Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

Browsing Posts published in June, 2011

The Sierra Club, along with The Labadie Environmental Organization (LEO), hosted a Clean Energy Jobs Tour today that was very enlightening. We got a good look at where Ameren is proposing its coal ash landfill in the Labadie Bottoms flood way. It’s one thing to discuss the landfill in the abstract. It’s quite another to see the vast area it would consume firsthand. The county commissioners who are nearing a vote on land use restrictions that will allow Ameren to develop this acreage should be required to visit it before casting their vote. A real eye-opener, that.

We also got the grand tour of CG Power Systems USA Inc. in Washington, Mo, which has to be one of the area’s best kept secrets. CG is a union shop specializing in transformers for wind generators and solar collectors and it employs hundreds of people locally. Although CG is a transnational company with a presence in many countries, most of the supply chain for this plant is within the U.S. so American job creation from this one operation is exponential.

CG is proof that green jobs are not some pie-in-the-sky fantasy of tree-hugging hippy liberals. They are being created now and they are being created in our own back yard. Why so many of us were completely unaware of this operation is a mystery. Companies like this one should be highlighted at every opportunity to attract even more renewable energy-related businesses to our area.

The future of American manufacturing depends on America’s transition from a dirty energy consumption economy to a clean energy production economy. It’s encouraging too see that happening right here in our community.

History and Philosophy: After the “shellacking” the Republicans took in 1964 with conservative Barry Goldwater’s defeat in the presidential election, some really smart conservatives got together to form ALEC in 1973 with the intention of changing state laws gradually and, thereby, changing the country from a liberal-leaning mood to an ultra conservative one. Keep in mind this was the Nixon era when Democrats and Republicans alike were passing things like the EPA, the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, women’s rights, and other liberal programs. (It’s only since 1972 that it is illegal for newspapers to print “jobs -female” and “jobs -male” in the want ads.) Back then, “conservative” had a negative connotation which the Paul Weyrich and friends crowd wanted to change. With huge funding from major corporations, ALEC has grown from just an idea to one of the most influential ultra conservative organizations in the country.

Go to www.alec.org and read the three guiding principles of ALEC on their masthead: Limited Government, Free Markets and Federalism. These ultra conservative extremists honestly don’t believe it is the government’s job to help individuals. They believe that individuals will make self-serving and therefore good economic decisions and, thereby, contribute to the well-being of society as a whole (the “invisible hand” theory.) This is why they are anti anything “public.”

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Rep. Todd Akin recently remarked to Family Research Council president Tony Perkins that “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred of God.” Unitarian Rev. Krista Taves of St. Louis had the appropriate response …

You know very little about liberals, and sadly enough, you also seem to know very little about God and his son Jesus.

Amen.

Today’s Washington Missourian published my latest Letter to the Editor responding to Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer’s form letter explaining his support for the Korean Free Trade Agreement.  Short story; his claims of job creation are not backed by history or analysis.  Check out the data in the letter and enjoy!

VA benefits checks will soon be a thing of the past. The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently announced that as of May 1, anyone applying for Social Security, VA or other federal benefits will need to choose an electronic payment method because paper checks will no longer be an option. Additionally, people currently receiving federal benefits by check, including payments from the VA, must switch to direct deposit by March 1, 2013. Information about the change in the delivery of benefit payments, as well as application procedures, are posted on the federal Go Direct website. Assistance is also being offered by the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center for free at (800) 333-1799.

In addition to this ,the Department of Veterans Affairs (through the Treasury Department) will offer beneficiaries without bank accounts the option to enroll in the Direct Express debit card program with Commercial Bank. Direct Express payments will be directly deposited into that account and made accessible through a debit card. Personal funds cannot be transferred into this account as it can only be used to receive Federal benefits. Direct Express cardholders have 24/7 access to their money at automated teller machines and are able to make purchases at any retailer that accepts MasterCard.

Jared Bernstein has a post on his blog on the recent rules put forth by the NLRB to reform the process of conducting a union election.   These steps are overdue and are a good first step to ensuring employees can express their constitutional right to Freedom of Association.  The current rules allow employers to get away with intimidation and harassment for an extended period of time between filing for an election and the actual election.

For example, employers can require attendance at anti-union meetings, one-on-one sessions between workers and their immediate supervisors who stress anti-union messages, subtle offers of promotion and demotion (e.g., a move to a less desirable shift), and intensive, explicit surveillance to see if workers are talking to union organizers.

Yet those organizers aren’t allowed on site–remember the movie Norma Rae, where they’re standing outside of the factory gates?  It sounds impressive that with all this blowback unions won 64% of their elections in 2009, but as referenced here, 35% of successful petition drives never reach the election stage.

Having been through several organizing drives either as an employee or on the organizer side, kudos to the NLRB for these reforms.  Every first-world nation has collective bargaining for a reason – without it, there is very little opportunity for most workers to become middle-class.

This email was allegedly sent to Democratic State Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford, who forwarded it to a Franklin County Dem, who sent it to me. I tried to contact Rep. Mott Oxford to verify it but I could not reach her. It looks legitimate enough:

From: Mary Scruggs [mailto:mscruggs@amec.org]
Sent: Friday, June 24, 2011 1:58 PM
Subject: ALEC invitation
Importance: High

Attached you will find an invitation for Missouri Night at the ALEC Conference in New Orleans. The ALEC Conference is August 3-6, with state night on Friday, August 5th. We are a little over a month away and are trying to get an accurate head count of attendees, please RSVP to me ASAP, but no later than July 25th at 573-659-3409 if you are attending and have guests.

These are the Legislators that I have from June 15:
Legislators if you have family members attending with you, it would be great to get them in our head count for the restaurant.

Rep. Sue Allen
Rep. Ellen Brandom
Rep. Eric Burlison
Rep. Sandy Crawford
Rep. Charles Denison
Rep. Tim Jones
Rep. Shelley Keeney
Rep. Bill Lant
Rep. Cole McNary
Rep. Darrell Pollock
Rep. Shane Schoeller
Rep. Jason Smith
Sen. Ron Richard

The following companies are paid sponsors to date:

Allergan – pending
Ameren -
AMEC -
AstraZeneca -pending
AT & T –
Bryan Cave -
CenturyLink –
Comcast –
Express Scripts -
Peabody Energy -
MADA –
MO Assn. of Realtors-
MO Cable Telecommunications Assn. –
MTIA -
Reynolds American Inc. -
Sprint – pending
St. Louis Community College -

Please notify me with any changes or omissions. I need to give the restaurant final numbers on July 26. Call with any questions.
Thanks.

Mary S. Scruggs
Director of Government Relations
Assn. of Missouri Electric Cooperatives
PO Box 1645
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102
office – 573-659-3409
fax – 573-659-3411
cell – 573-680-2078

The American Legislative Exchange Council likes to bill itself as “nonpartisan” but notice every one of those Missouri state lawmakers is a Republican. Looks like Rep. Tim Jones from the Eureka/Wildwood area got invited to “Missouri Night,” a special shindig set aside to specifically honor influence Missouri state legislators. And look at who is picking up the tab: Ameren, Peabody Coal, AMEC, big pharma, telecos. No surprises there I suppose. But what’s up with St. Louis Community College? Are they not aware that one of ALEC’s goals is the dismantling of public education? People need to give them a call and set them straight.

Fact is, ALEC is nonpartisan in the sense that what they really care about is more corporate influence in government, less regulation, and keeping taxes low for the rich. In other words, all the things that are weakening the American middle class and wrecking the environment. If they could find Democrats who would work on state legislation to achieve those things they’d gladly treat them and their spouses to a weekend of cocktails, fine dining and golf too.

And remember, none of these lawmakers have to report these junkets as in-kind donations because ALEC is a non-profit member organization. In addition, the corporate sponsors can write off their contributions as charitable gifts. It’s a win/win for everyone — except Missouri’s working families.

My latest letter to the editor “Luetkemeyer: Born at Night?” is printed in today’s Washington Missourian.  Representative Luetkemeyer has indicated to me in a form letter that he is supporting the proposed Korean – U.S. Free Trade Agreement.  My response

For those not intimately familiar with the concept of the Echo Chamber in American politics this video of Senator Bernie Sanders exposing the role of the Koch Brothers in developing the message that Social Security is dying will be a eye-opener.  Please share with your list and let’s counter their millions of dollars with millions of educated people.

But who is conducting this dissonant symphony? The latest installment of Koch Brothers Exposed from the Brave New Foundation says the baton is being wielded by the David and Charles Koch, the right-wing extremist billionaire brothers who are out to dismantle Social Security, overturn financial regulations, corporate rules, environmental standards, workers’ rights and just about any “evil on the radical right agenda.

When it comes to the attacks on Social Security, “The Koch Brothers Echo Chamber” video shows how $28.4 million of Koch money to think tanks like the Cato Institute ($13.6 million), the Heritage Foundation ($3.4 million) and a host of others has helped produce more than 300 “scholarly” position papers on dismantling Social Security and a choir of economists and political scientists all singing from the same hymnal.

There goes the government again, investing in things that make life better - when will it stop?  I apologize for the sarcasm but this story is very exciting and could be a breakthrough to solving a number of energy problems.

Researchers at MIT have published a new flow-battery design which provides a 10-fold improvement in energy density over previous models.  It is expected to help increase the energy storage capacity of wind or solar power plants and could reduce the time it takes to recharge electric vehicle batteries.

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