Looking to get a handle on the foreclosure crisis, the loan modification fiasco, and the robo-signing scandal? ProPublica put it all in a music video.
Thousands of people from civil rights groups walked down New York City's Fifth Avenue in total silence Sunday, marching in protest of "stop-and-frisk" tactics employed by city police.
The quiet was interrupted only by the tapping of feet on the pavement and birds chirping as protesters strode along Central Park from Harlem to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's town house on the Upper East Side townhouse.
For almost 30 city blocks, the march moved slowly and silently. Then, as they passed Bloomberg's home on East 79th Street, the crowd erupted in protest chants. The house was blocked by police barricades.
It was not known if Bloomberg was at home when the protesters passed.
Critics say the NYPD's practice of stopping, questioning and searching people who police consider suspicious is illegal and humiliating to thousands of law-abiding blacks and Hispanics. Last year, the NYPD stopped more than 600,000 people, up from more than 90,000 a decade ago.
Tensions increased between police officers and a group of protesters who tried to keep walking down Fifth Avenue below East 77th Street.
Police officers on scooters lined both sides of the avenue and officers on foot formed a line to keep people on the sidewalk. Several scuffles broke out between screaming protesters and officers who pushed them behind barricades on the sidewalk.
"The silence ended and the people's voices came out," said Matthew Swaye, 34, a former Bronx school teacher and self-described longtime Occupy protester.
"We were told to go home and we weren't ready to go yet," said Swaye, who added that his wife, Christina Gonzalez, 25, was one of the protesters arrested in the melee.
The practice of silent marches dates to 1917, when the NAACP led a protest through New York against lynchings and segregation in the U.S.
When it comes to the vast, corrupting influence of money in politics, historian Thomas Frank has sounded the alarm loudly and often. In “It’s a Rich Man’s World,” one of his recent essays for Harper’s Magazine, Frank writes, “Over the course of the past few decades, the power of concentrated money has subverted professions, destroyed small investors, wrecked the regulatory state, corrupted legislators en masse, and repeatedly put the economy through the wringer. Now it has come for our democracy itself.”
Bill talks with Frank about the power of concentrated money to subvert democracy.
Frank’s book, What’s the Matter with Kansas? was a best seller and his latest, Pity the Billionaire, asks how Tea Partiers and their allies can make heroes of the rich and mighty who ran us into a ditch.
BILL MOYERS: And there's more. One of Senator Johnson's former staffers is now one of JPMorgan's chief lobbyists. And the chairman's present top assistant used to be a lobbyist for a law firm that worked for JPMorgan. I mean, this wasn't a hearing. This was a reunion of the Gambino family.
THOMAS FRANK: Well, look, this is what we call in Washington the revolving door, okay. And this, if your viewers haven't heard of this they need to learn about it right away because this is how Washington D.C. works is that people go back and forth from, typically from Capitol Hill staffs to working for lobby firms or directly for these, you know, the clients of the lobby firms that have to do with the interests that they used to work on when they were on Capitol Hill.
And then they go back and lobby to their former boss, right, and convince him or her to vote one way or the other. And that's how you get ahead in lobbying is you start out working for someone on Capitol Hill, a powerful senator on a given committee. And then you go and essentially sell that expertise, sell that, you know, the fact that your friends with that guy to, you know, to a lobbying firm or to a bank or to whoever. That's totally how it works.
BILL MOYERS: It's an interlocking cartel and it's serious business. How can we claim to have a representative government when they really are representing the people who bought the campaigns and not the voters who voted for them? It's a serious question.
THOMAS FRANK: Well, there are people who, I'm going to get cynical on you here, Bill. There are people who believe that the more money we have in politics the closer we become to a democracy. They think it's better for there to be more money in politics.
Why do they think that? Because they think that the market is a democracy, that markets are democracy and that government is, when government interferes in the economy it's illegitimate by definition. And so the more money we get in there the more it allows entities like JPMorgan to defend themselves against the sort of, you know, the heavy-handed meddling of some, you know, Washington bureaucrat.
Full transcript available here.
Despite acknowledging that the Cruzes foreclosure was due to a bank error and repeated claims that they are working “behind the scenes” to get the Cruz family back in their home, PNC Bank has refused to accept the documents necessary for the loan to be modified. So Alejandra and David Cruz, along with several supporters, are going to make a hand-delivery to PNC’s headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA!
Send-off: We will be having a send-off rally in front of the Cruz home, 4044 Cedar Ave S, at 5PM this Tuesday to support the Cruzes battle for justice. Bring signs, messages of support, and your wonderful self!
Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/310205149071280/
Action on Freddie Mac: the Cruz family will make a stop at Freddie Mac’s regional headquarters in Chicago on Wednesday to demand they stop tearing up our neighborhoods with their eviction profiteering.
NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION: Across the country, while Alejandra and David arrive at PNC headquarters, people will be demanding that PNC live up to their word and work with the Cruz family!
Actions being planned in:
And many more to come! Please, organize an event in your city! Email occupyHomesMN@gmail.com and let us know if you want to help!
Nina Berman is a documentary photographer based in New York City with a particular interest in the American political and social landscape. She is the author of two monographs, "Purple Hearts - Back from Iraq" and "Homeland", both examining war, militarism and its effect on the collective American psyche. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries world wide including the Whitney Museum 2010 Biennial. Nina is a member of the NOOR photo collective. Her work on the Occupy Movement was featured in 2011 on the New York Times lens blog.
At a rate of every minute every day, the New York Police Department stops a person, questions them, asks for identification, and frisks them, sometimes at gunpoint, sometimes slapped against a wall. The number one reason for the stop, according to NYPD statistics, is that the person made a “furtive” look. The number two reason is “other.” Most of the time that person is black or Latino and most of the time they are living in the city’s poorest communities.
A very small percentage of these “stop and frisks” result in arrest or the seizure of any kind of contraband. Since 2002, the number of stop and frisks has increased from 149, 000 to approaching 700,000 in 2011. The NYPD claims that “stop and frisk” is an effective policing strategy but its own statistics paint a different picture.
A documentary by Caroline Gray: Occupy Chicago is a film on the Occupy movement that reveals how important the movement truly is and what it means to fight against those who continue to destroy democracy in the United States. "We are collectively figuring out democracy and figuring out what it means to fight" said an Occupy Chicago organizer. Those of you who have misconceptions about the Occupy Movement will hopefully have a change of mind after viewing this documentary. "This is a movement of the people", another occupier in Chicago added, proving that this movement is reinforcing democratic ways, while resisting current conditions in our government that defy democracy and our rights in the United States. Stand up. Fight Back. Occupy.
I've been looking through videos this morning all mocking Mitt Romney's attempts to connect with regular Americans, but this one from David Letterman made me laugh out loud! This one comes by way of Chris Matthews earlier this week on Hardball. Enjoy!
B Media Collective, a community-based video art collective, presents "Occupation Nation," an hourlong montage of remixed shorts that explore the philosophical roots of Occupy Movement. As zombie banksters threaten to consume all that's left of our spectacular society, B Media's fifth video variety show showcases the mycelia network of Occupy Wall Street. Deeply rooted in historical and international precedents that have the potential to turn toxic assets and discarded derivatives into new communities, this shared vision and collective decision-making empowers us all.
The film calls on us to remember the Oaxacan teacher strikes and the Bonus Army, and it explores this new technological global revolution by riffing on the work of video ninjas everywhere. Darryl Mitchell and David Graeber's dialectics break down the bricks of Wall Street, PeeWee Herman interviews Emma Goldman about the black bloc, Mr. Bean gets peppersprayed, and Obama is mic-checked in his Disney World as the police protect the smart ALEC's running the show.
This amazing video touches on most all of the ills of the world: pollution, abuse of the environment, nuclear energy, fracking, water pollution, poverty, starvation, hunger, income disparity, politics, lack of healthcare, indifference and war. Combined with the moving music, it's possibly the most moving video you'll see at just over 3 minutes in length. Buenísimo!