News November 10

Senator Sanders

Protecting Veterans Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed to fight an attempt to cut annual cost-of-living inflation adjustments for veterans and people on Social Security. "We do not intend to see the budget balanced on the backs of seniors and veterans," Sanders said during a telephone news conference in which he was joined by veterans' and seniors' organizations. Sanders said he opposes a possible change that would be made to the way annual cost-of-living-adjustments are calculated. He said arevised consumer price index, a so-called chained CPI, would harm millions of veterans, senior citizens and persons with disabilities, the Burlington Free Press, The Hill, VTDigger.org, Politicus, VPR, and FederalNewsRadio reported. LINK,LINK, LINK, LINK, LINKAUDIO, LINK

Social Security Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid assured Sen. Sanders in a phone call Thursday that he will not sign off on a deficit-reduction deal that cuts Social Security benefits. "It gives me a great deal of comfort when we have the majority leader of the United States Senate saying clearly that Social Security has nothing to do with deficit reduction and should not be part of the discussion with regard to deficit reduction," said Sanders, The Hill reported. LINK

Back to Work The members of Vermont's congressional delegation were happy about the results of Tuesday's election, but all three admitted there's a lot of hard work to be done, both in the lame-duck Congress set to reconvene next week and in its 113th version that begins in January, the Brattleboro Reformer reported. "My pledge is to work as hard as I can representing Vermont," said Sen. Sanders, LINK

Obama's Mandate Sen. Bernie Sanders says the president and Democrats in Congress have a mandate following Tuesday's election to seek tax hikes on the wealthy as part of a balanced approach to lowering the country's deficits and avoiding the "fiscal cliff." the Bennington Banner reported. LINK

Citizens United "This money in politics problem is a crisis, it is a crisis no matter what the final result," John Nichols said in an interview with Democracy Now! But progressive senators and people throughout the country are fighting to overturn the Citizens Untied decision that opened the door to money in politics. Sen. Sander for example, "made overturning Citizens United a central theme of his re-election campaign in Vermont," a victory he easily won. LINK

The Occupy Election Occupy brought the phrase "99 percent" into the political discourse and helped progressives score underdog victories in several senate races, Charles P. Pierce blogged for Esquire. "It ought to be harder to marginalize, say, Bernie Sanders, when he has so manypeople at his back now," wrote Pierce. LINK

Liberty Union The Liberty Union party, once the party of Sen. Sanders, attained major party status in Vermont when its candidate for Vermont secretary of state received 13 percent of the vote. Major party status raises the profile of candidates but also forces the party to hold primaries if it has more than one candidate for an office, The Associated Press reported. LINK

House '12 Wis. Newly elected Rep. Mark Pocan will take over progressive hero Robert La Follette's old House seat, joining several new progressive members of Congress. Like Sen. Sanders, Pocan is expected to be an independent voice and a media savvy supporter of progressive candidates and causes, Mary Bottari wrote for PR Watch. LINK

Filibuster Reform "The last person to engage in a genuine filibuster was the ultraliberal Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. In 2010, he spoke on the Senate floor for eight hours straight in an attempt to defeat legislation to extend tax rates," Sen. Jim Demint (R-S.C.) wrote in a blog post opposing filibuster reform for The Heritage Foundation. LINK

Progressives vs. Obama President Obama "has joined with the Republicans ... to pretend that government is the problem not his campaign contributors on Wall Street," wrote Michael Hudson for CounterPunch. Now we will see how Sen. Sanders and other progressives will respond to opposing austerity and the appointment of yet more Wall Street lobbyists to President Obama's Cabinet, wrote Hudson. LINK

World

Iran Confirms Drone Iran's defense minister confirmed that Iranian aircraft had fired shots at an American drone last week after keeping the incident secret for over a week. In conflict with American claims, the Iranian official claimed the drone had entered Iranian airspace, a complication that could further strain relations between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic, The New York Times reported. LINK

Syria Eleven thousand refugees fled Syria between Thursday and Friday, signaling that the violence in Syria and resulting humanitarian crisis were escalating, The New York Times reported. LINK

National

Fiscal Cliff President Obama called on Congress to immediately freeze tax rates for most Americans but claimed that the election validated his view that the wealthiest must pay more in taxes. "We can't just cut our way to prosperity," Obama said. "If we're serious about reducing the deficit, we have to combine spending cuts with revenue, and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes," The Washington Post reported. LINK

Petraeus Resigns CIA Director David Petraeus resigned as head of the intelligence agency, saying he "showed extremely poor judgement" by engaging in an extramarital affair, The Wall Street Journal reported. LINK

Murray Energy Layoffs Robert E. Murray, chairman and chief executive of Murray Energy, fired 156 of his workers on Wednesday, the same day he read a prayer to staff members lamenting the direction the country is taking. Murray asked: "Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build," The Washington Post reported. LINK

Vermont

Brattleboro Retreat The staff of Brattleboro Retreat, a private mental health and addiction-treatment center, are planning to picket their employers Monday to protest what they say are unfair and unsafe constraints in wages and benefits. The facility's recent expansion of services, patient load and revenues haven't translated into better working conditions for about 400 employees according to a union official, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK

Energizer Closing Plant Officials say the Energizer plant in St. Albans that plans to close next September was done in by the collapse of the lithium battery industry. State officials had attempted to work with Energizer to keep the plant in Vermont, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK

Public Records A judge at the Vermont Superior Court in Rutland has ruled against Addison Rutland Supervisory Union in a case that had the potential to make it more difficult for Vermonters to examine public records. Marcel Cyr was suing a local school district for access to a letter that led to his being barred from his daughter's school campus, the Burlington Free Press reported. LINK