Posts tagged ‘Democratic’

Colorado’s New Public Disservice Adversiting Campaign


By Amy Mall, NRDC

This post was originally published at Switchboard, NRDC’s staff blog

There is something unusual about the latest newspaper and radio advertisements from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA). While there is nothing new about the oil and gas industry spending money to convince Americans that fracking is safe, what sets the latest ads apart from typical industry propaganda is that the spokesperson in these ads is Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

In the radio ad, the Governor states that Colorado has not had “one instance of groundwater contamination associated with drilling and hydraulic fracturing” since Colorado enacted some new rules in 2008. It’s true that Colorado’s 2008 rules were a vast improvement compared to the previous rules.

But that doesn’t mean that the rules are strong enough, that all fracking activities are safe in Colorado, or that human health and the environment are sufficiently protected. The 2008 rules were a step in the right direction, but did not go far enough to protect communities and their citizens from dangerous air pollution, groundwater contamination, and enormous amounts of toxic waste.

In Colorado, archaic rules allow toxic oil and gas facilities to be as close as 150 feet to a child’s bedroom window. These operations can be in someone’s backyard and on their property without consent if a family does not own the rights to the oil and gas beneath its land–and most Coloradans do not.

The COGA ads tout the latest Colorado rule requiring disclosure of fracking chemicals. While disclosure is essential to preserve the public’s right to know about chemicals in their community, and NRDC calls for nationwide disclosure of fracking chemicals for better regulation of this industry, disclosure is only one part of what’s needed in a comprehensive regulatory structure to protect health and the environment from the dangers of fracking. Disclosure alone does not prevent drinking water contamination–rather it lets citizens know what chemicals might be in their drinking water after it has been contaminated. And many of the chemicals can still be kept secret by oil and gas companies.

The risks are real. From 2009-2011, there were more than a thousand spills related to oil and gas operations in Colorado–many of which impacted groundwater and/or surface water with potentially highly toxic materials. Last September, the Denver Post reported that four oil and gas companies alone had 350 spills in Colorado in less than two years. The Post highlighted one spill that contaminated groundwater with benzene–a known carcinogen. In 2010, a Las Animas County landowner found approximately 500 gallons of grayish brown murky water in his cistern that he believes is linked to nearby hydraulic fracturing. This family has extensive water testing documentation going back many years, verifying that their water was always clean and clear until the nearby fracking took place.

The newspaper ad states it is ”brought to you as a public service,” which makes it sound like a “public service announcement,” but this is misleading. While the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission decided that it is okay for elected officials to use their personal credibility and the position of their office to better educate the public on issues relating to their government position, in its decision, the Ethics Commissions used examples of public service announcements that discuss the importance of voting, filling out the census form, retrieving unclaimed property, and discouraging the illegal use of alcohol.

None of those examples promote one industry or mislead the public with a false sense of security about considerable and well-documented public health and environmental threats.

What’s needed in Colorado and across the nation are strong rules to protect drinking water sources, clean air, healthy communities,and wildlands from the threats of oil and gas development at all stages of the extraction process. Ads that ignore, and appear to try to hide, very real risks are not only a disservice to the public, but will only prolong the public’s distrust of the oil and gas industry and underscore the justifiable demands of communities to keep the industry out of their backyards and schoolyards. Instead of ads that appear to promote the oil and gas industry without acknowledging and addressing the risks, we hope Governor Hickenlooper will instead focus his energy on new and stronger protections for Colorado’s clean water, clean air, and quality of life.

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Posted on February 28, 2012  | Filed Under Global Warming and a New Energy Economy, Protecting America’s Waters | Leave a Comment

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The New Economy Poverty rate: Are Americans really poorer than in 1960?


Poverty rate rose to 14.3 percent in 2009, but government figures don’t capture very well the long-term rise in living standards.

By Laurent Belsie, Business editor / September 19, 2010


A woman stocks up on bread at Sacred Heart Community Center in San Jose, Calif., Sept. 16. The ranks of the working-age poor climbed to the highest level since 1959 as the recession threw millions of people out of work last year. The poverty rate jumped to 14.3 percent.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

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Poverty shot up last year in the United States with one in seven Americans falling below the poverty line. And it’s likely to get worse, because unemployment remains stubbornly high.


Laurent Belsie

Business Editor

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But the poverty rate, as calculated by the US Census Bureau, only tells part of the story.

It makes it easy to figure out that a shocking number of Americans – nearly 44 million – couldn’t afford a minimal basket of goods. That’s the highest total since 1959.

What these numbers don’t capture very well is the long-term improvement in living standards. And that has big political implications.

“There are so many people out there who have used for political arguments [the idea] that we’ve lost the war on poverty,” says James Sullivan, a professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. “Maybe we haven’t won the war on poverty, but in terms of long-term changes in deprivation, there is considerable evidence that we have made long-term progress there. And that evidence is just missed in the official numbers.”

A major problem is that by strictly looking at income, as the Census Bureau does, the poverty measure doesn’t capture the changes in consumption patterns.

Consider, for example, all the things that people, even poor people, have come to take for granted that didn’t even exist in 1959: countertop microwave ovens, touch-tone phones, cellphones, personal computers, the Internet, e-mail, GPS systems, air-cushioned running shoes, CDs, DVDs, videogames, and modern ATMs. [Editor’s note: This sentence was changed to reflect the fact that bulkier, under-the-counter microwave ovens did exist in 1959.]

Some of these items may not necessarily qualify as progress. But by focusing on consumption patterns, Dr. Sullivan says, researchers can at least get a more realistic handle on what’s happening with people’s living standards. And there are signs of progress since 1959 (or 1960, when the census came out), he adds.

For examples, back in 1960:

  • A 21-inch black-and-white Philco tabletop TV cost about $1,800 in today’s dollars and could receive only a handful of channels;
  • A refrigerator with freezer cost the equivalent of $1,510 in today’s dollars;
  • A two-speed automatic washing machine, primitive by today’s standards, cost the equivalent of $1,100;
  • Only 12 percent of homes had air-conditioning (versus 84 percent last year);
  • Only 8 percent of the population had completed four years of college (versus 27 percent today).

Not everything was more expensive back then. People didn’t have to pay for television or ring tones. By 1960’s standards, it would cost 30 cents to mail a letter today, not 44 cents.

Even there, however, strict comparisons don’t offer a complete picture, Dr. Sullivan says. Many people have replaced hand-written letters with e-mails or text messages because they’re cheaper and faster.

Modern Americans may pay for cable television, but they have 30 to 60 times the channels that were available in 1960. They have a cellphone bill but can call from anywhere without extra charges for long-distance calls.

The challenge now is that those 50 years of progress have come crashing to a halt, analysts say.

“The great recession is a significant setback,” Sullivan says. “At least as I see it right now, there’s no evidence of us coming out [of it] in the short term. There’s a lot that needs to get back on track before we continue to make strides in fighting poverty.”

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Four Democrats Sit Out Critical Vote



When California‘s SB 810 — Single Payer Health Care for California passed through the California Senate‘s Appropriations Committee by a 6-2 vote last week, activists thought they had an excellent chance to get the “Medicare for All” bill passed by the full Senate.

Yesterday, however, four Democrats sat out the critical vote, leaving the bill short 2 votes of the 21 votes needed for passage. 19 Democrats voted yes, 15 Republicans and 1 Democrat voted no. And the key remaining four Democrats abstained.

SB 810 can be brought up again under “Reconsideration” next Tuesday, January 31, 2012.

Single Payer Now is urging that pressure be put on the 4 Democrats who didn’t vote:

The following 4 Senators abstained from even casting a vote on this extremely important piece of legislation.

Senator Alex Padilla (Pacoima/LA area)
Email: Senator.Padilla@sen.ca.gov
Phone: (916) 651?4020

Senator Juan Vargas (San Diego area)
Email: Juan.Vargas@sen.ca.gov
Phone: (916) 651?4040

Senator Michael Rubio (Fresno/Bakersfield area)
Email: Michael.Rubio@sen.ca.gov
Phone: (916) 651?4016

Senator Rod Wright (Los Angeles area)
Email: Senator.Wright@sen.ca.gov
Phone: (916) 651?4025

Check here to see if you are represented by these senators.

* * *

The Los Angeles Times
reports:

State lawmakers deadlocked Thursday over a controversial measure that would provide universal healthcare in California.

In a vote in which some Democrats did not participate, the measure received only 19 of the 21 votes needed for passage in the Senate, but it was put over for another possible vote next week. […]

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) noted that some people have argued there is no need for state legislation because the federal government has already approved an affordable healthcare system to begin in 2014.

But Leno said states are allowed to provide greater healthcare under that system, and that California should act because the courts are considering lawsuits to overturn the federal plan.

Leno said SB 810 is needed because healthcare premiums have increased five times the rate of inflation in the last decade and 12 million Californians went without coverage during some time last year.

“Clearly, the current system is not working for businesses, for employers, for employees, for families,” he said.

Link to original article from Common Dreams


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  • Sunnsea

    The point is to get the privates out of basic health care insurance.  The Federal law actually reinforces their position, making them even stronger, though they will deny it.  SB810 is vital to reducing costs of insurance to all Californians.

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Message from Senator Leno – SB 810


Most of you have likely heard the disappointing news that our bill, SB 810, the California Universal Health Care Act, failed to move off the Senate Floor by January 31st, meaning it cannot advance further in the legislative process this year. Despite our unwavering advocacy, too few members were willing to cast votes in favor of SB 810 this year, including several members who had voted for the legislation before. Unfortunately this means that Californians will continue to have a broken health care system in dire need of change,…

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Single Payer Falls 2 Votes Short In California Senate


Four Democrats Sit Out Critical Vote When California’s SB 810 — Single Payer Health Care for California passed through the California Senate’s Appropriations Committee by a 6-2 vote last week, activists thought they had an excellent chance to get the “Medicare for All” bill passed by the full Senate. Yesterday, however, four Democrats sat out the critical vote, leaving the bill short 2 votes of the 21 votes needed for passage. 19 Democrats voted yes, 15 Republicans and 1 Democrat voted no. And the key remaining four…

Common Dreams 27 Jan 2012 Hits:429 California

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Stung by Bad PR, City Officials Adopting New Tactics to Suppress Occupy Oakland


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BBLV Letter to Rep. Capps


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Senator Leno’s Single-Payer Health Care Bill Clears Senate Appropriations


SACRAMENTO – The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved the California Universal Health Care Act, authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). Senate Bill 810 guarantees all Californians comprehensive, universal health care …

Office of CA Senator Mark Leno 19 Jan 2012 Hits:594 California

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States Take On Citizens United


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Common Dreams 07 Jan 2012 Hits:241 California

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Nurses to Join Call for Healthcare for the 99% On Monday


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National Nurses United 06 Jan 2012 Hits:508 California

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Hailey Branson-Potts | LA Times 30 Dec 2011 Hits:753 California

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Occupy Oakland protesters arrested at foreclosed home


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Vice Chair, North Area of the San Diego County Democratic Party Tenders Her Resignation


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Go Home February 01, 2012 09:00 AM The GOP: Preaching the Prosperity Gospel By Tina Dupuy


One of the richest men in the country, ranking in the 0.006 percent of Americans, likes to accuse the President of creating an “entitlement society.” Mitt Romney, the heir apparent, next in line GOP nominee … is against entitlement.

When I hear “entitlement society” I think, “country club.” But When Mitt uses that phrase he doesn’t mean rich guys like him, given all the advantages of wealth, who are now enjoying its comforts – he means the rest of us. Yes, Mitt is against an “entitlement society” because that involves too many people and not just him and his ilk. It’s not the “entitlement” he contests – it’s the entire “society” part.

At the Monday Florida debate last week Mitt noted that under Gingrich’s tax plan Mitt would pay no taxes at all. Gingrich responded with, “Well, if that — and if you created enough jobs doing that — it was Alan Greenspan who first said the best rate, if you want to create jobs for capital gains, is zero.”

So rich people whose money makes their money (it’s literally capital gaining) are so fortunate they get to hire other people to pay taxes for them? Rich people with their alleged mythical power to create jobs even get to outsource their tax obligations to poor saps working for a living?

This is the prosperity gospel as a Super PAC-funded marketing blitz. Money is next to godliness and poverty is the fault of the poor for not being better people.

It’s as if Jesus were a CEO and the Romans job-killing communists.

“Contrary to the President’s constant disparagement of people in business,” former George W. Bush budget director Gov. Mitch Daniels said in his State of the Union response last week, “It’s one of the noblest of human pursuits.” This is one of those phrases you (usually) will only hear in business school (funnier if it was one of those rip-off for-profit colleges). Business is one of the noblest of human pursuits? Noble as in aristocratic? That phrase, “noble pursuits,” is usually applied to an avocation not paying much but rewarding in other ways: teachers; firefighters; nurses; foster parents; soldiers; community leaders; social workers; mentors; rescue workers; care givers; farmers. Or to anyone who’s honest, shows up every day and works hard. That’s a noble pursuit.

Are the wealthy really so sensitive they need Mitch Daniels to make them feel better about themselves in a spiritual sense? What they’re doing not only pays off with privilege and cash – it also has to be venerable from a moral perspective? How much reward does one group need? They own everything and they also need to be thanked?!

The rich are not just over-paid – they’re over valued. And generous welfare recipients.

As Senator Tom Coburn points out in his damning Nov. 2011 report, “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous,” we are a wealthfare state. It reads, “This reverse Robin Hood style of wealth redistribution is an intentional effort to get all Americans bought into a system where everyone appears to benefit.” In other words: We subsidize the rich by telling the poor to pay their fair share.

It’s been a strange three years under the Obama administration. First the GOP was against empathy. Yes, the party had to vehemently opposed seeing the plight of your fellow human beings because Obama was for it. Now their new hot button word? Fairness. Obama used the word fairness in his third State of the Union. And now the GOP has decided to be against fairness and celebrate inequality as being the thing that makes America great.

It’s as if Jesus were a CEO and the three wise men were shareholders.

The prosperity gospel is not America. It’s not democratic. It’s not even Christian. It’s greed warped into being a virtue by the greedy.

The rich aren’t better, they’re just richer.

Tags: Bain Capital, CEO, Diplomatic Relations, entitlement, George W. Bush, Mitch Daniels, Newt Gingrich, Obama Administration, Politics, Politics of the United States, Republican Party, Rich and Famous, State Of the Union, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Bernie Sanders Class Warefare


An Open Letter to Newt Gingrich From the Pastors of Poor Children


Mr. Gingrich,

For this you still owe our children an apology:

“Some of the things they could do is work in a library, work in the front office, some of them frankly could be janitorial; what if they clean up the bathrooms, what if they mopped the floors, what if in the summer they repainted the school; what if in the process they were actually learning to work, learning to earn money; if they had their own money, they didn’t have to become a pimp or a prostitute or a drug dealer. [If] they had the dignity of work and learned how to be around adults who actually wanted to mentor them and help them. This is not a casual comment… It grows out of a lot of thinking over many years of trying to figure out how do we break out people trapped in poverty who have no work habits.” — Gingrich

We, the students and faculty of the Delaware Annual Conference Ministerial Institute of the AME Church, representing over 34 congregations and their constituents throughout Delaware and southern Pennsylvania are outraged at your continued demeaning of poor children and their families.

As a candidate vying for the Republican Presidential nomination, to suggest that poor children collectively lack a work ethic and drive for legal and productive work is entirely classist. Your national platform is no place for such irresponsible remarks. Our children deserve better than your degrading rhetoric.

In fact, they deserve an apology, and we — their pastors and advocates — demand one.

Mr. Gingrich, what your remarks have demonstrated is a failure to acknowledge the resilience of many who work daily and yet are unable to escape poverty. For many, low wages, a poor economy, and sparse full time employment opportunities have landed many families into the category of what the U.S. Department of Labor & Labor Statistics call the working poor. Contrary to what your remarks propagate, a significant number of children in households below the American poverty line (and those one paycheck away from it) are in homes with working family members; many of them are in our congregations weekly and are active citizens.

Mr. Gingrich, not only did you get the “cause” of poverty wrong, but your “solution” is just as unsubstantiated and offensive. Mandating that poor children become the janitors of their own failing public schools to better their work ethic is not a well thought out, viable, or realistic solution. Such a proposal is not only insulting, it is ridiculous.

Where would the currently employed janitors work (obviously this is a back handed assault on union employees)? If poor children are to benefit from extracurricular employment, why not at least provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) opportunities to increase their competitiveness in the global marketplace? Why not invest in education reform instead of cutting back early education/head start programs? Why not put forth solutions to the unemployment crisis in our nation, so that those who have the dignity, but not the work, can have an opportunity to build a better future for themselves and their children?

But, no — instead you fan the flames of prejudice to get votes. With a move right out of Lee Atwater’s Southern Strategy play book (i.e., “Welfare Mothers” = Lazy Blacks), you have managed to stir the xenophobia and racist fears of your far right republican base with the statement:

“I’ve been talking about the importance of work, particularly as it relates to people who are in areas where there is public housing, et cetera, where there are relatively few people that go to work.” (Emphasis added)

Mr. Gingrich, the poverty of many poor minority children is the byproduct of systemic injustices that bar them from participation in the American Dream because of their racial and social location — not laziness.

We understand that you are of the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” camp, but the last time we checked Mr. Gingrich, it is impossible to pull yourself up by your own boot straps, and even more difficult when you have no boots to begin with.

Consequently, as pastors and leaders of the poor and their children, we are called to champion those without the boots of opportunity, fair play, and justice. For us not to mandate an apology for such biased, erroneous and offensive remarks would be as irresponsible as the remarks themselves. Today, Mr. Gingrich, we extend to you the opportunity to recant your “war on poor children” rhetoric and the opportunity to apologize to our children for speaking such falsehoods over their lives.

Awaiting your response,


Delaware Annual Conference Ministerial Institute

The Rev. Dr. Janet J. Sturdivant, Dean of Ministerial Institute
The Rev. Silvester S. Beaman, Chairman of Board of Examiners
Sis. Joi Orr, M.Div, Organizer & Institute Student

 
 

Follow Joi Ruth Orr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joi_orr

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Lifting The Veil Exposing The Truth For It Is


Lifting the Veil from S DN on Vimeo.