Franklin County Democrats

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

Browsing Posts published in September, 2011

On September 30, 2011 several area residents of the 9th Congressional District gathered at the Washington district office of Congressmen Blaine Luetkemeyer to present a petition signed by 7,600 constituents.  The petition stated:

Dear Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer,

7,600 of your constituents have signed a petition that says: “I stand with Warren Buffet.  It’s time for Congress to stop coddling the super-rich and make them pay their fair share.” 

Will you pledge to support the “Buffet Rule” calling for millionaires – like you – to pay the same tax rate as the middle class?

We are looking forward to a response from Congressman Luetkemeyer.  He holds a position in which integrity is vital.  No other occupation in the country can vote themselves a raise and vote to lower their own taxes.  With this ability comes great responsibility.  As it stands now, Congress can give themselves a pay raise and lower tax rates while asking you to give up your Social Security.  Maybe it should be the other way around.  We can vote to keep our jobs and Social Security while asking them to cover that cost by paying the same tax rates as working people.  

At the very least millionaire politicians should recuse themselves from voting on issues that they would directly benefit from.  Almost every profession’s Code of Ethics prohibits direct involvement that is a conflict of interest between a person’s personal and professional position.  Congressional ethics – there’s a concept. 

Thanks to Lloyd, Bobbi, Susan, and Marcy for taking the time to accompany me in presenting this petition.  I wold also like to thank Staff Assistant Mary Tinsley of the Congressman’s office for her graceful response to our visit.

 

My latest letter to the editor is published in the Missourian.

Creating 2.25 million jobs, reducing our trade deficit by $190 billion, and decreasing our budget deficit by $857 billion over 10 years without costing taxpayers a penny are the economic benefits of the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Act of 2011.

This bipartisan legislation was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, stated, “The bottom line is that there are no other policy options that would yield economic benefits on the same scale while also significantly reducing the deficit. None.”

NRA Jesus

6 comments

I suppose it will come as no surprise that Brian Nieves is participating in something called “The 2nd Amendment Freedom Rally & Gun Show.” Nor will it shock anyone that the door prize is either a Glock 23 or 27, or that there will be “AR-15 and other “Black Gun” demonstrations” and “a heart pounding, adrenalin pumping, ‘Shoot – Don’t Shoot’ simulator used to train Police, SWAT and FBI on quick, real life shooting scenarios!”

But I think a lot of people might be surprised to learn that the event is being held at the Franklin County Baptist Association Building and, according to Nieves’ email announcement, we have a “God Given Right to Protect Ourselves and the 2nd Amendment.” Funny, I don’t recall that part in the Bible.

It takes some effort to simultaneously bastardize Christianity and The U.S. Constitution in one single event but I think Nieves and the local Baptist Association have managed to pull it off.

Brian Nieves “Call Me Crazy” ringtone

I think I know which Senate race my time and money will be going to in 2012. Too bad it’s not in Missouri. It so refreshing to hear a Democratic candidate forcefully standing up for Democratic values instead of running against them. I’d rather go down fighting for someone principled and genuine like Warren than get 50+1 walking precincts for someone who adopts right-wing ideas that are unpopular and proven failures. Donate. Volunteer.

By way of Progress Missouri, this report from Environment Missouri (pdf) seems especially timely since the Republican-controlled House (with the help of our own Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9)) just voted along party lines to ease clean air regulations.

New Report: St. Louis Named 7th Smoggiest
Large Metro Area in the Country

St. Louis, MO – Today Environment Missouri released a new report showing that the St. Louis area ranks as the 7th smoggiest large metropolitan area in the country. Smog is a harmful air pollutant that leads to asthma attacks and exacerbates respiratory illnesses, especially among children and the elderly. The new report, Danger in the Air: Unhealthy Air Days in 2010 and 2011, shows that in total, residents in the St. Louis area were exposed to air quality that made it dangerous to breathe on 23 days in 2010. Also, this summer, residents in the St. Louis area have already been alerted to unhealthy air on 23 days, two of which were “red?alert” days, when the air quality was so poor that anyone could experience adverse health effects.

Seems like a perfect time to roll back clean air standards.

The TRAIN Act: A train wreck for cleaner, healthier air:

Consider just one of the clean air standards in danger because of the TRAIN Act – the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard.

  • It has been more than 20 years since the overwhelmingly bipartisan passage of the 1990 Clean Air Act, which set the stage for the EPA to limit mercury, acid gases, and other hazardous pollution from America’s coal-fired power plants.
  • Opponents still claim they need more time to prepare for this rule, even though they have had more than 20 years.
  • They claim they can’t meet the pollution standards even though the technology is widely available, and even though 17 states already require their coal plants to limit mercury emissions.
  • They claim this rule will hurt the economy even though economic analysis finds that for every $1 spent to clean up toxic air pollution the public receives up to $13 in public health and other benefits.

Supporters of the TRAIN Act claim to be helping our economy. But the TRAIN Act delays critical human health safeguards that will provide hundreds of billions of dollars in public health benefits to Americans each year.

The roll call is instructive:

Ayes Noes PRES NV
Republican 230 4 7
Democratic 19 165 8
Independent
TOTALS 249 169   15

This is what drives me a little nuts about LEO. Don’t get me wrong, I love these folks and I’m glad to see so many self-identified Republicans involved in the fight to stop the coal ash landfill in the Labadie Bottoms floodplain. But after the landfill issue has been decided are they going to go back to voting for Republicans? Are they only involved because this time it happens to be in their backyard?

I appreciate that the founders of LEO went to great lengths to make the coal ash landfill a non-partisan issue. That’s the way it should be because we all breathe the same air. In fact, that’s the way it use to be decades ago as evidenced by the passage of the Clean Air Act. But those days are long gone. As the numbers above show (and they are not unique when it comes to coal) today it is very much a partisan issue.

Bottom line: When you vote for Republicans you are voting against your environment, your health, and your safety, or someone else’s.

The tentative agreement between the UAW and General Motors will create over 6400 direct American jobs and thousand more in suppliers, vendors, and related occupations.  1,850 will be in Wentzville as they add a second shift to build full-size vans and a third shift to build a new mid-size pickup truck.

Both parties would like to thank the American consumer for their support.  Buying American creates jobs!  Speaking of which, General Motors Wentzville Assembly will be a Job Fair in O’Fallon, MO on September 29, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.   The event will be at the O’Fallon Civic Hall, 305 Civic Park Drive, O’Fallon, MO 63366.  Bring your resume! 

So in the last year, Missouri has seen Smith Electric in K.C., Emerald Automotive in Hazelwood, and General Motors in Wentzville announce or begin automotive manufacturing operations.  Sounds like Right-to-Work for less doesn’t have much to do with manufacturing job creation.  I would contend that the $5,000 less per year in wages that workers in Right-to-Work for less states earn mean less buying power for the middle class and even fewer manufacturing jobs.  Funny how the facts defeat the right-wing spin on this issue.

 

The group Patriotic Millionaires has just released a new video, click the one with Eric Cantor, that shows Fat Cat Millionaire Senators protecting Fat Cat Millioniare tax breaks and benefits.  I am constantly amazed at everyday citizens that assume that once elected these millioniares will suddenly begin looking out for the common good.  Sadly, the evidence is contrary.

I hope you will enjoy this animated cartoon titled Mouseland.  Mouseland features a foreward by Keifer Sutherland (24) describing this story that was told for decades by his grandfather, Tommy Douglas.  In this story, a society of mice keeps electing Fat Cats.  Unsurprisingly, these fat cats did a great job of representing the interests of cats, not so great on the  issues important to mice.  Tommy Douglas was talking about the power of the wealthy in Canada but the same story holds true in America today.  Enjoy and share with others you believe will enjoy this entertaining look at politics.

What really horrified me about that debate, wasn’t the poorly phrased question. It wasn’t Dr. Paul’s answer. And it wasn’t even the scream after Wolf Blitzer asked ‘would you let him die’ and somebody in the audience yelled ‘Yeah!.’ That wasn’t as horrifying as was the silence from the stage. From these men and women who are running for office, not a word. Nothing. I was horrified.

I completely missed this when I blogged about the GOP debate last week but what an excellent point. These are the folks who want to replace Barack Obama and they just stood there — grinning in silence — afraid to challenge their Tea Party base.

Say what you want about the president’s failures. (And there are many). He’s not a heartless coward. “Compassionate conservatism?” It’s like “clean coal.” There’s no such thing.

The Project on Government Oversight recently released a study: Bad Business: Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Wasted on Hiring Contractors,  that finds using government workers instead of private sector contractors would have saved taxpayers billions of dollars! 

Federal agencies should move aggressively to limit or curtail service contracting, unless contractors can show that they both save taxpayer dollars and enhance performance as compared to when the work is performed by federal employees. In no event should agencies contract for work that is inherently governmental work, or closely associated with inherently governmental work, and agencies should curtail or eliminate the outsourcing of services that have been poorly performed by contractors—whether due to quality of the work or cost issues, including cost overruns.

Based on POGO’s findings, we believe awarding government service contracts is nearly always more expensive than having such work performed by federal employees, even after accounting for the total cost to the government of federal employee fringe benefits and associated overhead costs.

Under the current federal personnel and service contracting systems, waste to the tune billions of dollars a year will continue for the foreseeable future. The government’s failure to ameliorate its reliance on service contractors, its failure to base outsourcing actions on cost analyses, and its failure to review existing contracts for potential cost savings have serious budget consequences.

Some of these consequences are even more serious than creating right-wing talking points like worker’s pensions are the reason we have budget deficits.  In the case of Walter Reed Hospital, privitization led to filthy, cockroach infested, housing for our sons and daughters injured in battle.

Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan’s room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

More debt-generating activity by politically connected contractors that will make you wonder what is in the building next door can be found in Dana Priest’s  report, Top Secret America.  You can watch this Frontline segment when you have a need to get your blood pressure up.

Instead of funneling billions of dollars to campaign contributors in the dark of night and leaving the bill to unknowing citizens, we can start debating the merits of taxpayer financed activities and let the workers that know how to do the job – do the job?  Stop overpaying contractors for the same work government workers could do better for half the price.

 

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