Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert, October 5, 2012

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–October 5, 2012.

Debate Highlights the Differences between Romney and Obama

The first of three presidential debates took place on Wednesday, with President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney both striving to gain favor with the middle class and seniors.

“Mitt Romney continued to hide the details about how he’d repeal Obamacare and still keep all of its benefits for seniors, such as more affordable prescription drugs and free preventive care,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. Coyle also said that Romney had relentlessly mischaracterized recent improvements to Medicare, “advancing his plan to gut traditional Medicare with a voucher-based scheme that gives more power and profits to the big insurance companies.”

“Even on a night when Obama wasn’t at his best, the President offered a more fair and honest path forward for seniors,” he continued. “Mitt Romney knows his explanations just don’t add up logically or mathematically and would hurt for the middle-class. He would take Medicare away from Grandma, and Big Bird away from her grandkids,” Coyle added – a reference to proposed cuts by Romney to public broadcasting in addition to Medicare.

Judge Halts Pennsylvania Voter ID Law

On Tuesday, a Pennsylvania judge declared that the state should not allow its harsh new voter identification law to take effect for the November election.  In his ruling, Judge Robert Simpson said that the state had not made sufficient progress towards supplying photo identification to voters, and therefore the law held a great potential to disenfranchise otherwise qualified voters.  Election officials may now request voters to show identification, but they may not turn away registered voters who had not been able to obtain the identification or force them to cast provisional ballots.  However, Matthew Keeler, deputy press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of State, said officials have not decided whether to appeal Tuesday’s ruling. The voter ID law was passed by newly elected state leaders in Pennsylvania, one of whom said that the law would “allow Governor Romney to win the state.”

“A great injustice has so far been averted thanks to the Pennsylvania Courts and Judge Simpson,” said Coyle. “Pennsylvania seniors, many of whom do not have a driver’s license or other photo-identification, have been spared the hardship associated with getting one and the atrocity of disenfranchisement. Now we have to hope that there is no appeal that reverses the decision.”

Alan Simpson Strikes Again

Former U.S. Senator and co-chairman of President Obama’s deficit commission Alan Simpson told an audience on Tuesday that politicians talk too much about the poor and vulnerable for political gain, and that he regrets the way his opponents have used his commission’s recommendations. “Could you please cut out the babble? Would you quit talking about the poor, the vulnerable, the veterans, the old ladies going over cliffs, the hospices, the bedpans?” Simpson said at the event. According to Huffington Post (, Simpson spent much of his time on the panel railing against those who have opposed the recommendations made by the Simpson-Bowles commission, formerly known as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The commission’s plan was mentioned several times at this week’s debate. Simpson also recalled his interaction with the California Alliance for Retired Americans. Earlier this year, the California Alliance handed out a flyer featuring images of young people and saying that Simpson was using the deficit as an excuse to gut Social Security; Simpson responded with a letter that was noted for its outrageousness:

“What a wretched group of seniors you must be to use the faces of the very young people that we are trying to save, while the ‘greedy geezers’ like you use them as a tool and a front for your nefarious bunch of crap.” Simpson wrote. “You must feel some sense of shame for shoveling this bullshit.” At the time, the Alliance responded with a press release ( On Tuesday, Simpson slammed AARP for resisting cuts to Social Security and Medicare. He also mistakenly encouraged audience members to visit, which belongs to a debt consolidation and credit repair company.

Connecticut Alliance Voices its Disapproval of Paul Ryan, Linda McMahon

The Connecticut Alliance “welcomed” Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan to Connecticut on Sunday, with members protesting his policies that would benefit the wealthy at the expense of Medicare and Social Security. The next day, the Connecticut Alliance hosted a demonstration outside U.S. Senate nominee/former Word Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon’s headquarters, focusing on her call to “sunset” Social Security. A video of McMahon saying that she would favor sunsetting – a policy allowing Social Security to expire if the law is not renewed, placing its long-term future in jeopardy – has been getting widespread attention recently (

Barbara Easterling Addresses Postal Workers in Virginia

Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling was in Fairfax County, Virginia Wednesday to address the American Postal Workers Union. “Yes, we are labor activists.  Yes, we are seniors activists. But what we fight for goes beyond any one group of workers or any one age group,” she told the crowd.

Something on Your Mind? Write Letter, Win Pen!

Is there something you want retirees in your community to know about?  Take a moment to write a letter to the editor, and if it is published, the Alliance will send you a free, union-made “Retirees with the Write Stuff” pen. “Letters to the editor are free and are widely read,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “With the wealthy business interests we are up against, it’s nice to have an option that doesn’t cost anything.” Most recently, Adolphe Bernotas, Don Berry, Leon Burzynski, Barbara Cunningham, Doug Curler, Bentley Davis, Robert Dougherty, Jeanne Doyle, Raymond Ensher, Bob Felzke, John Forkan, Jr., Barbara Franklin, Tony Fransetta, Francis Giunta, Doug Hart, Doug Hill, Jan Laue, Bob and Joni Laurence, Jim Moore, Jody Oliver, James Parent, Dianna Porter, Carol Ring, Linda Silva, Donald Singer, William Stevens, Scotty Watts, Ethan West, and Charlie Williams contributed to their local papers. If you have had a letter published, please e-mail [email protected].