The traditional media keeps telling us that America is headed over the fiscal cliff if Democrats and Republicans can't work out a budget deal. The truth is much more complex than that -- and the American economy isn't going to be destroyed. But when you drill down to the heart of the fight, it leads right back to the Republicans' pledge to keep taxes low for millionaires and billionaires. And the biggest push for tax cuts is coming from GOP operative Grover Norquist. But Norquist's days might be numbered, as Republicans are beginning to turn their back on him, and Mike Papantonio spoke with John Amato from Crooks and Liars recently about Norquist's last stand to preserve the costly tax breaks for the wealthy.
This is your moment of clarity #191: Technological advancements are increasing exponentially. Your life is going to change in impressive ways pretty soon. Don't you wanna learn how? (And yes, it does involve drone aircraft and caribou.)
On Thursday December 6th 2012, communities around the country are turning the spotlight on the crisis that continues to hold our neighborhoods and our economy hostage as part of the Occupy Our Homes movement’s national day of action to Reclaim Our Homes and Reclaim Our Future.
Tomorrow, Occupy activists and housing justice allies are taking action to mark the first anniversary of this movement to defend our homes, hold Wall Street accountable, and affirm the human right to housing.
Actions will be taking place in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Baltimore, Detroit, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, Richmond CA, Lake Worth FL, Greensboro NC, Mendham NJ, and other cities, to be announced.
“Occupy Our Homes began with the simple idea of bringing the bold energy of the Occupy movement into communities facing housing crisis to build power through victories for the 99%,” said Nick Espinosa, an organizer with Minneapolis-based Occupy Homes MN. “Over the last year, we’ve fought back against the banks, stopping evictions and winning homes, churches and community landmarks, while relieving debt and reclaiming land.”
December 6th Actions will vary from community to community, but include:
Eviction defenses/home occupations
Reclaiming vacant homes for the homeless
Establishing foreclosure and eviction-free zones
Marches and protests at big banks
On December 6, 2011, scores of groups around the country participated in a day of action for housing justice, launching the Occupy Our Homes movement. Since then, homeowners, housing justice activists, homeless advocates, and occupy groups have come together to fight back under the banner of Occupy Our Homes.
“All over the country, activists have declared housing a human right and come together in solidarity,” said Shab Bashiri, an organizer with Occupy Our Homes Atlanta, “We’re occupying our homes to prevent eviction, disrupting foreclosure auctions, restoring vacant homes to community use, and putting the spotlight on the banks that caused this mess in the first place.”
But the fight is far from over. Despite dozens of victories for homeowners around the country, banks are still choosing to foreclose instead of taking payments, refusing to negotiate in good faith with families, still using fraudulent tactics like robo-signing to speed through illegal foreclosures. And bank-owned houses continue to sit empty and untended, destroying property values and pushing more families underwater.
I know 11,000 people who aren’t too excited about these “transformations.” Citigroup announced that it will absorb a tax charge of $1 billion for the quarter and eliminate about 11,000 jobs. The third-biggest U.S. banks CEO said that the move was a “logical” step in the bank’s “transformation.” The plan of restructuring also includes branch closings:
The latest eliminations amount to about 4.2 percent of Citigroup’s workforce of 262,000 people at the end of September. The largest share of reductions, about 6,200 jobs, will come from the global consumer-banking business, Citigroup said. The lender expects to sell or scale back consumer operations in Pakistan, Paraguay, Romania, Turkey and Uruguay.
An additional 2,600 jobs will be cut in the operations and technology group and global functions. Citi Holdings, the unit disposing of unwanted assets, will eliminate about 350 positions.
The plan will save about $900 million in 2013, and projected annual savings will exceed $1.1 billion beginning in 2014, the company said. Annual revenue will drop about $300 million, according to the forecast. The $1 billion charge this quarter is before taxes. An additional $100 million of related charges will come in the first half of next year.
Those of you bankers who didn't have your jobs slashed, not to worry about your annual bonus. While it will be cut by 10%, you'll still receive it. What's that, you're crying over the 10%? Oh, good grief!
It seems Paul Krugman is about as tired as I am of these talking heads and politicians who seem to be obsessed with inflicting pain on the working class. Republicans aren't going to be happy until they undo every New Deal program, destroy our social safety nets and destroy what's left of the dwindling middle class in America.
The PBS Newshour had Paul Krugman on this Tuesday evening to counter some of Erskine Bowles deficit fetishism from the previous night and all I can say is I hope the Democrats are listening to him. We don't have a deficit crisis. We've got a jobs crisis and what Republicans are proposing will just make that worse: Paul Krugman: Hasty Fiscal Fix to the Deficit Would Cause 'Austerity Bomb':
GWEN IFILL: Erskine Bowles may be one of the people you have written about in the past who you called deficit scolds who were touting a phantom menace known as the fiscal cliff.
PAUL KRUGMAN,PrincetonUniversity: Yes.
GWEN IFILL: Am I right about that?
PAUL KRUGMAN: Fiscal cliff is not a phantom menace. The deficit right now is, the notion that something terrible will happen if we don't deal with the deficit right away.
The fiscal cliff is a very different story. That's about reducing the deficit too fast.
GWEN IFILL: In fact, you call it an austerity bomb. Describe that, what you mean by that.
PAUL KRUGMAN: Yes.
Well, what's happening is that we are scheduled, unless something is done, basically to do to ourselves gratuitously what has been happening to some of the European economies.
We're going to have substantial spending cuts, substantial tax increases at a time when the economy is still very weak. And, of course, that's a recipe for sliding back into recession.
So, we set ourselves up with the land mine in the road in front of our economy, which is not based on anything real. It's just based on our political mess.
Twelve students have barricaded themselves inside a room on the 8th floor of the Cooper Union Foundation Building to protest a decision by trustees to consider the possibility of charging undergraduates tuition due to rising costs.
Protestors argue that charging tuition for undergraduate students goes against the founding principles of the school's founder Peter Cooper. Cooper Union students currently do not pay anything for their years of schooling.
We, the Students for a Free Cooper Union, in solidarity with the global student struggle and today’s Day of Action, have locked ourselves into The Peter Cooper Suite on the top floor of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building. This action is in response to the lack of transparency and accountability that has plagued this institution for decades and now threatens the college’s mission of free education.
We have reclaimed this space from the administration, whom we believe is leading the college in the wrong direction. In recent years, plans to expand Cooper Union with tuition-based, revenue generating educational programs have threatened the college’s landmarked tradition of “free education to all.” These programs are intended to grow the college out of a financial deficit caused by decades of administrative mismanagement. We believe that such programs are a departure from Cooper Union’s historic mission and will corrupt the college’s role as an ethical model for higher education. To secure this invaluable opportunity for future generations, we have taken the only recourse available to us.
We will hold this space until action has been taken to meet the following demands:
The administration must publicly affirm the college’s commitment to free education. They will stop pursuing new tuition-based educational programs and eliminate other ways in which students are charged for education.
Good morning, today is Wednesday, December 5, 2012. In a move that is surely meant to mess with our heads, Fox News has reportedly sidelined Karl Rove. Producers must now have permission before booking Rove or Dick Morris.
A report by Strike Debt on the disaster wrought by Hurricane Sandy and the government’s response. This is a preliminary and living public service document that highlights the use of loans as the main form of assistance to help those affected better understand the choices being imposed on them. You are not a loan!
This report is a preliminary and living document highlighting the economic effects of Hurricane Sandy on New York City. It examines how the use of loans as the main form of “aid” to disaster-impacted communities is not effective at addressing individual or community needs. Further, the use of loans may lead to disastrous longer- term economic consequences for the impacted communities.
Although Hurricane Sandy was the first “Frankenstorm” to hit New York City, in recent years climate disasters have become a regular sight on the evening news. From Hurricanes Katrina and Irene to Midwestern droughts and wildfires in the Southwest, many communities are facing these types of crises all across the country. As our climate has changed, the burden of the cost of disaster has also been shifting. Individuals are now expected to shoulder relief expenses that used to be shared publicly. Victims are faced with long-term, unexpected economic consequences as well as displacement from the communities they call home.
This report was compiled based on observations made at a community meeting in Midland Beach, Staten Island on November 18, 2012, as well as on interviews with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Small Business Association (SBA) representatives, legal assistance volunteers, volunteer relief workers, local business owners and community members throughout New York City. Data was drawn from newspaper articles, statements from advocacy organizations and official reports.
The economic costs of the disaster are placed on individuals. Federal aid programs require victims to first apply for loans before qualifying to apply for FEMA aid.
“Aid” programs favor those who can take on debt. Preexisting inequalities are further exacerbated by this form of aid.
Federal programs are inflexible and fail to meet even basic needs of affected individuals and communities.
Relief options are not clearly communicated or well understood. Policies are so complex that even lawyers are confused and are “learning as they go.”
Mold is at a crisis level. Residents will not receive FEMA aid to pay for the mold remediation necessary to make their properties even temporarily livable.