There's a new front line in the battle to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Arrested Development star Alia Shawkat (aka Maeby) explains the truth about the coal industry's plans to export American coal.
Multi-billion dollar coal companies like Arch, Ambre, and Peabody want to ship the coal buried under the United States to Asia, releasing disastrous amounts of carbon pollution, just to line their own pockets. This expansion in US coal exports could release more carbon pollution than any other new fossil fuel project in the United States.
Coal exports out of the Pacific Northwest could pose a bigger climate threat than the Keystone XL pipeline. Coal companies are scheming to export over 150 million tons of coal through the region. If we're serious about halting the worst impacts of climate change, we must do something to stop Arch, Ambre, and Peabody's plans, and keep this coal in the ground.
The good news is that there is a growing movement to stop coal exports. In the past few months alone, over 10,000 people have turned out to public hearings in the Pacific Northwest to say no to new coal export terminals.
Globally, renewable energy can power our homes, cars, and businesses, and make these massive extraction projects irrelevant. That's why Greenpeace is calling on elected officials to put people over profits and put the brakes on coal export expansion. The Obama Administration can declare a moratorium on new coal leasing in the Powder River Basin.
Visit Quit Coal for more information. Because we deserve safe, clean energy.
Foreclosure fraud is on the rise in California and Occupy Los Angeles activists say elected officials are doing nothing to stop it. California had the nation's highest foreclosure rate this summer, contributing to at least two major cities seeking bankruptcy protection. The state attorney general has promised relief but homeowners have yet to see it.
Thousands will be marching on the California State Capitol in in Sacramento on June 25th to ask the Legislature and governor to impose an immediate three-year foreclosure moratorium for California. Family Friendly-children encouraged to participate! We encourage everyone to make signs and banners that tell how foreclosure has affected you.
RALLY on the Capitol grounds. Speakers include homeowners, activists, union leaders, clergy, and others. Guest MC/musician: Michelle Shocked, Singer (Occupy Fights Foreclosure Activist).
MARCH in downtown Sacramento. Route to be announced.
LOBBYING TEACH-IN AND LOBBYING. We will lobby legislators and the Governor to stop the hemorrhaging of California home ownership.
TEACH-INSwill be held throughout the afternoon.
The banks are foreclosing on families while at the same time promising loan modifications. We cannot trust the banks to do the right thing. The governor, attorney-general and Legislature must become involved. The San Francisco County Recorder’s Office has audited a sampling of foreclosures and found that 84 percent involved one or more clear violations – proof of illegal foreclosures is housed in recorder’s offices in every county.
We must halt foreclosures with a moratorium to allow for an audit of ALL home loan and foreclosure records. NO MORE THROWING FAMILIES OUT OF THEIR HOMES. We also demand investigation and prosecution of those who unfairly took advantage of homeowners. We call for cooperation between county recorder’s offices, district attorneys and the state to track down all those who illegally profited from stealing the homes of thousands of families, putting many more in precarious situations and wrecking the U.S. economy for years, if not decades to come.
Are you in foreclosure? Know someone in foreclosure?
Angry about predatory lending and dual tracking?
Angry about how the banks have sucked up our money and stolen our homes?
Angry about their refusal to reduce homeowner debt to current values instead of foreclosing and selling
to “investors” for even less?
Angry about how the banks are killing the proposed California Homeowner Bill of Rights legislation?
Want to ask your state assembly member and senator why?
STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD! DO NOT ALLOW THE BANKS TO STEAL YOUR HOME! COME OUT TO SHOW YOUR RESISTANCE TO THE BANKS! DEMAND THE GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATURE IMPOSE AN IMMEDIATE FORECLOSURE MORATORIUM TO STOP THE BLEEDING!
In every conflict, insurgency, uprising and revolution I have covered as a foreign correspondent, the power elite used periods of dormancy, lulls and setbacks to write off the opposition. This is why obituaries for the Occupy movement are in vogue. And this is why the next groundswell of popular protest—and there will be one—will be labeled as "unexpected," a "shock" and a "surprise." The television pundits and talking heads, the columnists and academics who declare the movement dead are as out of touch with reality now as they were on Sept. 17 when New York City's Zuccotti Park was occupied. Nothing this movement does will ever be seen by them as a success. Nothing it does will ever be good enough. Nothing, short of its dissolution and the funneling of its energy back into the political system, will be considered beneficial.
Those who have the largest megaphones in our corporate state serve the very systems of power we are seeking to topple. They encourage us, whether on Fox or MSNBC, to debate inanities, trivia, gossip or the personal narratives of candidates. They seek to channel legitimate outrage and direct it into the black hole of corporate politics. They spin these silly, useless stories from the "left" or the "right" while ignoring the egregious assault by corporate power on the citizenry, an assault enabled by the Democrats and the Republicans. Don't waste time watching or listening. They exist to confuse and demoralize you.
The engine of all protest movements rests, finally, not in the hands of the protesters but the ruling class. If the ruling class responds rationally to the grievances and injustices that drive people into the streets, as it did during the New Deal, if it institutes jobs programs for the poor and the young, a prolongation of unemployment benefits (which hundreds of thousands of Americans have just lost), improved Medicare for all, infrastructure projects, a moratorium on foreclosures and bank repossessions, and a forgiveness of student debt, then a mass movement can be diluted. Under a rational ruling class, one that responds to the demands of the citizenry, the energy in the street can be channeled back into the mainstream. But once the system calcifies as a servant of the interests of the corporate elites, as has happened in the United States, formal political power thwarts justice rather than advances it.
"Jews for Racial and Economic Justice joined with Organize-4-Occupation, Union Theological Seminary, Occupy Faith, and Catholic Workers to shut down the Brooklyn Home Foreclosure Court - with song. Video isn't allowed in the court room - here we are on our way to shut the court down."
More than 100 Occupy Wall Street-affiliated protesters invaded a courtroom inside the Brooklyn Supreme Court yesterday afternoon in an effort to stop the foreclosure auctions.Police arrested a total of 37 people, who received summonses for disorderly conduct.
The reason for their gathering centered on their belief that foreclosures are unfair to homeowners.
“We are calling for a moratorium on all foreclosures until some accountable and equitable process is developed,” said Walter Hergt, a protest planner with Organizing for Occupation, to the Brooklyn Paper. “The fact is that the banks were bailed out...we find that to be unacceptable.”
Occupiers felt that their efforts were successful even though they weren't able to prevent all of the foreclosures. More such actions are planned in the future.
“Listen Auctioneer: all the people here, we’re asking you to hold all the sales right now,” they sang. “We’re going to survive but we don’t know how!”
They were not entirely successful — many foreclosure auctions did proceed despite the ruckus. A few, however, were called off after the arrests interfered with the proceedings.
In support of homeowners facing foreclosure and eviction in NYC, members of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and other community groups will conduct vibrant singing protests and raise the people’s voices at foreclosure auctions in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx next week, with the aim to: disrupt the sale of people’s homes and the eviction of their occupants; call for a moratorium on all foreclosures; demand justice for all New Yorkers struggling for affordable housing; confront Wall Street’s unchecked power to put profits over people’s right to housing.
MONDAY, April 16th, 2pm
Bronx Supreme Court, Rm 600. 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx
Who: Organizing for Occupation (O4O), OWS
THURSDAY, April 19th, 3pm
Kings County Supreme Court, 360 Adams St, Brooklyn
Who: Occupy Faith, Catholic Worker, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ)
FRIDAY, April 20th, 11am
Queens Supreme Court, 8811 Sutphin Boulevard, Queens
Who: Occupy Queens, Columbia Univ students, Occupy the New School
Everyone has the right to live freely, securely, peacefully and with dignity in his or her home. In the US there are over three times as many “people-less” homes as home-less people. Financial institutions have stripped individuals and communities of their savings and property while receiving $7.7 Trillion in taxpayer bail-outs.
“At the same time that banks are getting bailed out, rental assistance programs are being reduced–even completely eliminated,” says housing rights activist and organizer Blair Ellis. “Empty buildings fill New York City boroughs, while those in need of housing are forgotten by our economic and political system. Those lucky enough to remain in their homes are increasingly burdened with the escalating cost of rent and mortgage loans. This American Dream is becoming a nightmare for millions of the middle class and poor people.”
There are over 100,000 homes in foreclosure in New York State due to subprime and predatory loans; now New Yorkers with “fair” (or “prime”) loans are also missing payments and falling into foreclosure because of unemployment, under-employment and mounting healthcare costs among other issues.
“We can create meaningful, community based solutions to keep people in their homes and return land in our communities back to the people who live in them,” says Heath Madom, a local housing rights advocate. “We look forward to the day when all bank-owned property—occupied and vacant—is returned to community control and made permanently affordable.”
Where the system has failed the people and upheld the bank’s rights to profit:
The big banks were bailed out first under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and again in the recent settlement brokered by NY Attorney General Schneiderman. TARP gave the big banks the money they needed to stay afloat and, in return, left to the banks’ discretion whether to foreclose on families’ homes or sell the homes at auction. Schneiderman’s settlement is a slap on the wrist that gives the banks blanket immunity for widespread fraud in exchange for providing some, but not all, ailing homeowners no more than $2,000 in assistance.
New York’s “Settlement Conferences” are a massive failure because banks won’t agree to affordable loan modiﬁcations and the federal Home Affordable Modiﬁcation Program (HAMP) gives the same banks we bailed out with our tax dollars the discretion to modify loans or auction off homes. They would rather auction them off.
Watch the October 13th rendition of “Listen Auctioneer” at the Brooklyn foreclosure auction blockade below. This one is heartbreaking. The protesters of the foreclosure sing "Listen, Auctioneer, all the people here (right here, right now), Are asking you to hold off the sales right now. We're going to survive but we don't know how. Listen Auctioneer, all the people here are asking you to hold off the sales right now. We're going to survive but we don't know how..."
Then they are all handcuffed, arrested, and escorted out by police.
Activists in San Francisco say Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has left them no choice. Despite a recent report commissioned by the city that found that 84 percent of loan foreclosures contain multiple errors and violations, including felony crimes, Stumpf continually ignores their messages, and Wells Fargo refuses to negotiate in good faith with residents to modify their home loans. So the people of Bernal and San Francisco are going to meet at CEO Stumpf's home this Saturday, Feb.25th at 1:00 p.m. PST to foreclose on his home and auction it off.
The occupiers also plan to demand that the city "impose a moratorium on home auctions, pending public investigations into bank wrongdoing."
Several occupy protesters were arrested over the weekend when they climbed up to the roof of a Wells Fargo bank in San Francisco's Mission District on Saturday during a protest to end home foreclosures.
The protesters demanded that the bank manager "fax a letter to Wells Fargo's chief executive officer, John Stumpf, calling for a moratorium on home evictions and foreclosures."
"This protest today was about Wells Fargo's role in evicting and foreclosing on our neighbors in the Mission and other neighborhoods in San Francisco," said a man who identified himself as "Stardust," an organizer with Occupy San Francisco and Occupy SF Housing, who witnessed but was not arrested during today's demonstration. "We're demanding an immediate moratorium on for-profit evictions and foreclosures."
A small group of demonstrators immediately climbed up on the roof and unfurled a large banner, said Ted Gullicksen, director of the tenants union, who participated in the protest but was not arrested.
Negotiations began immediately between the protesters and police, but when that failed, police at around 1:45 p.m. began arresting protesters.
"The protesters agreed to cooperate with their arrest. They walked down the ladder of the fire truck on their own power," said Stardust, explaining that they were led to a nearby patrol van. They were later cited and released.
The report didn't state whether or not the protester's demands were sent to the bank CEO, but if he turned on the television, or looked at an area newspaper, he's no doubt well aware.