Friday, August 31, 2012

Inherit Some Money!

The world's richest woman, who inherited her $30 billion fortune, says if you're poor it's only because you're lazy or you drink too much.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bernie On The Deficit Hawks

Our favorite senator speaks out.

Voter Suppression

The new voter suppression law in Pennsylvania looks like something jointly crafted by Kafka and Orwell.  The complexity and maddening delays built into it will discourage many.  It is estimated that as many as 750,000 Pennsylvanians will be disenfranchised.  In 2008 Obama won the state by 600,000.  Enemies of the law are organizing to help people who've lost their vote, but the time required to handle each case is overwhelming.  There is hope that the Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will vote to overturn early next month (he voted to block the fraudulent state legislature apportioinment law).
db 120829

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Time For A "Maximum Salary"?

Larry Hanley, President of the Amalgamated Transit Workers and a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, has called for a limit on executive pay indexed to the salaries of the lowest-paid workers.

Akins's Green Eggs & Spam

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Romney+Ryan And Military Spending

Romney+Ryan talk about cutting federal spending root and  branch except in one area.  Romney has proposed indexing the military spending to 4% of the Gross Domestic Product.  This does not seem to make any sense.  Besides costing a fortune as the years go by, it also fails to plan defense based on real world issues and threats and invites the Pentagon (which has not yet suffered an audit) to spend up to an artifical ceiling.  This NY Times article by Carol Giacomo is worth reading.

Friday, August 24, 2012

When Will We Control Guns?

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A timely "comic" strip from this morning.

Expanding Graterford Prison

Pennsylvania's terrible governor wants to spend $685 million dollars to add 8,000 beds to Graterford Prison in Montgomery County.  What awful priorities.  Read all about it and a citizen's protest. From our friend John Grant.

Brookings On Medicare Cuts

Ryan and Obama seem to talking about two different things when they mention the $716 billion effect of ACA (Obamacare) on Medicare.  They are.  In this article the Brookings Institution attempts to explain it all.  Single payer anyone?

A Letter To The Editor

You can send a letter to the editor.  Just scroll down the right-hand column of this blog and find the e-mail address of a newspaper.  Then write away!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

All About The Fiscal Cliff

You'd better read this from yesterday's Washington Post.

What About Sequestration?

Months ago, the Congress, in a clear attempt to kick the budget can down the road, agreed on something called "sequestration," an arrangement in which eventually a trillion dollars in spending would be cut from the budget, half of it from the military, if Congress can't come up with a new budget by January.  As the dreaded date approaches, military contractors and their Congressional friends are screaming bloody murder, but we should be aware that an equal half-trillion dollars will be cut from domestic programs: air traffic control, meat inspections, education, etc.  This article helps get us up to speed on this looming subject.  We'll hear more about "the fiscal cliff" especially in the lame duck session. You can read about it in the post above this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Paul Ryan's Proposed Budget

This blog is, to a great extent, about cutting military spending and moving that money to the drastic domestic needs for it.  The Ryan Budget is a proposal in Congress no matter who is running for Vice President.  It would eventually trim all federal non-military spending to a mere 0.75% of Gross Domestic Product while leaving military spending untouched.  That is wrong.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

They're Not The Same Person

Regardless of what you've heard, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are not the same person.

Broken On All Sides

Come to the documentary (68 minute) on mass incarceration in the U.S. showing Sunday, September 9, at 3637 Chestnut Street.  4:30 potluck dinner.  5:30 big screen film showing and discussion with the director.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bernie Sanders On Social Security

In the 77 years since President Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law on August 14, 1935, the retirement program has been one of the nation's most successful anti-poverty programs. Before Social Security existed, about half of America's senior citizens lived in poverty. Today, less than 10 percent live in poverty.

Today, Social Security not only provides retirement security but also enables millions of people with disabilities, and widows, widowers and children to live in dignity and security.

In these highly volatile economic times, when millions of Americans lost their life savings in the 2008 Wall Street crash, it is important to remember that since its inception, through good economic times and bad, Social Security has paid every penny owed to every eligible beneficiary.

Despite Wall Street and right-wing misinformation, Social Security, which is funded by the payroll tax, does not contribute to the deficit. In fact, the Social Security Trust Fund today, according to the Social Security Administration, has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay 100 percent of all benefits owed to every eligible American for the next 21 years. Further, unlike the huge commissions paid out to Wall Street firms, Social Security is run with very modest administrative costs.

Despite Social Security's popularity and overwhelming success, we are now in the midst of a fierce and well-financed attack against Social Security. Pete Peterson, the Wall Street billionaire, has pledged $1 billion of his resources to cut Social Security and other programs of enormous importance to the American people. Other billionaires and Wall Street representatives are also working hard to weaken or destroy Social Security and endanger the well-being of millions of Americans. We must not allow their effort to succeed.

Let us never forget that the current deficit of $1 trillion was primarily caused by two unpaid-for wars and tax breaks for the rich. These policies were strongly supported by "deficit hawks." The deficit is also related to a major decline in revenue as a result of the Wall Street-created recession. The deficit is a serious issue, but we must not move toward deficit reduction on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. This would not only be immoral, it is bad economic policy. At a time when the wealthiest people in this country are doing phenomenally well and their effective tax rate is the lowest in decades, the top 1 percent must begin paying their fair share of taxes. At a time when large corporations are enjoying record-breaking profits, we have got to eliminate the huge corporate loopholes which result in a massive loss of federal revenue. At a time when we have tripled military spending since 1997, we must take a hard look at a bloated and wasteful Defense Department.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has been a proponent of privatizing the retirement program by putting seniors' savings into risky Wall Street investments. Even before tapping Ryan as his running mate, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he wants to begin the process of privatizing Social Security. He also would gradually increase the retirement age to 68 or 69. And he favors slowing the growth of benefits for persons with "higher incomes." Under a plan floated by Romney's allies on Capitol Hill -- Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) -- someone making about $45,000 a year today who retires in 2050 would receive 32 percent less in annual Social Security benefits than under the current formula. By that definition, the top 60 percent of all wage earners would be considered "higher income."

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, was a staunch defender of Social Security in his 2008 campaign. So far this year, however, Obama has refused to stand behind his four-year-old opposition to cuts. In fact, the president has signaled that he may be open to lowering benefits by changing how they are calculated. In my view, it is long past time that the president told the American people in no uncertain terms, as he did in 2008, that he will not cut Social Security on his watch.

To keep Social Security's finances sound in the future I have introduced legislation -- identical to a proposal that Obama advocated in 2008 -- to apply the payroll tax on incomes above $250,000 a year. Under current law, only earnings up to $110,100 are taxed. The Center for Economic Policy and Research has estimated that applying the Social Security payroll tax on income above $250,000 would only impact the wealthiest 1.4 percent of wage earners.

Those who want to cut Social Security benefits are looking at a number of proposals. One of the most talked about ideas is moving toward a so-called "chained-CPI," which would not only impact seniors, but also military retirees and those who receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The "chained-CPI" approach changes how the Consumer Price Index is calculated, so that a person 65 years old today would earn $560 a year less in Social Security benefits once they turn 75. Benefits would be cut by nearly $1,000 a year once they turn 85. Instead, I have proposed legislation to base Social Security cost-of-living adjustments on a Consumer Price Index for the Elderly, a measure that would increase benefits because it would take into account the real-life impact of rising health care costs and prescription drug expenses paid by seniors.

While we often take Social Security for granted, we must not forget that Social Security today is providing dignity and security to tens of millions of Americans. It is a program that is working and working well. We must stand up today, on the 77th anniversary of this enormously important program. We must pledge to continue the fight against the right-wing Republicans, some Democrats and their wealthy backers who want to destroy the program.

Thank you for all that you do.


Senator Bernie Sanders
(W) Only idiots and paid shills of the Big Oil are still denying the  Global Warming - even the scientist who was paid by Koch brothers reversed his former position: 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

You And Military Spending

Republican Senator John McCain is on a “Preserving America’s Strength” roadshow, sounding the alarm that congressional cuts to the defense dept. mandated to begin in January by the 2011 Budget Control Act, would weaken our defenses, cost jobs, and break faith with our military service members and their families. “A terrible, terrible calamity!” to quote John McCain.

As to the claim that defense dept. cuts would weaken our defenses, it can also be argued that our foreign invasions and occupations over the last decade have created many more enemies than friends. Bringing our troops home from foreign lands would actually make us safer, save lives, and save lots of money.

As to the claim about costing jobs, defense dept related jobs already come at a high cost to employment. According to a UMass Amherst study, military spending is the least efficient jobs creator of any sector of our economy. One reason for this is that military spending is the most efficient profits generator. By its own admission, the Pentagon spends too much money to keep track of. Cost plus contracts are monitored to the extent that, while over charging on military contracts are sometimes met with heavy fines, the offending contractors are often awarded even more lucrative contracts.   Investments in education, health care, infrastructure repair, and renewable energy all yield many more jobs than military spending. Even returning tax dollars to citizens as refunds creates more jobs than an equivalent amount spent on the military, as increased consumer spending creates greater demand in the civilian economy.

Furthermore, we have already broken faith with our military service men and women, by sending them overseas on the basis of false claims. We continue to break faith with these brave souls when we fail to fully address their injuries when they return from multiple deployments overseas. The fact that one service member and 17 veterans take their own lives every day signals, perhaps, our greatest national shame.

Austerity hawks in Congress want to increase military spending, already double what it was ten years ago.   The US already spends 57% of its discretionary budget on the military, and according to an analysis by National Priorities Project we devote one third of all our spending to the military, $1.2 trillion per year.   This massive amount of money dwarfs what all other countries combined spend on their militaries.  Why?

Why do we have 1,000 military bases in 150 nations overseas?   Why do we feel the urge to “project power” over the globe?  Maintaining this garrison of the planet, and claiming for ourselves the privilege to police the world, is sowing the seeds of our own bankruptcy and destruction.  But if we can agree to sharpen our pruning hooks, and begin to trim this overgrown tree of militarism, there is still hope for us.

Let’s bring our troops home, provide the best possible health care and education for them and their families, and encourage our military contractors to seek peaceful, civilian applications for new products and services.

This article was adapted from the blog of:  John Heuer, Director, North Carolina Peace Action, Eisenhower Chapter, Veterans For Peace

Call your Congressperson at 202-224-3121 and say that you want military spending CUT.

Reprint and distribution made possible by Main Line Peace Action  For more information call 610 527 4170

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Letter To The Editor

What will congressman do about military spending?
To the Editor:

Has anyone in the Seventh Congressional District heard either major candidate say anything about cutting military spending? The subject is timely as Congress gears up to talk budget next month as we head for the feared “Fiscal Cliff.” Secretary Panetta makes nervous remarks about sequestration: Armageddon, hollow out our forces, whatever. But critics don’t want to starve the troops, slash veterans’ benefits, leave us defenseless, etc. Instead we should go after nuclear weapons (why do we need hundreds or thousands of them?), billion-dollar jet fighters (to take on enemies who operate out of caves), overseas bases (more than a thousand at last count), obscene cost-padding and profiteering throughout the weapons industry (leading to a “defense” budget greater than the next 10 nations combined). We’d like to hear the candidates tell us where they stand, and why.


Bryn Mawr
Published in Main Line Times August 13, 2012.

Monday, August 13, 2012

All About Postal Savings Services

Part of the postal service's problem is the ridiculous funding requirements for carriers' retirement accounts.  Part is the need to provide other services that make a trip to the post office attractive: copying and fax  services.  Years ago the US Postal Service, like post offices around the world, also provided savings accounts that accepted balances as low at $1 and paid interest on everything.  Recently the carriers in convention voted to explore restoring the service.  This article tells all about it.
We miss you Molly.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The new car of the 1%.

Brandywine First Friday Film

The Brandywine Peace first friday movie is "In A Better World," Friday, September 7, 7pm.  Peace Center of Delaware County, 1001 Old Sproul Road, Springfield.  Big screen.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hello, Russia!

We have been delighted to discover that for some time a third of our readers are in Russia.  We are honored to have you linking in, and wish you would send us a comment below on where you are, what you're doing, and what we can do that will interest you.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Will les Riches Run Away?

French President Hollande has pledged an increase in the top income tax rate to 75%, probably the highest in the world.  The French, not being as crazy about The Rich as we are, like the idea.  The Times, predictably, predicts that les Riches will up and move to avoid the new rate.  Robespierre could tell them how to handle that.

NRA Fundraising After Aurora

Three days after the Aurora Batman massacre, the National Rifle Association sent out a nationwide fundraising letter seeking funds for planned media ads.  This Bloomberg article is full of information about the NRA's finances (membership dues are down).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nuns On The Bus

Though the bus tour is over, thousands of sisters continue to work for social justice and economic fairness.  This is absolutely contrary to the Ryan Budget.  Call your Congressperson (202-224-3121) and say that you support a humane and moral federal budget that takes care of the neediest.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Put The Banksters In Jail!

These letters to the New York Times explain why it is so hard to put in jail those personally responsible for the crash and for fiscal funny business.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Gail Collins On Congress

It's hard to imagine a worse Congress.  Gail Collins suggests its approval rating may soon be a negative number.

Bill Moyers Sunday

Tune in to PBS (WHYY-TV Channel 12 at Noon Sunday in Philadelphia) when Bill talks about new voter ID laws, rampant capitalism and gross consumption (Donald Trump), and the 47th anniversary of Medicare.

Friday, August 3, 2012

No Austerity Please

Austerity didn't work for Europe.  It didn't work for Herbert Hoover.  It doesn't work.  Time to start spending.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It is truly astonishing that a Supreme Court justice thinks that just maybe the Second Amendment would permit someone to "bear" a handheld rocket or missile. 

Please click Like if you are glad Justice Scalia is telling us what he really thinks, and then share widely with anyone who does not follow the current extreme Supreme Court closely.

Get Serious, Lockheed

The bosses of the largest military corporations and their Republican Senate friends have launched a scare campaign to try to head off any sequestration cuts.  Gordon Adams in Time magazine has some suggestions for them.