Governor Corbett and unConstitutional GOP Policies wastes time and money.

              Another of Governor Corbett’s landmark policies was determined by the Commonwealth Court to violate the Pennsylvania State Constitution. His Human Services Block Grant Program got hit this time. Ths 2012 program, was said to give counties flexibility to spend Human Services funds where they most needed them. There was also another 10% slashed from their budgets.

Apperently it was so flexible in its interpretation of State Law that it went outside the bounds of the Constitution. Court reviews of laws presented by Governor Corbett and the Republican party are quite normal over the last 2 years. The Voter I.D., Act 13, stripped municipalities of the ability to establish their own zoning regulations. The elimination of the Adult Basic Health Care Program. It provided Health Care for working Pennsylvanians and partially paid for tabacco settlement funds. Republicans first attempts at reapportionment were all found unConstitutional.

Governor Corbett’s lawsuit against the NCAA was dismissed. His plan to privatize the Pennsylvania state lottery was rejected by the attorney general. The truth is the laws Governor Corbett is trying to pass are a waste if taxpayer money. The Governor’s office has spent almost $3 million on consulting firms for the lottery alone. If House Republicans would allow fair debate in the House these expenses could be avoided. During both the Act 13 and Voter I.D. debates, Democrats brought up the issue of Constitutionality only to be rebuked.

If Corbett’s liquor privatization and pension schemes get signed they will likely see court. Governor Corbett, just like Republicans nationwide care little for what the people want. It seems as if the Constitution only matters if it works in their favor and if not they stomp all over it. It is just a matter of time before they overwhelm the people and we are governed by the Koch Brothers.

Republicans are not job creators, useless law creators.

                  Over the last 5 years Republicans have done little to help the economy and in fact have impeded its recovery. The Sequester alone has cost several hundred thousand jobs; not to mention all the furloughs. They have worked with corporations to stop the will of the people and have made a mockery of our Government.

They believe in deregulation which directly led to the Financial Collapse, the Great Recession and the Housing Crisis. They have fought against reform in all of these markets, hurting our economy. They have not supported American ideals, leaning more toward a bigoted, short sighted corporate view of America. They have shot down Jobs Bill and Veterans Jobs Bills to concentrate on Anti-Abortion and Voter Regulation Laws.

The only way to make the ACA work is to work together. Republicans refuse and would rather destroy the middle class and social safety nets to prevent Tax Reform. They support the Citizens United Supreme Court decision but refuse to hold corporations accountable for their illegal actions. I and most other Americans do not think anyone is above the law or deserves a free ride. That is why not prosecuting CEOs of Too Big Too Fail Banks is a slap in America’s face.

I dont think our founding fathers imagined an American governed by corporations. Nor did they envision a Congress that would work against the countries best interests. But thus is where we are. Knuckleheads screaming for secession, yet they recieve more government money than anyone else. This is a country being held hostage by a party throwing a 4 year temper tantrum. Time for the rich white party to grow up.

Temp. Employees hiring marks a less committed relationship between Corporation and employee.

                One corner of the U.S. ecomomy is hiring prolifically, temp. Workers. Many large companies are moving towards hiring temp employees. WalMart, General Motors and PepsiCo are a few of the largest. There are currently 17 million temp.employees or 12% of the entire workforce in the nation.

The temp. hiring shows many employers are looking for cheap solutions. Temp. hiring has jumped abput 50% since the worst of the Great Recession ended. There are now 2.7 million temp. employees, the most on record since 1990. This trend is a way for companies to avoid paying employees well, as well as avoiding to provide Health Care for employees. These companies are making very high profits, but refuse to treat employees better. High bonuses go to CEOs while workers barely get raises.

Temps. recieve low pay, few benefits and zero job security. Temp. employment offers little stability and forces families into tougher situations. It causes employees to constantly change jobs, as well as shifts, making it difficult for families to adapt. Thess hiring tendencies show the true disconnect between corprations and people. WalMart alone is detrimental to government spending. WalMart is basically subsidized by our Federal Government. Low wages cause employees to qualify for Government Assistance, the SNAP Program, medical assistance and Home Heating Assistance. One WalMart store in Wisconsin cost taxpayers $900,00, one store.

President Obama over the last 5 years has presented Congress with a Jobs Bill and a Veterans Jobs Bill. The 2 Bills together would have created approximately 2 million more jobs, almost the same amount as Temp. employees. Senate Republicans Filibustered both and House Republicans unanimously voted against both Bills. Much to the chagrin of Republicans, President Obama and Democrats have the economy headed in the right direction. Republicans Union Busting Bills and lackadaisical approach to jobs is hurting the U.S. worker. Over the last 4 years, Republicans have produced 44 Anti-Abortion Laws and 71 Pro-Religious Laws, but zero JOBS.

Happy 4th of July, Independence earned through blood.

               HAPPY 4th of JULY!! The day our fledgling country declared its Independence from a colonial power. The day our founding fathers said enough was enough. The day we said no more to an oppressive regime. The day the American experiment began. Of course all of the rights we have today were earned with the blood of brave Americans and over our many years as a country more blood has veen shed to spread these freedoms worldwide.

Our Freedom to scream at our leaders, protest, although that seems challenged at times, to write what we want, religious freedom, freedom from tyranny among many other freedoms started that day. Our right to elect our leaders and elect different ones when they don’t do the job all started that day. All these freedoms that other countries would put you in jail for, we have. No other country has anything like our 2nd Amendment, however misinterpreted it is. Our Bill of Rights guarentees our Freedoms as an addition to our Constitution.

Republicans show blatant disregard for our Constitution. Stomping on 1st Amendment rights, our voting rights, workers rights and women’s rights. The Voter I.D. Law, which was model legislation from ALEC which is in cohoots with the NRA, as well as these Anti-Abortion Laws Republicans are attempting to pass nationwide. The Republicans show disdain for the office of the President, because they don’t agree with President Obama. Democrats are not perfect, the Monsanto Protection Act, is a complete joke, but they do more for the people than the Republican party.

Gettysburg is celebrating yhe 150th anniversary of what is probably the most pivotal battle of the Civil War. 50,000 Americans were killed or injured during this battle. This was the beginning of freedom for African Americans. African Americans were only considered 3/5s of a person in the Constitution. Our Country is not and never will be perfect. But our syste m of government has worked for a long time. To let it be hijacked by lobbyist working for corporate interest makes everything these men and women sacraficed for a joke.

So today while celebrating our independence remember the blood that has been shed. Thank your neighbors son who serves in the Navy. Thank your good friend who serves in the Air Force. Thank the man in the wheel chair for his Army service in Iraq. Thank the Marine you know or see for putting their life between you and those who despise the freedoms we have. The Marines are special to me because I was there, so I personally thank all of you service members for what you do. We are celebrating our county’s independence, but it was won with the blood of soldiers like these. THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH!!!! HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!! Have a great day and don’t drink and drive. Be careful with those fireworks as well.

Corporations are paying employees with debit cards whose fees push them below the minimum wage.

             The U.S. Attorney’s Office has asked the U.S. Department of Labor to look into the use of debit cards to pat employees to determine if federal action is necessary. The action was sparked by a Pennsylvania lawsuit against McDonald’s. McDonald’s paid the employee with a debit card. Heidi Havens, department spokeswoman for the DOJ would not comment on what the Labor Department is investigating.

The employee was paid with a debit card, it had bank fees that included $1 to check the employees balance, $1.50 to withdraw cash and $15 to replace a lost card. The employee was under the impression the pay was $7.44 an hour. The employee refused to use the debit card because the fee deductions could bring the hourly rate below the Federally Mandated minimum wage of $7.25. The Labor Department said if the fees do not bring the wage below $7.25 it does not violate the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The employee said the debit card was the only option to recieve pay. McDonald’s refused to use a paper check or direct deposit. Rather than incur the fees the employee quit. Mike Fusco, spokesman for JP Morgan Chase in New York City, said he couldn’t comment on a specific case. He did say his company provides debit cards as an option to recieve wages. He also said there are ways for employees to access their cash for free. He believes debit cards offer much more efficiency and fraud protection.

The suit that was filed seeks an unspecified amount of monetary damages and asks for punitive, compensatory and liquidated damages, plus lega fees and litigation costs against McDonalds. It is against the companies ill-gotten gains contrary to justice, equity, good concious and Pennsylvania law.

What person wants a fee riddled debit card instead of a paper check or direct deposit. This is a freedom no one thinks about. I work for my check, I don’t want a card that takes away my money through fees. $7.44 is not much anyway and McDonald’s and JP Morgan Chase seem to have a scam going on. Obviously the politics are simple, Democrats are against it, Republicans are for it. Typical if it is corporation or people, Republicans choose corporations.

Supreme Court rules in favor of Big Business.

               A sharply divided Supreme Court made it more difficult for Americans to sue businesses for discrimination and retaliation. It led to one of of the Judges to call on Congress to overturn the courts action. The High Court ruled 5-4 in 2 major decisions.

                  The Court’s Conservatives ruled that a person must be able to hire and fire someone to be considered a supervisor in discrimination lawsuits. This makes it harder to blame a business for a coworkers’ sexism or racism. The Court then decided to limit how juries can decide retaliation lawsuits. It says victims must prove employers wouldn’t havectaken action against them but for the intention to retaliate.

In the first case, Maetta Vance, who was a catering specialist at Ball State University, accused a co-worker, Shaundra Davis, of racial harrassment and retaliation in 2005. Vance sued the school under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Vance said the University was liable since Davis was her supervisor. But a Federal Judge threw out her lawsuit, saying that since Davis couldn’t fire Vance, she was only a co-worker and since the University had taken corrective action, it was not liable fir Davis’ actions. The 7th Circuit upheld that decision and Vance appealed to the Supreme Court.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote both dissents for the Court’s Liberal wing. She said aloud in Court, “Both decisions dilute the strength of of Title VII in ways Congress could not have intended.” She also said the Supreme Court had corralled Title VII, a law designed to stop discrimination in work places.

But Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, said Davis must have the authority to hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer or discipline Vance, in order for the University to be liable. He also said “We hold that an employee is a supervisor for purposed vicarious liability under Title VII if he or she were empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim. Becausr there is no evidence BSU empowered Davis to take tangible employment actions against Vance, the judgement of the Seventh Circuit is affirmed.”

The Conservative portion of the Supreme Court usually rules in favor of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a Republican lobbying group. These are obviously decisions that benefit big bussiness. Of course it is at the expense of the worker. Gutting Title VII removes most, if not all responsibility to protect their employees. Obviously it is up to Democrats to fix this, because Republicans and their corporate sponsors got a win. The people lost again.


Workers Compensation in Pa. is a cruel joke on the injured employee.

                   I got hurt at work. Lifting a cabinet with a co-worker, he slipped and I lifted it the rest of the way. I felt a tweak in my back. 4 and 1/2 years and 6 surgeries later I am still a mess. My last surgery was in November, I had a 2 level fusion and 2 disks replaced. I still have a tremendous amount of pain in my back, whole right leg, right knee, right ankle, both hips, both butt cheeks and my left knee. I wear a brace that goes from my foot to my groin to keep me from falling.

I have been on Workers Compensation for 4 and 1/2 years. My check was weekly and there were times I didn’t get it for several weeks. To compound that I never recieved a letter stating the reason for the amount I was being paid. The day of my last surgery they filed a petition stating that I could return to work immediately. The day of a 7 and 1/2 hour surgery. My lawyer said the only thing he could do for them not sending a paycheck was file a petition and that might not work.

At one point my leg would give out and I would fall as many as 20 times a day. I have tears all through my right knee, but they said that had nothing to do with the original injury, although the original injury was causing me to fall. My lawyer got a stipulation covering the nerve damage in that leg. That was considered a victory.

I am at the stage of settling. I am not going to be able to work anymore. Disability is where I am headed, although I was shot down the first time, lawyers said it was because of my age. My age, not my injury. The lawyer told me it could take over a year to get a decision, that is a year with no income or health care. Very exciting. Now to the real screw job I am going to get.

I get to walk with a cane and a large brace, live in pain the rest of my life and probably have a shorter life because of it and all I get is 10 years of Workers Compensation pay. I can collect checks for 500 weeks, a grand total of $200,000. The settlement, I should say the joke, is $100,000. The judge and my lawyer said this is a good amount. A good amount for the hell I have been through and will continue to go through. I am going to get $80,000 after the lawyer takes 20%. That’s what I get for the rest of my life.

Workers Compensation laws are set up for businesses. They are not for the injured. The deck is stacked against the person from day 1. We do not have a chance. I am going to find a way to change these laws. Not one more person deserves to be treated like this. I lost a pension and a job I loved. I lost. I don’t want others to have to go through this. If there is anyone out there who is organized for change in Workers Compensation laws please contact me. I will do what I can to help change them.

Wal-Mart’s low wages are being subsidized by tax payers.

                 It isn’t breaking news that Wal-Mart employees are unhappy with their low wage level. Last year on Black Friday OUR Wal-Mart, a union backed worker group chose to walk off the job and campaign for their rights. OUR Wal-Mart announced its plans in early May to meet in Bentonville, Arkansas on the day of Wal-Marts annual shareholder meeting. They plan to campaign for more full time jobs with predictable schedules. Also for better wages to help provide for their families.

A new report shows that Wal-Mart employees aren’t the only ones paying the price for their low wages. According to the Huffington Post, Congressional Democrats recently released a study that demonstrated that Wal-Mart wages are so low that many of their employees rely on Food Stamps and other Government Aid programs. One Wal-Mart Supercenter in Wisconsin is costing tax payers as much as $900, 000 per year. The report is entitled ” The Low Wage Drag on Our Economy” was produced by Democrats with the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Wisconsin was the state chosen for the study because its data is most recent. It allowed the study to employ the states Medicaid data to discern the annual cost tax payers pay to provide Food Stamps and Publicly Subsidized HealthCare programs to those Supercenter employees who qualify for aid. Wal-Mart has long been criticized for low wages, that qualify many of their employees for assistance programs. Wal-Mart had more employees enrolled in the state’s healthcare program last quarter than any other employer.

Wal-Mart stands by its current wage levels and the oppurtunities it provides for workers. The Huffington Post quotes Wal-Mart spokes women Brooke Buchanan saying ” Unfortunately there are some people who base their opinions on misconceptions rather than facts. We provide a range of jobs- from people stocking shelves to Ph.Ds in engineering and finance. We provide education assistance and skill training, and most of all, a chance to move up the ranks.”

Despite these claims Wal-Mart has been taken to court several times and lost. They are consistently in trouble for violating workers rights. Their treatment of their employees has been historically bad. But the new American way is to abuse your employees, while you rake in incredible profits. Wal-Mart is one of the highest employers in the country, employing over 1 million people. Maybe a union to protect the employees, improve work place standards and get higher wages is a good idea.

The current minimum wage stands at $7.25 an hour. It applies in 31 states that don’t mandate a higher wage. A person making $7.25 an hour working full time, 40 hours, makes $290 a week. That is $1, 160 a month. That is $13, 920 a year, for a single person that is about 115% of the poverty level. The unfortunate part is you need Wal-Mart employees or there is no Wal-Mart. These people can’t be that lazy working more hours and days than our Congress, right?

Republicans recently voted unanimously against Raising the Minimum Wage, unanimously. The last time raising the minimum wage came up Republicans said all the same things. It will put companies out of business, destroy the economy and slow hiring. They were wrong on every one of those, considering the unemployment level was below 4% and we had the most consecutive years of economic growth ever. President Obama said Raising the Minimum Wage will help give low income earners a step on the ladder to the middle class. He said this in his State of the Union Address and Repunlicans immediately went to work trying to stop it. Dont Republicans realize people vote Democrat because they help normal people not people who don’t need the help. Republicans will pass the drowning person and hand a towel to the person already out of the pool. Keep going Republicans, you are making yourself irrelevant.

Is it the American Dream or the American Lie?

           After WWII the United States had an unprecedented economic run. The People in our country had an incredible run. We were well ahead of the rest of the world in technical advancements. Our automobile industry, technical industry, health and just about every other industry was well ahead of the rest of the world. Our economy was stellar and it truly showed in the strength of our middle class.

The American Dream was alive and well. People were able to afford the nice house, nice yard, a good car, vacations and savings for college and/or retirement. Unions helped employees earn a better salary and people had more discretionary income. People were buying T.V.s, unnecessary items, that were once considered a luxury. Even with ups and downs it seemed as if everyone had a fair shot to live their dream.

Everything truly started to change in the 1970s. That is when CEO pay began to jump and the employee pay began to level off. The 1980s and Reagonomics put a serious hurting on the American Dream. More people were layed off, companies began getting more work out of less people and corporations put short term profits ahead of the long term outlook. The 1990s saw a bit of an uptick for employees, but that was shortlived. Then George W. Bush and the new Republican party struck.

The Bush administration started the Bush Tax Cuts, which increasingly helped the Wealthy. Since the inception of the Bush Tax Cuts, they have cost us about $3 trillion. He started 2 wars that weren’t paid for and was in charge for 2 recessions. He created less jobs that any President in history and was in office for the largest terrorist attack in American History, 9/11. The Housing Market and the Banking Industry fell apart under his watch.

To top all of that off we were hemorrhaging jobs. He gave tax breaks to companies who outsourced American jobs as they were recieving government subsidies. By this time CEOs were making 400 times what their employees made and employeed wages stagnated. Banks were going bankrupt, yet their CEOs were getting million dollar bonuses or more. It was as if tge world was turned upside down. The American Dream was dead in the water.

In steps President Obama and the Democrats. They passed the ACA, the economy was slowly improving and jobs were slowly being created. All this despite Republican attempts to stop him and find a way to impeach him. Now the Stock Market is sitting at a record high, unemployment rate is below 8% and the Republicans are still doing everything they can to inhibit him.

But despite the improvements, does the American Dream still exist? Yes and no. It will never be the same as it was. It is more like buying a home and making sure the bills are paid. Maybe you can go on a vacation, most likely not if you want to put your kids through college. The one hidden stat that is very disturbing is that 91% of the wealth made over the past 5 years was made by the top 7% of America’s earners. It appears the American Dream has been held hostage.

Republicans unanimously voted down raising the Federal Minimum Wage Raise.

          House Republicans unanimously voted against raising the federal minimum wage. Republicans effectively guaranteed that the working poor will deeper into poverty and giant retailers will continue posting record profits. The Republicans justified voting against the minimum wage hike with the same tired reasons they use to cut corporate taxes and kill regulations. It will drive up unemployment by making it harder got small businesses to hire. When President Obama called for a raise in the minimum wage during his State of the Union Address, Speaker John Boehner imeadiately dismissed the idea saying, “When you raise the price of employment, it makes it harder for small employers to hire people.” However, the Republicans arguement is not bourne out by facts or testimony from small business owners.

                   America’s CEOs saw their pay spike 15% last year, that’s after a 28% spike the year before. At the same time employees saw their inflation adjusted wages fall 2%. CEO pay spiked 725% between 1978-2011, while worker pay grew just 5.7% over the same period. That means that CEO pay grew 127 times faster than worker pay. The European Union, Switzerland and Berlin are attempting to cap excessive compensation packages.

                  Not only are Republicans willing to assault American workers on minimum wage, but they are willing to go much further. Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA) suggested that he would propose legislation to end overtime pay for hourly workers. As if the proposal were not preposterous itself, Cantor’s justification for such a proposal is even more ridiculous. He suggests that the more ideal incentive fir working more hours isn’t more pay. It is more time off to spend with your family by going on a field trip or attending a PTA meeting.

                 Several years ago Republicans were trying to lower and/or eliminate the minimum wage. At no point in recent history have Republicans sided withworking Americans. A person making the minimum wage,  which is $7.25/hour, would make about $15,000 per year. The Republicans going against Americans here shows the partys large problem of being out of touch with what Americans go through day to day, despite claiming they understand the people better than Democrats. Eliminating the minimum wage would allow companies to pay whatever they wanted, affording working Americans zero protection.

               67% of the american people support raising the minimum wage to $10/hour. Over half of Republican voters feel the same. 3.6 million workers had wages at or below the minimum wage in 2009, that accounts for aporoxamately 5% of all hourly workers. The Labor Department found Texas, West Virginian and Alabama had the highest amount of hourly workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage. If the minimum wage, which began in the 1930s, kept pace with inflation it would be $10/hour today.

               But again Republicans side with special interest groups and corporations. The American public does not matter to them until election day. I hope that these tactics will cause the fall of todays Republican party and their extremist Tea Party wing. Democrats are our only protection until something changes, they need to be more bold. Remember nothing changes if nothing changes.

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