, let-Wall-Street-run-wild policies sent the economy into a catastrophic recession just as Obama took office. This was not your run of the mill business cycle recession. It was caused by a financial collapse the likes of which American had not seen since the Great Depression.

The historic evidence is very clear that whenever there is a recession induced by a financial collapse, it take years for an economy to recover. American did not fully recover from the Great Depression itself until World War II – almost twelve years after the stock market collapsed.

Had the Republicans remained in office and responded as Republican President Hoover did in 1929, the same fate could have awaited America once again. But instead, the Obama Administration moved immediately to stimulate the economy and shore up the financial system – and especially to rescue the auto industry – using policies that in most cases the GOP opposed.

Those policies have set the economy on a path toward sustained growth. But the Republicans have been hell bent on stalling growth with the expressed purpose of defeating Obama this fall. They have sabotaged the economy by preventing even a vote on the Americans Jobs Act that most economists believe would create another 1.7 million jobs and would have prevented massive layoffs in state and local governments.

Mitt Romney is like an arsonist who complains that the fire department isn’t putting out his fire fast enough – and then tries to convince America to allow him to take over the effort armed with buckets of gasoline – the same failed policies that caused the fire in the first place.

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

A Solid Debate between a Progressive Democrat and a Top GOP Rightwinger

Posted by carldavidson on October 12, 2012

Virginia Democrat Wayne Powell came out swinging Monday and remained on the offensive throughout the first debate in the race for Virginia’s 7th congressional district seat, accusing U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of abdicating his role as a leader of Congress and repeatedly slamming him for his lack of military service, while the visibly agitated six-term incumbent labored to furiously fend off the flurry of attacks.

Mr. Powell’s campaign has vowed to frame Mr. Cantor to both his constituents and the entire country as an unapologetic partisan irrevocably beholden to large corporations and special interest groups — and the former Army colonel wasted no time in lobbing grenades at the Republican incumbent Monday evening in Richmond before a national audience on C-SPAN2.

“He never talks about working people — he only talks about business people,” Mr. Powell said in the hour-long forum hosted by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “These people are suffering — I’ve seen them all the time … you’re so far removed from reality, I don’t think you even know what a small business is except for a hedge fund.”

Posted in 2012 Election, Democrats, GOP, PDA, Right Wing, Wall Street | 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 »

 
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