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HOUSE GOP PASSES BUDGET THAT ‘SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED IN A HUMANE SOCIETY’

10/9/2017 – BY JAKE JOHNSON (Occupy.com)

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON COMMON DREAMS

By a vote of 219 to 206, the House on Friday approved a GOP-crafted budget resolution that proposes more than five trillion dollars in cuts to key safety net programs like Medicare and Medicaid to pave the way for massive tax cuts for the wealthy and massive corporations.

No Democrats voted for the budget, and 18 Republicans voted against it.

Crucially, the resolution includes parliamentary language that eliminates the possibility of a Democratic filibuster in the Senate and will allow the GOP to “fast-track” their tax cuts with only 51 votes instead of the typical 60—the same procedure Republicans utilized in their failed attempt repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), denounced the GOP budget resolution in a statement following Thursday’s vote, arguing it is “the first step toward an immoral tax scheme that will hand trillions of dollars to millionaires and corporations at the expense of America’s working families, many of whom will actually see a tax increase.”

“These tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations will ultimately be paid for by cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, education, disability services, and other national priorities,” Clemente added, “while the expansion of the deficit will further threaten Social Security.”

While the specific spending cuts in the House GOP budget resolution—which include a trillion dollars in cuts to Medicaid—are non-binding, they are nonetheless an indication of the devastating steps Republicans are willing to take in order to deliver more wealth to the richest Americans.

The ATF offered the following breakdown of the cuts proposed under the Trump-GOP tax framework compared with the spending cuts proposed in the House budget resolution.

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights, argued Thursday that the “federal budget is a representation of our country’s moral values.”

House Republicans’ vote in support of the proposed budget, Gupta concluded, “is an abdication of that responsibility.”

The GOP-controlled Senate is expected to vote on its own budget blueprint in two weeks.

An analysis released Wednesday by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee found that House and Senate Republicans are on the same page when it comes to “eroding” the safety net in pursuit of massive tax cuts for the rich.

As Common Dreams reported, the Senate’s budget blueprint proposes cutting Medicare and Medicaid by a combined $1.4 trillion over the next decade.

Following the House GOP vote on Friday, Sanders concluded: “The Republican budget contains cuts that will kill people, cuts that will hurt people, cuts that should not be allowed in a humane society.”

GOP tax plan, tax cuts for the rich, tax the rich, Bernie Sanders, Medicaid cuts, Medicare cuts
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PROPOSED “ACCOUNTABILITY ACT” GIVES POWER TO FED TO SHUT DOWN MEGABANKS

10/9/2017 – BY KELSEY RAMÍREZ (Occupy.com)

THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON HOUSINGWIRE

After a year full of discovering multiple scandals at Wells Fargo, starting with the fake account scandal, several Representatives came together to introduce a bill that would give the federal government more control over megabanks.

Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services Maxine Waters, D-Calif., introduced The Megabank Accountability and Consequences Act Wednesday in a press conference.

Waters, an outspoken critic against Wells Fargo in recent months, explained the bill would give the Fed the ability to shut down any megabank that repeatedly harms consumers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other federal banking regulators would examine banks and report on their practices.

“There are people who have literally concluded that these megabanks are above the law,” Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Al Green, D-Texas, said.

Under the new bill, these bureaus would also have the authority to shut a bank down, break them up, take out a part of the bank or other solutions, Waters explained.

She answered that, under her bill, Wells Fargo would “absolutely qualify” to be shut down.

“As long as we believe that shutting down a bank is dangers to our economy because of the services they provide, we will never move,” she said. “We cannot be held hostage.”

She said that banks would have the opportunity to contest claims they feel are unfair, but that ultimately, the regulators would be responsible before Congress.

“Regulators would be accountable to Congress and the American people that the megabanks are doing what they are supposed to do – serving their customers, and not ripping them off,” Waters said. “It is time we hold megabanks that have a pattern of harming consumers accountable.”

A 38-page Democratic Staff Report, released by Waters last week and prepared by the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Financial Services, claimed regulators, such as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, failed to use their most severe tools to shut down repeat offender megabanks or otherwise hold their executives accountable.

Originally published by Housingwire

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Emergency Press Conference: Witnesses to Police Murder of Luis Gongora Pat are Dying (from Adrienne Fong)

Two witnesses to the murder of Luis Demetrio Góngora Pat, by the SFPD have mysteriously died!

Emergency Press Conference

“Witnesses to a Police Murder are Mysteriously Dying”

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Altar for Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat

Shotwell & 19th Street

San Francisco

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/368902096880444/

Witnesses to Police Murder of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat are Dying. The People Launch an Investigation

As the trial of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat, an innocent, unhoused, Mayan, Father, Husband, brother and Son who was killed 18 months ago on the streets of San Francisco approaches, the witnesses to his murder are mysteriously dying.

John Visor, a witness to the murder of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat died in his single Room Occupancy (SRO) Hotel room on August 11th. Last week another person related to the case also died mysteriously in his SRO room in the same hotel.

“It is critical that the death of John Visor be examined by an independent agency to uncover any foul play that might have occurred,” said lawyer for the people Adante Pointer who has been working tirelessly on this case…Anytime someone dies like this we are suspicious about the circumstances given the implications his death may have against the Luis Gongora Pat case against the SFPD,” Pointer concluded.

“Both John and the second man involved who just died, Greg, were poverty scholars as we say at POOR Magazine, street scholars who struggled with houselessness and the trauma that is lodged in our collective heads in this post-colonial gentrified streets of amerikkklan, in this case the stolen village of Yelamu (aka San Francisco ), where people like Luis (Gongora Pat) were homeless because of gentrification, said Lisa Tiny Garcia, Co-editor of POOR Magazine and author of Criminal of Poverty ;Growing Up Homeless in America

“Myself and John’s sister Maria Martinez, have spoken with three medical examiners and they all had different stories, first he (John) was sitting on a chair, then he was on a desk, then he had marks on him, then something else, “ said the other witness and John’s partner, Stephanie Grant.

At the emergency press conference the community will be launching an investigation into the circumstances of both of these deaths of people related to the case.
Stories about John Visor’s life and death:

http://www.poormagazine.org/node/5696

https://missionlocal.org/2017/10/witnesses-lives-transformed-after-sf-police-shooting/

Info: POOR Magazine

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“WE CAN’T AFFORD NOT TO DO SINGLE PAYER!” by Brian Stompe

This is a response to the Joe Mathews opinion piece “My Doubts About Single-Payer Just Show I’m Sick in the Head” which appeared in last Sunday’s Chronicle (October 8, 2017):

In Sunday SF Chronicle Insight, Joe Mathews said he was disappointed with himself for not being 100% supportive of single-payer health care, and comes on like a health insurance company trying to keep the deadly, fractured, expensive system we have. A study completed a couple months ago by 4 PHD’s at U of Mass. Amherst detailed how CA is spending $368.5 billion on health care and would spend $330 billion if it adopted single payer with CA, SB 562, saving $37.5 billion a year, and detailed two options for financing CA single payer. Mathew’s $400 billion cost is a bogus figure used by those who want to keep enriching the insurance industry CA does not need. With the 6th largest economy in the world CA can easily self ensure for health care .Go on line, Joe! U. of Mass. Pollin Report on CA SB 562. 
 
Brian Stompe
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Why Colin Kaepernick Took a Knee (US Army Veteran, Nate Boyer)


Matt Orfalea
Published on Oct 9, 2017

It was US Army veteran, Nate Boyer who suggested to Kaepernick to take a knee as a sign of respect. Kaepernicks protest was no statement on the military but to call attention to police brutality in America where cops are getting paid leave for murdering unarmed Americans.

Edited by Matt Orfalea

Footage courtesy HBO, ESPN, CBS, ITV, TZM, Getty Images, Al Jazeera, FOX, ABC, CNN

Music: “The F Word (RJD2 Remix)”

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Prosperity, the movie

If you’re tired of hearing about all that’s wrong with the world and would rather get up and do something about it, then you’re in the right place. Doom and gloom can only go so far before we’re depressed and stunned into inaction…all while the world continues to slide.

What can we do to help offset our impact on the planet and make this place safer and friendlier for our children?

My name is Pedram Shojai. I’m a NYT Best Selling Author (The Urban Monk) and this is my third movie. My first one, “Vitality” was an exploration of why the healthcare system doesn’t work and it was about helping us understand our personal role in getting healthy. I followed that with one called “Origins” which looked at all of the environmental toxins that may be smothering our health. That movie ended on a very positive note and, in looking for actual solutions to the world’s problems, I had to follow the money. That’s how we ended up here.

Let’s take a closer look at our definition of “Prosperity”.

Progress at any cost has cost us plenty.

There’s a concept in economics where things that don’t fall onto your balance sheet are called “externalities”. For instance, a coal company makes a ton of money but the environmental impact: cleanup costs, mercury in the oceans, smog, deforestation, and all the illness that comes from this somehow “isn’t their problem”. Society is left to deal with these externalities. Taxpayers, non-profits, fish, and wildlife all pay for their profits. Uncool.

Prosperity is following a new generation of companies that are doing the right thing and deserve our attention (and money). There’s an emerging movement of “For Benefit” companies that are building into their bylaws the new ethics of conscious companies. In the old days, a CEO could be sued by the board if he/she didn’t maximize profits at any cost. Now, companies can elect to be “For Benefit” and factor in doing the right thing over just profits alone.

This is revolutionary and is changing the game.

Our feature length movie is following the key players in this movement and showing a real positive way out of the mess we’ve inherited and helped co-create. The more we support this blossoming movement, the more money goes to people who care…people who will take a stand for our values and our environment.

We have our cameras on these heroes and are going to break some amazing news in the release of this movie.  From CEOs of major public companies, to urban farmers, and remote tribes, we’re covering the whole story in a powerful narrative.

 

Link to film:  https://go.well.org/prosperity/movie/view/alt/?inf_contact_key=b0dbce6a8575760ec318c2387cffe49e4edbd57e17bb3aea2ac64fcea348a72a

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OccupyForum presents . . . Society for the Many: A report-back from the inaugural People’s Congress of Resistance

OccupyForum presents…

Monday, October 16th, 2017 from 6:45 – 9 pm at the Black and Brown Social Club

474 Valencia between 15th and 16th Street near 16th Street BART

Information, discussion, & community! Monday Night Forum!!

OccupyForum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue

on all sides of these critically important issues!

Society for the Many:

A report-back from the inaugural

People’s Congress of Resistance

“Millions of people desire a political revolution against the billionaire class. The interest in socialism has grown rapidly in the last two years. The will to create a more just and equal society, the will to revolution, grows daily. The People’s Congress of Resistance was assembled to give voice and vision to this revolution. What kind of world do we want? What kind of society is worth fighting for?

 The question contains its answer. The kind of society worth fighting for is one organized for society’s own good, for the equality and emancipation of the many. It is a society that replaces oppression with self-determination. It is a society that meets people’s needs. It is a society that protects the land, water and well-being of the planet. It is a society where people welcome the future with solidarity and hope. Today the vast wealth produced collectively by the many is in the hands of the very few. Today these few destroy our common planet for their own private profit. Today too many see nothing but misery ahead. If we are to care for our environment and provide for our common lives and futures, what working people have created through their collective labor must become theirs.”

 ­– ­From the Manifesto

On Sept. 16-17, the People’s Congress of Resistance movement was inaugurated with a mass convening of grassroots organizers and frontline resistors at Howard University. All told, 727 delegates from 38 states and 160 towns and cities came to Washington, D.C., to discuss the People’s Congress of Resistance manifesto “Society for the Many: A Vision for Revolution,” to share organizing experiences to take back home, to express solidarity with each other and to resolve on common projects and actions for the future.

Local activists, Nick Pardee and Michelle Schudel, who traveled to the Inaugural event in Washington D.C. will give a report-back on their experience and what’s next for the People’s Congress of Resistance.

http://www.congressofresistance.org/inaugural_people_s_congress_of_resistance_draws_together_grassroots_leaders_unified_by_a_revolutionary_vision

http://www.congressofresistance.org/      •https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B290R9qCuH9lQVZNX2VScHR0dkE/view

http://www.congressofresistance.org/resolutions_from_the_2017_congress

Time will be allotted for discussion and announcements. Donations to Occupy Forum to cover costs are encouraged; no one turned away!

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As Trump Carves Path of Destruction, Nader Asks Obama: Where Are You?

October 10, 2017

While list of programs and rules under attack grows, a call for former president to fight back against “Trump-led assault on our weakening democracy”

Former U.S. President Barack Obama congratulates U.S. President Donald Trump after he took the oath of office on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As the Trump administration moves quickly and systematically to erase every last remnant of Barack Obama’s legislative and regulatory legacy—from the Iran deal to the Affordable Care Act to the Clean Power Plan—consumer advocate Ralph Nader has a simple question for the former president: where have you been?

“Besides raising funds for his presidential library (about $1 billion), is getting press primarily for being paid $400,000 or more per speech before Wall Street and other big business audiences.”
—Ralph Nader

Obama, Nader writes in an op-ed published Tuesday, has remained “mostly silent as the belligerent Trump rolls back or destroys” his achievements.

“The list of protective programs and responsible business laws destroyed by Trump’s wrecking crew of a cabinet grows longer every week,” Nader writes, but “[t]he mere thought of tangling with the Trumpster’s foul, prevaricatory, sneering tweets offends Obama’s own sense of civil discourse between politicians.”

In recent days, the already large list of programs and rules destroyed by Trump has grown rapidly. Over the past week alone, the Trump administration has:

  • Signaled its intent to “decertify” the Iran nuclear accord;
  • Moved to dismantle the Affordable Care Act through overt sabotage or executive order;
  • Intensified the “war against wind and solar” by moving to roll back the Clean Power Plan;
  • Issued immigration proposals denounced as “red meat for xenophobic extremists”;
  • Circulated a “religious freedom” memo that critics say amounts to little more than a “license to discriminate” against the LGBTQ community; and
  • Rolled back Obamacare’s birth control coverage mandate.

The fact that Obama has retained overwhelming popularity and influence on his party makes his detachment from such crucial matters unacceptable, Nader argues.

“Obama owes a different attitude and level of engagement to the American people,” Nader writes.

The former president could, Nader notes, “work to strengthen civic groups and help substantially to create new organizations to address urgent needs (such as averting wars).” He could also “back opposition to Trump’s destructive policies that are running America into the ground while shielding Wall Street and the dictatorial corporate supremacists whose toadies Trump has put into high government positions.”

Instead, however, Obama has mostly kept his sparse public protests against Trump’s agenda confined to his Facebook page, as in the case of the administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“Under Trump, families will be exposed to more hazards in the workplace, the environment, and the marketplace, and they will face rip-offs by companies that have been liberated from regulatory law and order.”

But Nader observes that the problem isn’t merely that Obama is remaining silent in the face of Trump’s full-scale rollback of crucial protections for workers and the environment. The crucial issue is that the former president is all-too accessible to precisely the wrong crowd.

“Obama, besides raising funds for his presidential library (about $1 billion), is getting press primarily for being paid $400,000 or more per speech before Wall Street and other big business audiences,” Nader writes. “Most recently, the New York Times located him in Sao Paulo, Brazil, speaking generalities to businesspeople who were charged from $1,500 to $2,400 to hear him say essentially nothing of note.”

“Meanwhile,” Nader adds, “tens of millions are without living wages or health insurance…. Under Trump, families will be exposed to more hazards in the workplace, the environment, and the marketplace, and they will face rip-offs by companies that have been liberated from regulatory law and order.”

Any of these facts by themselves, and particularly all of them combined, should be more than sufficient to provoke Obama to burst his “self-enriching bubble,” ditch political decorum (and Wall Street), and return to the public sphere on the side of those fighting back against Trump’s destructive agenda.

“Think of your millions of supporters, Mr. Obama,” Nader writes in closing. “They want you to regularly stand up for them and fight the Trump-led assault on our weakening democracy.”

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In ‘Orwellian’ Press Briefing, Huckabee Sanders Defends Trump’s Repeated Tax Rate Lie

Since announcing his 2016 presidential run, Trump has been incorrectly claiming at rallies and in interviews that Americans pay the highest tax rates in the world

October 10, 2017 (CommonDreams.org.)

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed a reporter’s question about the president’s repeated misleading statements about tax rates. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In an exchange one journalist described as “Orwellian,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down in her Tuesday press briefing on President Donald Trump’s repeated lie that the U.S. is the “highest-taxed nation in the world”—clarifying that when he says that, he’s talking about the corporate tax rate even though that is not what he says time and time again.

A reporter from One America News pushed back, but Huckabee Sanders insisted there was no discrepancy between Trump’s statements and the truth. Ultimately she told the reporter they would just have to “agree to disagree” on whether two different claims were actually the same thing.

Trump most recently made the claim in a televised appearance in the Oval Office just before the press briefing. He also said it in an interview over the weekend on Mike Huckabee’s talk show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, in a tweet last month, in campaign speeches during the 2016 election, and at rallies in Youngstown, Ohio and Cedar Rapids, Iowa this year.

During the presidential campaign, the Pew Research Center found that Americans pay less in taxes than most developed nations. The Tax Policy Center has also found that tax revenue makes up only about 26 percent of the United States’ GDP. In countries with strong social welfare programs, like Sweden, France, and Finland, citizens pay far more.

While the nominal corporate tax rate for U.S. corporations is higher compared to many other developed nations, the effective rate—due to loopholes, deductions, and other tax avoidance schemes written into the tax code—keeps effective rates exceedingly low. Despite that, Trump continues to claim they are unduly high while repeatedly suggesting in front of non-corporate audiences that his main concern is with lowering American families’ tax rates.

A number of journalists and Trump critics denounced Huckabee Sanders’s characterization of the matter as a simple difference of opinion between the reporter and the White House—rather than a question of misleading statements by the president.

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Los Angeles Public Bank effort gains more steam

171010_LA_city_meeting.jpg

From left: Paul Stanton; Senior Policy Deputy, Anna Hovasapian LA City Councilmember Paul Krekorian; Marc Armstrong, Commonomics USA; Ellen Brown, PBI; Wolfram Morales, Sparkasse (East German Savings Bank Association); David Jette, Public Bank LA

Strong steps taken by LA City Council toward a Public Bank for Los Angeles have drawn a good deal of media attention, including coverage by the local CBS affiliate. The Ad Hoc Committee on Comprehensive Job Creation Plan began to debate the issue last Wednesday, Oct 4.

Following the successful Sept 29 meeting that took place between interested Councilmembers, legislative directors and Public Banking experts, Ellen Brown was invited to attend the Ad Hoc Committee and explain how a Bank of Los Angeles can be feasible, profitable and beneficial for the city’s residents.

The Ad Hoc Committee panel included the City’s Attorney Office, City Administrative Officer, Chief Legislative Officer, and PBI’s Ellen Brown.

As a result of the discussion, Chairman Krekorian moved to instruct the City Attorney’s Office and the CLA to report back on:

  • the legal requirements and constraints of forming a municipal bank
  • legislative and legal barriers
  • regulatory barriers at federal, state and local level, and
  • the benefits and potential risks of public banking model in the US and international models including the German Sparkassen example

In addition, the Chairman also instructed the City Attorney and CLA to report back on the potential for investing in:

  • affordable housing
  • infrastructure
  • economic development purposes, including small business developments
  • servicing the cannabis industry, and
  • student loans

PBI and the Public Bank LA team are excited to see LA City Council moving forward strongly toward creating the first municipal bank in the United States. We are making history. 

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