Disaster capitalism hits Puerto Rico. PROMESA, the board appointed by Congress to oversee Puerto Rico’s economy, is calling for, among other things, the privatization of the school system and a 10% cut to pensions. On May Day citizens turned out to protest. From the streets of San Juan we have a report filed by Democracy Now! correspondent Juan Carlos Dávila. [Read more…]
This is my fourth letter to you, my sister state, for we are all sons and daughters of this democracy, however embattled it now may be. And it must be remembered that in modern times, no presidential candidate has reached the White House without Ohio’s blessing. So I come to you once again, with a heavy heart, to see if those among you who care so deeply for our country, can still embrace the notion that all of us belong.
There was 10-year-old boy I met one day in my work as a lawyer for low-income families. His mother brought him to me because he was deeply depressed. Two thoughts bumped about in my mind when I made his acquaintance. The first was that I had never met a boy of 10 who was deeply depressed. The second was that it seemed odd a mother should seek help for a depressed child from a lawyer.
The boy was a beautiful, brown-skinned, big-eyed, dark-haired youngster whose eyes followed closely the adult conversation. He sat uncomfortably in the chair across from my desk, while his mother described the problem. He was facing charges in juvenile court for loitering and non-attendance at school. He didn’t want to get up in the morning, didn’t want to walk to the bus, couldn’t get through the school day, wasn’t interested in anything. [Read more…]
By David Akadjian / Daily Kos
Since the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting, there’s been a lot of talk about reasonable gun violence prevention laws. If you look at surveys, most people support them. But one of the issues we face with implementing background checks or any gun violence prevention laws is that, for conservatives, guns are an economic concern.
Different conservatives will phrase this differently but what it comes down to for them is that property must be protected at all costs, and they feel this is key to the economy. Guns are an emotional issue to conservatives, especially rural conservatives, in a way that they aren’t viewed as important to the economy by liberals.
If past experience is any indicator, the economy is the most important issue to Americans. This is what people vote on. Because of this, the Republican strategy for the 2018 midterm elections is going to be this:
- Take credit for the economy
- Paint Democrats as caring only about identity issues or hating Trump because of identity issues
Rent control can help solve California’s housing affordability and homelessness crisis by decreasing displacement and protecting the rights and dignity of working families, the elderly, and long-term tenants. To demystify rent control in California, here are seven rent control myths followed by seven anti-poverty tenant protection ordinances cities can implement.
By Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi / UrbDeZine
Articles and studies from newspapers to academic journals warn the public against the havoc and devastation caused by rent control ordinances. However, it is not tenants and community-based organizations that are funding these articles and studies, it is real estate investors, developers, and corporate apartment owner associations. For decades, tenants and community-based organizations across California have worked tirelessly to enact rent control ordinances to decrease displacement and protect the rights and dignity of working families, the elderly, and long-term tenants. Tenant advocates continue to direct their limited resources to local initiatives and ballot measures, not to fund studies, articles, and lawsuits. [Read more…]
By Murtaza Baxamusa / SanDiegoUrbDeZine
There isn’t enough affordable housing being built in the city of San Diego. Lenders and banks aren’t lending as much, apartment owners aren’t caring, and builders aren’t building as much since it’s not as remunerative to build for income-constrained households.
This worsens the disconnect between the economics of the housing stock and the demographics of the families it’s meant to serve, as shown by a recent Harvard University study on apartments. In San Diego, less than 10 percent of the rental housing stock is affordable*. With new federal tax policies, things could get worse.
A home isn’t just a luxury that anyone can live without. It’s a social necessity. Yet cities and states don’t build housing, they plan for it and permit it, and then are dependent on private developers to build it at the rents or prices that yield them the highest returns. This is where inclusionary housing comes into play: By allowing the private sector to competitively perform at its optimal level within a uniform regulatory framework that achieves societal goals. [Read more…]
By Julia Conley / Common Dreams
Several attendees of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland are planning to walk out of President Donald Trump’s speech at the summit on Friday afternoon, in protest of his recent reported remarks about countries whose citizens he deems undesirable immigrants.
In an open letter, Business Leadership South Africa CEO Bonang Mohale denounced Trump’s alleged statement, confirmed by Republican and Democratic lawmakers, that more immigrants from “countries like Norway” should come to the U.S. instead of people from “shithole countries” such as Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations.
By Jon Queally / Common Dreams
Call it the ‘Year of the Billionaire.’
In 2017, a new billionaire was created every two days and while 82 percent of all wealth created went to the top 1 percent of the world’s richest while zero percent—absolutely nothing—went to the poorest half of the global population.
That troubling information is included in Oxfam’s latest report on global inequality—titled Reward Work, Not Wealth (pdf)—released Monday. In addition to the above, the report details how skyrocketing wealth growth among the already rich coupled with stagnant wages and persistent poverty among the lowest economic rungs of society means that just 42 individuals now hold as much wealth as the 3.7 billion poorest people on the planet. [Read more…]
An American Democracy Movement is fighting brutal capitalism and the culture of blame.
By Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen / AlterNet
In this tumultuous world, one thing seems certain: today’s dire threats to our democracy did not arise out of nowhere. Every culture thrives, or not, on whether its core narrative—the causation story we tell ourselves—enhances mutual gain or spurs division. And, the narrative driving today’s unfolding catastrophe feeds the latter.
It begins with a deep distrust of human nature.
Way back in 1651, philosopher Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan summed up our nature with the Latin proverb Homohominilupus, “Man is a wolf to his fellow man.” From this thought tradition, now reinforced through much of media and advertising, we absorb the notion that humans are essentially selfish, competitive, and materialistic. Yet, with this dim view of our nature, how can we possibly make society work? The dominant narrative has the answer: Just put self-interest to work. [Read more…]
From the Vimeo website:
For nearly a decade, Amazon has recruited thousands of RVers for a seasonal labor unit called CamperForce.
Adapted from the book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder
Directed by Brett Story [Read more…]
All In’s Chris Hayes explains why we shouldn’t believe Republicans who say they care about debt. After pushing fiscal austerity under President Obama, stalling the recovery, Republicans abandoned debt concerns to pass their tax bill. In fact some have become so emboldened as to go on record with their duplicity. The New York Times quotes Representative Mark Walker (R-North Carolina) stating that “It’s a great talking point when you have an administration that’s Democrat-led. It’s a little different now that Republicans have both houses and the administration.” Could it be any clearer? [Read more…]
By Peter Zschiesche
For those of us in California, the older industrial belt of the Midwest including Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania, is a world away from us regarding immigration issues. Our state is doing what it can to protect its immigrants from attacks from the Trump administration. But if we want good national immigration reform anytime soon, what happens in upcoming election cycles in the Midwest is very important.
The Republican Party has bought the Trump base with its anti-immigrant, nativist politics that only grow more rabid by the day. The only path to improve national immigration laws in the near future is through the Democratic Party winning back the Congress in 2018 or 2020 on a platform of inclusion.
While President Trump was elected by a majority of white voters in every popular category, it was the white “swing” voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, who had voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, that were a surprising part of Trump’s narrow margin of victory in those states last year.
What’s going on back there to make this happen? [Read more…]
Q: What do Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Putin’s son-in-law Kirill Shamalov and offshore islands have in common? A: The Paradise Papers. Here is Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman speaking with Frederik Obermaier, investigative reporter for the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and co-author of the Paradise Papers. Frederik discusses the techniques and consequences of the offshoring of wealth, and names some names of figures discovered as complicit. Among the names are two of the current administration’s cabinet: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
On a somber note, Obermaier notes that this type of reporting is not without risk. A colleague, Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was part of the team working on the Panama Papers—an earlier much more limited release of records from the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca—was murdered in a bomb blast in early October. Her reporting had focused on the corruption of Maltese officials revealed in the Panama Papers and she had reported receiving death threats fifteen days before the fatal explosion. [Read more…]