In the wake of Occupy Broadway's success and the failure of "The Big Bank" musical initiative comes the screaming-to-go-viral "Occupy West Side Story." Though perhaps less ambitious than its predecessors, this hilarious clip takes aim at NYPD Deputy Inspector Edward J. WInski (who replaced the infamous Tony Baloney) by overdubbing a classic scene from the 1961 film with new lyrics. The result is an entertaining and powerful expression of why occupiers are in the streets, how the economy collapsed, and the sad ironies surrounding the police brutality that the movement has suffered (and, it could be said, benefitted from as well). As one stanza states, "Gee, Officer Winski, please put down your mace/Your checks are paid by citizens you punch in the face/Your pension’s been stolen, and nobody cares/Deep down inside we know you’re scared."
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- 1 percent
- 99 percent
- America: What Went Wrong?
- Amy Goodman
- Bail out
- Donald Barlett
- Federal Government
- James Steele
- Job Safety
- Kansas City
- Michael Moore
- Mitt Romney
- Occupy Broadway
- Occupy Wall Street
- Salt Lake City
- Scott Walker
- The Betrayal of the American Dream
- Tom Barrett
- Tony Baloney
- West Side Story
- health care
- investigative reporting
- middle class
- officer winski
- the big bank
- white shirt
The famed award-winning investigative reporting team of Donald Barlett and James Steele have just published a new book, "The Betrayal of the American Dream," a followup to their landmark bestseller, "America: What Went Wrong?" As Republicans and Democrats continue disputing who should bear the brunt of the tax burden, Barlett and Steele argue that America’s middle class has been decimated over the years due to policies governing not only taxes but also bank regulations, trade deficits and pension funds. Their book chronicles how the American middle class has been systematically impoverished and its prospects thwarted in favor of a new ruling elite. Barlett and Steele have worked together for more than 40 years, sharing two Pulitzer Prizes and two National Magazine Awards. The duo join Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow! to discuss the assault on the middle class, the great tax heist, deregulation, the outsourcing of U.S. jobs by companies like Boeing and Apple, and the end of retirement. "People are going to have to work forever, and yet what are those jobs going to be? What are they going to pay? And it also puts pressure then on people coming into the workforce. How are they going to get a job if people are having to work between 65 and 75 years old?," Steele says. The duo also discuss their past reporting on the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, headed by the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, and note he headed "an Olympic committee where that entire operation raided the federal Treasury like no other Olympics in history."
"Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich." -- Michael Moore
How they did it, and how Wisconsin taught us to fight back, at:
[Photo: Vanity Fair]
Mitt Romney says that he's the man to fix our nation's ailing economy because of his extensive business skills. Well, he is a wealthy member of the one percent, however, he's not always such a successful businessman. Actually, one Kansas City company in that Romney purchased a majority share was bankrupt within a decade. Also, your tax dollars likely helped hand Romney a nice bail out.
In October 1993, Bain Capital, co-founded by Mitt Romney, became majority shareholder in a steel mill that had been operating since 1888.
It was a gamble. The old mill, renamed GS Technologies, needed expensive updating, and demand for its products was susceptible to cycles in the mining industry and commodities markets.
Less than a decade later, the mill was padlocked and some 750 people lost their jobs. Workers were denied the severance pay and health insurance they'd been promised, and their pension benefits were cut by as much as $400 a month.
What's more, a federal government insurance agency had to pony up $44 million to bail out the company's underfunded pension plan. Nevertheless, Bain profited on the deal, receiving $12 million on its $8 million initial investment and at least $4.5 million in consulting fees (Emphasis mine).
Lost jobs, no severance pay, no health insurance, drastically cut pensions...these are the business skills Romney is going to use to turn our economy around? These things sound horribly familiar. Just how did things work out for the people who worked for Mitt Romney's company?
Before the bankruptcy filing:
Veteran crane operator Ed Mossman says he was ordered to pick up a load of steel that was 50 percent above the recommended weight limit - a prospect that could have toppled the crane and sent Mossman plunging to his death. When he refused, he says, he was fired after putting in 29 years at the mill.
"The first 15 years, I had the best job in the United States, as far as I was concerned," Mossman said. "The last five years down there got to be pure hell."
And after the plant shutdown?
After nearly 30 years as a steelworker, Joe Soptic found a job as a school custodian. The $24,000 salary was roughly one-third of his former pay, and the health plan did not cover his wife, Ranae.
When Ranae started losing weight, "I tried to get her to the doctor and she wouldn't go," Soptic said. She ended up in the county hospital with pneumonia, where doctors discovered her advanced lung cancer. She died two weeks later.
Soptic was left with nearly $30,000 in medical bills. He drained a $12,000 savings account and the hospital wrote off the balance.
"I worked hard all my life and played by the rules, and they allowed this to happen," Soptic said.