Friday, January 20, 2012

Working Poor in the USA

Bill Quigley, Huffington Post:

"Our nation, so richly endowed with natural resources and with a capable and industrious population, should be able to devise ways and means of insuring to all our able-bodied men and women, a fair day's pay for a fair day's work." -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937

Millions of people in the U.S. work and are still poor. Here are eight points that show why the U.S. needs to dedicate itself to making work pay.

One. How many people work and are still poor?

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor reported at least 10 million people worked and were still below the unrealistic official U.S. poverty line, an increase of 1.5 million more than the last time they checked. The U.S. poverty line is $18,530 for a mom and two kids. Since 2007 the numbers of working poor have been increasing. About 7 percent of all workers and 4 percent of all full-time workers earn wages that leave them below the poverty line.

Two. What kinds of jobs do the working poor have?

One third of the working poor, over 3 million people, work in the service industry. Workers in other occupations are also poor: 16 percent of those in farming; 11 percent in construction; and 11 percent in sales.

Three. Which workers are most likely to be working and still poor?

Women workers are more likely to be poor than men. African American and Hispanic workers are about twice as likely to be poor as whites. College graduates have a 2 percent poverty rate while workers without a high school diploma have a poverty rate 10 times higher at 20 percent.
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Bernie Sanders: We Need a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn 'Citizens United'

We need to start yesterday to fight for a Constitutional amendment that will get rid of the 'Citizens United' decision has robbed of us of the little democracy we have left:

If you are concerned about the collapse of the middle class, you should be concerned about how American campaigns are financed. If you wonder why the United States is the only country in the industrialized world not to have a national health care program, if you're asking why we pay the highest price in the world for prescription drugs, or why we spend more money on the military than the rest of the world combined, you are talking about campaign finance. You are talking about the unbelievable power that big-money interests have over every legislative decision.

An already horrendous situation was made much worse two years ago this month when the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission that multinational corporations have a constitutional right to spend whatever they want to influence election outcomes. A bare 5-4 majority lowered the floodgates on unchecked, unlimited, unaccountable corporate cash in political campaigns. Corporations were equated with people. A century of laws regulating business spending on elections were upended. In one fell swoop, five justices fantasized for corporations a right never conceived by the founders whose preamble to our Constitution begins with the words, "We the people..."

The ruling not only poisoned our political process. It contaminated the legislative process. It cast a permanent chill over all policymaking. Will the merits or the money tip the balance when an issue comes before Congress? What do you think? If the question is on breaking up huge banks, for example, every member of the Senate and the House, in the back of their minds, will ask themselves what the personal price would be for taking on Wall Street. Am I going to be punished? Will a huge amount of money be unleashed in my state? They're going to think twice about how to cast that vote. Not to put too fine a point on it, you will see politicians being adopted by corporations and becoming wholly-owned subsidiaries of corporate entities.
Full article

Democrats Received Over Twice As Much Bain Cash As Republicans Did

Democrats Received Over Twice As Much Bain Cash As Republicans Did | Mother Jones

You still have millions of American whom still cling to the myth that there is a difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to big business. This is more proof to the contrary.

Police: Chicago Had No Shootings In 24-hour Period

Police: Chicago Had No Shootings In 24-hour Period | Fox News

Maybe the president deserves some credit. He's from Chicago after all. I'm surprised Barack hasn't held a press conference laud thec

Fact Checking The South Carolina GOP Debate

Watch the video or read the transcript from last night's debate.

USA Today Fact Checks the debate:

  • Gingrich, slamming Jimmy Carter, said "unemployment went to 10.8%." It did — nearly two years after Ronald Reagan took office. But it never exceeded 7.8% under Carter.
  • Gingrich claimed that "none" of the ideas on the website of his Center for Health Transformation resemble Obama's program. Actually, we found a call there for an individual mandate, which Gingrich himself repeated as recently as last May.
  • Santorum wrong on "government-run" health care: Santorum called the law "a government-run health care system." That's not true. Like the federal law signed by Obama, the Massachusetts law doesn't create a system in which the government is the insurer, or provider of health care. Instead, both laws mandated that all residents have insurance, expanding business for private carriers. They also offered subsidies to help lower-income residents buy private insurance, and they expanded Medicaid.
Full article

Occupy Wall Street Versus the Supreme Court

The court must be held accountable:

The "Occupy" movement will turn its focus to the nation's highest court Friday as organizers plan to gather around the Supreme Court building dressed like justices and singing songs of the old soul group, The Supremes.

The event is being held around the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which removed many limits to corporate spending in federal political campaigns, organizers say.

Protests are also expected at federal courthouses in other cities.
Hackers and the Occupy movement

The one-day event dubbed "Occupy the Courts" is organized by the grassroots group called Move to Amend and was inspired by the Occupy Wall Street participants, organizers said.

The Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York in September has spread across major cities worldwide as a call to action against what protesters consider the unequal distribution of wealth.

SOPA Protests Sway Congress: 31 Opponents Yesterday, 122 Now


Yesterday the Internet cried out in protest of SOPA-PIPA, and congress heard us loud and clear. At the beginning of Janaury 18th, there were 80 members of congress who supported the legislation, and 31 opponents. Now, just 63 support SOPA-PIPA, and opposition has surged to 122, according to ProPublica.

Unfortunately, there are still more stated supporters than opponents in the Senate. There, PIPA needs 60 supporters out of 100 for it to pass, and two-thirds majority (67 votes) to prevent President Obama from being able to veto. At this rate PIPA would pass.

ProPublica, an independent non-profit news room define supporters and opponents according to ” whether a member is a sponsor of the proposed bills, and each member’s voting record on the current bills’ precursors and alternatives.” It’s been keeping a real-time count of Congressional support and opposition.

10 NATO troops killed in Afghanistan in 24 hours

Why is Afghanistan not being discussed during the GOP debates? This quagmire has to be resolved:

An Afghan soldier shot and killed four French troops Friday in eastern Afghanistan and a helicopter crash killed six more NATO service members in the south, officials said, marking a particularly deadly 24 hours for coalition forces.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday that France is suspending its training programs for Afghan troops after the killings, which he announced in a speech after the U.S.-led coalition said an Afghan soldier shot and killed four NATO troops.

Sarkozy said it was "unacceptable" that Afghan troops would attack French soldiers. He said French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe is heading to Afghanistan after the attack, which is among the most deadly for French forces in the 10 years they have been serving in the NATO-led international force in Afghanistan.
Full article

Video: CNN GOP South Carolina Debate (1-19-12)

Link to Videos or Transcripts

South Carolina GOP CNN debate, Jan. 19, 2012. Transcript

Full transcript. Excerpt below:

As you know, your ex-wife gave an interview to ABC News and another interview with The Washington Post, and this story has now gone viral on the Internet. In it, she says that you came to her in 1999, at a time when you were having an affair. She says you asked her, sir, to enter into an open marriage. Would you like to take some time to respond to that?

MR. GINGRICH: No -- but I will. (Cheers, applause.)

I think -- I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. KING: Is that all you want to say, sir?

MR. GINGRICH: Let me finish.

MR. KING: Please. (Boos, cheers, applause.)

MR. GINGRICH: Every person in here knows personal pain.

Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine. (Cheers, applause.)

My -- my two daughters, my two daughters wrote the head of ABC, and made the point that it was wrong, that they should pull it. And I am frankly astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open a presidential debate. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. KING: As you noted, Mr. Speaker, this story did not come from our network. As you also know, it is a subject of conversation on the campaign. I'm not -- I get your point; I take get your --

MR. GINGRICH: John, John, it was repeated by your network. (Boos.) You chose to start the debate with it. Don't try to blame somebody else. You and your staff chose to start this debate with that. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. KING: Now, OK --

MR. GINGRICH: Now, let me be quite clear. Let me be quite clear. The story is false. Every personal friend I have who knew us in that period says the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false. They weren't interested, because they would like to attack any Republican. They're attacking the governor, they're attacking me. I'm sure they'll probably get around to Senator Santorum and Congressman Paul. I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans. (Cheers, applause.)