The October 2011 Co-Presidents Message, Bonnie & John

Unfortunately, the failings of corporations and governments alike are so abundant that it places a premium on one’s time and energy to learn enough to make informed remarks and formulate recommendations for action on any one of them. Having said that, I will make a quick foray into one issue that affects all of us. This one deals with the United States Postal Service (USPS), an independent governmental corporation, functioning under the laws and regulations of our federal government. At one time the post office was considered to be so important that its establishment was recognized as an explicit power granted to Congress in our United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8); the Congress specifically has the power to “establish Post Offices and post Roads,” but the current situation appears to be one where the Congress appears to be acting to the contrary.

The USPS is facing financial obstacles that are mostly not of its own making, but, nonetheless, threaten its existence. While USPS mail service has declined because of the use of alternative communication methods, such as email, as well as private package delivery businesses, such as FedEx, the laws under which the system has been required to function have substantially hampered the ability of the USPS to operate in a financially responsible manner. Postmaster Patrick R. Donahoe said, on a recent PBS NewsHour program, that a major reason for the postal service’s financial crisis is a 2006 law requiring it to pay about $5.5 billion per year for 10 years to underwrite 75 years of health coverage for future employees. In addition, according to actuarial reports, the USPS has overpaid about $57 billion into two federal pension plans, which it is attempting to retrieve to meet current and future obligations. Layoffs of 120,000 workers, closure of post offices, and elimination of Saturday mail service and overnight delivery of first class mail have been proposed to prevent imminent shutdown of the entire USPS. Naturally, Cliff Guffey, president of the American Postal Workers Union, opposes proposals that would place his members at risk of job loss (New York Times, September 6, 2011).

As Democrats, we should join Guffey in opposing these job losses. We should pressure our Congress and President Obama to change laws that make the USPS make huge payments into health care benefits, as well as other laws that prevent the USPS from operating more effectively in a competitive marketplace. Private businesses, such as FedEx and UPS, don’t fund employee health care benefits 75 years forward! Why should the law put the USPS at such a competitive disadvantage to private operators?

Perhaps an investigation into campaign donations from FedEx and UPS to members of Congress might reveal the real reason for restrictions on the ability of the USPS to operate as it should. Is it possible that Congress is trying to put the USPS out of business, so FedEx and UPS can overcharge us for privatized service? Are the FedEx drop boxes at the post offices harbingers of this? If so, consider what has happened when other government services have been privatized to contractors; Blackwater, Halliburton, and their ilk immediately come to mind. They’ve made billions in no-bid contracts. Think about it! Do you want small businesses to be put out of business because they are forced to rely on expensive parcel delivery services instead of the less costly USPS? Do you want rural post offices that are the center of regional communities to go out of business because they are not profitable for the private parcel delivery services? Do you want to pay high cost, nonunion, private contractors $10 to deliver a letter because it’s being sent to a rural area?

If you don’t want the USPS to be strangled by laws and regulations that give private providers unfair advantages, send messages to your Congress members and president, to unshackle the USPS from laws that are pushing it to the brink of insolvency. We need the USPS.

BBP

The September 2011 Co-Presidents Message, Bonnie & John

Is democracy as we know it on its way out? According to the Pew Research Center, the proportion of the U.S. public expressing trust in the federal government has fallen from just under 80% in the late 1960s to barely 20% today. Another poll by the European Union in September, found that only 29% of voters in its 27 member-states trust their own national governments. Fewer than 20% believe that their elected representatives are capable of successful action against financial empires.

An example that supports the European view is the Murdock affair. In this case, British governmental officials did not do their jobs for over five years, allowing Murdoch’s media empire to make millions through information obtained by phone hacking. It was a clear betrayal of trust for greed, not only by Murdoch but also by governmental officials who were complicit in the crime.

In the United States, the rich corporations lobby legislators to secure changes in the laws to help them create more jobs; then, they outsource the jobs to other countries! They also steal our taxpayer-funded research and build plants in Asia to make the products cheaply and sell them back to us! Then, they want us to give them a free pass to repatriate those dollars tax free that they have accumulated in foreign countries. Our workers walk the streets looking for jobs that have been taken to other countries, while the rich get richer by siphoning profits and taxes into their own pockets.

When are we going to stop this? When are we going to get rid of the lying corporate CEOs, and the lying politicians who use corporate funds to get reelected? When are we going to stand up and shout: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH? 2012 elections are just ahead. It’s time for us to act!

Politics is not a spectator sport!

JAM

The August 2011 Co-Presidents Message, Bonnie & John

Obama Campaign Kicks Off in East County
President Barack Obama’s cam-paign for re-election kicked off in East County on July 30, 2011. Carlos Diaz Livingston, organizer for the East County of San Diego, led the gathering of about 100 volunteers in planning grassroots activities. The first official event for the 2012 campaign took place at the Community Center in El Cajon from 2 – 4 p.m.
Linda Armacost, president of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club, and Bonnie Price, co-president of the East County Democratic Club, made comments about their clubs and party events, following opening remarks by Livingston.
The volunteers divided into sec-tors by communities in the area. In each of the groups, plans were developed to reach out to recruit new volunteers, register voters, and conduct campaign activities that would be successful in each area. El Cajon, La Mesa, Santee-Lakeside, Spring Valley-Lemon Grove, Santee-Lakeside, and smaller, rural communities, each had numerous volunteers. El Cajon had the largest turnout with about 20 participants.
Prior to the planning session, volunteers professionals did videotaping sessions with volunteers, who explained why they were joining the campaign. Following the planning session, all volunteers participated in a videotaping session, shouting “I’m In!” and “Promises Kept.” Livingston planned to have the videos posted to the national and/or state campaign web sites.
Livingston reported that he believed that the turnout in Easy County was the largest in the state. Organizing regions were based on congressional districts. Livingston graduated from Monte Vista High School and Washington University in St. Louis. Thereafter, he did a tour in Ecuador for the Peace Corps. He plans to continue his studies in graduate school.
BBP

The July 2011 Co-Presidents Message, Bonnie & John

There’s no doubt about it. Both Medicare and Social Security are in danger of going broke. Trustees of each system recently released reports that Medicare will become insolvent in 2024, while Social Security will be unable to meet its full obligations in 2036. These reports are based on assumptions that nothing will be done to prevent the death of these systems.

Because both programs are valued by the public, governmental officials and citizens alike have offered rescue plans.

One that the Republican-led House of Representatives passed in its version of the budget caps Medicare costs by making it a voucher system to allow the public to buy health insurance. Increasing costs of health care costs would then be borne by individuals instead of the government, since insurance tends to exclude payments for many costs.

Republicans have also endorsed changing Social Security to operate like a 401K plan. This would allow individuals to invest in securities and other financial products to provide for retirement. This plan would also put the burden on the individual; whoever did not make the best retirement investments would suffer the consequences of poverty.

Both proposals fail as measures to ensure that we who have paid for existing programs get what we paid for. And neither requires that high income earners pay the same percentage of their incomes for these programs as those of us who earn less, which is a flaw in our cur-rent systems; currently, contributions from high income earners ends at $106,800. Why not remove this cap, so all pay their fair share?

And, why not have all governmental employees at all levels pay into the national systems instead of the diverse national, state, and local pension plans? These plans are often underfunded by officials or poorly invested in hedge funds and other shaky financial products. Including more workers in the national programs would boost needed revenues.

Furthermore, why can’t the Medicare drug prescription plan control costs like the Veterans Administration by using competitive bidding and bulk purchasing to reduce drug prices? Such practices would make Medicare funds stretch farther.

Needless to say, Republicans are against these alternatives and others as well. Why because their constituents who elected them are not their main concern. Republicans consider banks, insurance companies, Wall Street financial organizations, and big pharmaceutical firms to be more important than those who elected them.

B.B.P.

The June 2011 Co-Presidents Message, Bonnie & John

We can’t trust any of the news media for reporting the real crisis facing us, or the truth about what they are reporting. Let us consider the last four years of how the media have depicted the economic crisis. This was the gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression. We the people have not been the primary participants if we rely on the media depiction of it.

The mainstream press focused on a relatively small number of major story lines about the country’s political and financial capitals. Most of the news was about the bankers and the chairman of the Federal Reserve. We the people had to help the banking sector out of the hole that they dug for themselves,  or our capitalism system would fail. It is bloody capitalism for us and socialism for the rich.

Then the auto industry crisis hit the front pages and we the people had to save this industry from itself. In the case of General Motors (Generous Motors) they have been making lousy cars for years and should be out of business, but we the people had to save it.

Then the Republicans started their smoke screen about the deficit which they created, but refuse to take ownership for creating. The news media jumped in with both feet on this, focusing attention on the current Democratic administration’s responsibility to cut spending.

During the past four years, we have seen very little about the unemployed, foreclosed homes, the effect on education and health care costs just to name a few. We the people just don’t count when it comes to the news media. The only things they want from us are our subscriptions and that we buy from their advertisers so that they can protect their rich owners. Maybe we should have rolling boycotts of targeted news media and their major advertiser, so they will recognize how important we are in making the economy work.

JAM

 

The Democrat Next Door

by Judith Bambace 

Whenever I tell people about my involvement with the Coronado Democratic Club, I inevitably get the question, “Are there really Democrats in Coronado?” I am flabbergasted, not to mention highly insulted. After all, around 25% of registered voters in Coronado are Democrats, which is nothing to sneeze at in this seemingly ultra-conservative burgh. You may, like me, wonder where all these people are and why they are not more visible, outspoken and politically active, especially now. As we have learned from the Republican primaries, this is no ordinary election year. We not only have the Presidency at stake, but also the Senate to keep and the House to gain. There is much to do, and it’s not too soon to rally the forces.

Voter Suppression Must Stop!

It is clear that the Republicans, including the anti-government libertarians, anti- immigration activists, anti-healthcare proponents (deny women birth control coverage — really?) and anti-tax fanatics, are totally divorced from reality. The GOP candidates are spending huge amounts of time and money attacking President Obama. One of the actions you can take immediately to help support President Obama is to debunk Republicans’ claims and make sure others hear about what Democrats have accomplished. I recently signed up to be a member of the “Truth Team” – a web-based resource for grassroots supporters that provides everything you need to know and the tools to help share that information with undecided voters in your life. By learning about President Obama’s record and promises kept, I can intelligently respond to false and negative statements about the President, and challenge the Republicans’ lies about their own records. So the next time someone asks, “What has President Obama really accomplished?”, I will be armed with accurate information. I am a firm believer that knowledge is power. You can access the Truth Team website at http://my.barackobama.com/Truth-Team

Speaking of grassroots supporters, many thanks to those of you who have renewed your membership in the Coronado Democratic Club for 2012. You have a voice in the political process and are making a difference. To those who have not yet renewed, don’t delay. We need you. Collectively, we can hold the Republicans’ feet to the fire and keep this country moving forward. And the next time someone asks, “Where are all the Democrats in Coronado?” I’ll be able to answer, “We are everywhere.”