First They Came for the Homeless update

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First they came for the homeless

February 16, 2018

In the last 2 weeks, there have been 2 fires, and 1 stabbing having to do with homeless individuals. My fear is these crimes will be used to paint all homeless as unable to care for themselves. There are already many preconceived notions and prejudices in place. Painting the homeless community with broad brush strokes is to blame.

Homeless people are no different than housed. Their being homeless is not because they are less capable, less intelligent, or addicted. It is because they are old, disabled, under paid, and always because they have been left behind economically.

The solution from the government is inadequate. But, that does not stop them from using law and threats of violence or arrest to compel you “into the system.”

FTCFTH has developed a model, and demonstrated that model. We have shown success in spite of the cities efforts to destroy us, through police action and a negative PR campaign. Our model has been structured, and tested by the homeless. It is designed to have what is most needed, while minimizing behaviors associated with crime.

Having a structured community while being homeless drops your odds of being a victim a lot.

–Mike Zint

Every Member of Congress Who Took Money From the NRA and Tweeted ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ to Parkland


On Wednesday, 17 people—the vast majority of them children—were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. The suspected gunman, Nikolas Cruz, was apprehended by police late Wednesday, leaving America to grapple with yet another horrific act of gun violence.

In the wake of this latest mass murder, lawmakers have once again resorted to the now-cliché gesture of offering “thoughts and prayers” for the victims of the Parkland shooting, while stopping conspicuously short of actually acting on their laughably hollow sentiment. And once again, those lawmakers are the very same people who have gladly pocketed dollar after blood-soaked dollar from the National Rifle Association.

Here are all the lawmakers who have tweeted “thoughts and prayers” with one hand while eagerly cashing NRA checks with the other. Keep in mind that the totals below, provided by the campaign contribution tracking site, represent just the money given directly to that legislator in their most recent campaign. Like most massive special interest groups, the NRA is able to influence politicians well beyond direct donations. For instance, beyond the amounts listed below, Open Secrets reported that the NRA flooded the 2016 election cycle with over $50 million dollars worth of spending in races around the country. Most of that money was spent on ads for or against various candidates.

Marco Rubio (R-FL) – $9,900

Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – $9,900

Rob Portman (R-OH) – $9,900

Joni Ernst (R-IA) – $9,900

Thom Tillis (R-NC) – $9,900

Dean Heller (R-NV) – $9,900

Jim Inhofe (R-OK) – $9,450

John Hoeven (R-ND) – $8,450

Steve Daines (R-MT) – $7,700

Ron Johnson (R-WI) – $7,450

John Boozman (R-AR) – $5,950

Todd Young (R-IN) – $5,950

Mike Rounds (R-SD) – $5,450

James Lankford (R-OK) – $5,000

Bill Cassidy (R-LA) – $4,950

Richard Shelby (R-AL) – $4,950

David Perdue (R-GA) – $4,950

Tim Scott (R-SC) – $4,500

Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) – $2,500

Ted Cruz (R-TX) – $350

John McCain (R-AZ) – $300


Barbara Comstock (R-VA) – $10,400

Mike Coffman (R-CO) – $9,900

Will Hurt (R-TX) – $9,900

John Katko (R-NY) – $9,900

Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) -$9,900

Lee Zeldin (R-NY) – $9,900

Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) – $7,450

Martha McSally (R-AZ) – $6,500

Bill Schuster (R-PA) – $5,950

Richard Hudson (R-NC) – $4,950

Steve Scalise (R-LA) – $4,950

Lamar Smith (R-TX) – $4,950

Ken Calvert (R-CA) – $4,500

Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) – $4,000

Robert Aderholt (R-AL) – $3,500

Michael McCaul (R-TX) – $3,500

Darin LaHood (R-IL) – $3,000

Erik Paulson (R-MN) – $3,000

Tom Reed (R-NY) – $3,000

Diane Black (R-TN) – $2,500

Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) – $2,500

Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) – $2,500

Rodney Davis (R-IL) $2,500

John Ratcliff (R-TX) – $2,500

Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) – $2,500

Pete Sessions (R-TX) – $2,500

Roger Williams (R-TX) – $2,500

Mike Bishop (R-MI) – $2,000

Bradley Byrne (R-AL) – $2,000

Buddy Carter (R-GA) – $2,000

Chris Collins (R-NY) – $2,000

Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL) – $2,000

Sean Duffy (R-WI) – $2,000

Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) – $2,000

Tim Walz (D-MN) – $2,000

Bob Gibbs (R-OH) – $2,000

Paul Gossar (R-AZ) – $2,000

Sam Graves (R-MO) – $2,000

Glenn Grothman (R-WI) $2,000

Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) – $2,000

Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) – $2,000

French Hill (R-AR) – $2,000

Bill Huizenga (R-MI) – $2,000

Darrell Issa (R-CA) – $2,000

Bill Johnson (R-OH) – $2,000

Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) – $2,000

Doug Lamborn (R-CO) – $2,000

Luke Messer (R-IN) – $2,000

Kristi Noem (R-SD) – $2,000

Scott Perry (R-PA) – $2,000

Robert Pittenger (R-NC) – $2,000

Ted Poe (R-TX) – $2,000

Tom Rice (R-SC) – $2,000

Martha Roby (R-AL) – $2,000

Mike Rogers (R-AL) – $2,000

Todd Rokita (R-IN) – $2,000

Peter Roskam (R-IL) – $2,000

Dennis Ross (R-FL) – $2,000

Austin Scott (R-GA) – $2,000

Jason Smith (R-MO) – $2,000

Elise Stefanik (R-NY) – $2,000

Steve Stivers (R-OH) – $2,000

Mark Walker (R-NC) – $2,000

Jackie Walorski (R-IN) – $2,000

Mimi Walters (R-CA) – $2,000

Joe Wilson (R-SC) – $2,000

Rob Wittman (R-VA) – $2,000

Steven Palazzo (R-MS) – $1,750

Mike Kelly (R-PA) – $1,500

Steve Womack (R-AR) – $1,500

Ralph Abraham (R-LA) – $1,000

Lou Barlettea (R-PA) – $1,000

Susan Brooks (R-IN) – $1,000

Warren Davidson (R-OH) – $1,000

Ron DeSantis (R-FL) – $1,000

Louie Gohmert (R-TX) – $1,000

Kenny Marchant (R-TX) – $1,000

Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) – $1,000

David McKinley (R-WV) – $1,000

Dave Reichert (R-WA) – $1,000

Tom Rooney (R-FL) – $1,000

Randy Weber (R-TX) – $1,000

Daniel Webster (R-FL) – $1,000


Rafi Schwartz

News reporter, Splinter. When in doubt he’ll have the soup.

The John Lewis model and what others could learn from it

All 76,500 of John Lewis’s permanent staff are partners and they ultimately own the retailer’s 35 department stores and 272 Waitrose supermarkets

Andy Street, the MD of John Lewis, addresses new partners in the new Westfield Stratford City branch
 Andy Street, the MD of John Lewis, addresses new partners in the new Westfield Stratford City branch. All 76,500 of John Lewis’s permanent staff are partners and they ultimately own the retailer’s 35 department stores and 272 Waitrose supermarkets, which generate annual sales of more than £8bn. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The John Lewis Partnership is one of the few UK companies where bumper bonuses do not provoke a public outcry.

All staff — from chairman Charlie Mayfield down to Saturday shelf-stackers – receive the same percentage payout which rises or falls in line with its financial fortunes. Last year its staff, or “partners” as John Lewis calls them, received 17% which is the equivalent of around nine weeks’ pay.

The retailer’s employee-owned partnership model operates differently from private-equity backed businesses and stock market-listed companies as instead of profits flowing to the shareholders, at John Lewis they flow to the staff, in the form of the annual bonus. It is not a one-off; according to the Employee Ownership Association there more than 100 UK companies with significant employee ownership, a section of the economy that is worth more than £25bn annually. Other examples include Blackwell bookshops, jam maker Wilkin & Sons and polymers manufacturer Scott Bader.

John Lewis’s ownership structure was established by pioneering businessman John Spedan Lewis whose father founded the business in 1864. He signed away his ownership rights in 1929 to allow future generations of employees to take forward his “experiment in industrial democracy”. His ideas are set out in the company’s constitution which at its heart has the idea of establishing a “better form of business”.

All 76,500 of John Lewis’s permanent staff are partners and they ultimately own the retailer’s 35 department stores and 272 Waitrose supermarkets, which generate annual sales of more than £8bn. As the company itself puts it: “Partners share in the benefits and profits of a business that puts them first.” John Lewis’s constitution also lists a formal mission to maximise the “happiness” of its staff. The power structure involves a staff council – for ideas and complaints to filter up to the board – and a weekly magazine where staff can air their views about policies and management, anonymously if they choose.

Tony Greenham, the head of finance and business at the New Economics Foundation says it is important that employees should “have a greater say in how their businesses are run, not just a bigger share of the profits”. He said: “The idea that workers have nothing useful to contribute to management belongs to the 19th century, not the 21st.”

Greenham says both privately held and employee owned businesses can contribute to an economy that does a better job of creating social and environmental value over the long run. “A successful economy is one where private interests ultimately serve the broader public interest,” he adds. “What companies like John Lewis demonstrate is that this does not have to come at the expense of commercial success.”

John Lewis staff earn the same as shopworkers at rival chains – but the year-end bonus is a significant top-up. Its directors, on the other hand, are paid substantially less than their boardroom counterparts at businesses such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s. Staff also receive employee perks – worth £70m this year – ranging from holiday homes to sailing clubs, theatre outings, theme park admissions, and even a choir, all subsidised. It also one of the dwindling number of companies to operate a final salary pension scheme which is funded entirely by the company.

The ownership model means it is in the interests of John Lewis and Waitrose staff to work hard as they are the direct beneficiaries.

Companies such as Next are far more profitable than John Lewis but a report by academics at the Cass business school found that employee-owned businesses had a higher rate of sales growth and job creation during the recession than companies in conventional ownership. Over the course of the boom-and-bust period between 2005 and 2009, they generally created new jobs more quickly and were at least as profitable as their counterparts.

The findings — based on a survey of more than 60 senior executives of both types of company, and financial data from more than 250 firms — back up other studies that show that employee owned businesses typically outperform those companies in which employees do not have an ownership stake or the right to participate in decision-making. “The advantage comes from taking a stakeholder rather than a shareholder view of management,” said the study. “Employees who have a stake in the company they work for are more committed to delivering quality and more flexible in the face of the needs of business.”

Urging Peace Talks, Open Letter From Taliban Asks American People to Recognize Total Failure of 16-Year War

“Make your president and the war-mongering congressmen and Pentagon officials … adopt a rational policy towards Afghanistan,” the letter states.

Children play inside the remains of an old Soviet hotel where they have been living for the past two years, on July 15, 2017 in Rodat District, Afghanistan. (Photo: Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)Children play inside the remains of an old Soviet hotel where they have been living for the past two years, on July 15, 2017 in Rodat District, Afghanistan. (Photo: Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Two and half weeks after President Donald Trump rejected the idea of peace talks with Taliban, the militant group published an open letter to the American people urging them to pressure their government to end the occupation of Afghanistan, now in its 17th year, and engage in peace talks.

The letter, published on the group’s website, denounces the Bush administration’s justification for launching the invasion, as well as the Trump administration, which “again ordered the perpetuation of the same illegitimate occupation and war against the Afghan people.”

“No matter what title or justification is presented by your undiscerning authorities for the war in Afghanistan, the reality is that tens of thousands of helpless Afghans including women and children were martyred by your forces, hundreds of thousands were injured and thousands more were incarcerated in Guantanamo, Bagram, and various other secret jails and treated in such a humiliating way that has not only brought shame upon humanity but is also a violation of all claims of American culture and civilization,” the letter states.

It goes on to illustrate in numerous ways how the occupation has failed. For example, “3546 American and foreign soldiers have been killed,” it states, and “this war has cost you trillions of dollars thus making it one of the bloodiest, longest and costliest war in the contemporary history of your country.”

“If you want peaceful dialogue with the Afghans specifically, and with the world generally, then make your president and the war-mongering congressmen and Pentagon officials understand this reality and compel them to adopt a rational policy towards Afghanistan.”It also references United Nations statistics finding that there was an 87 percent increase in drug production in Afghanistan in 2017 and, despite the uptick in airstrikes, the U.S. watchdog the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) acknowledged that the Taliban is gaining, not losing territory.

Further, “tens of billions of dollars” in taxpayer money have been spent on various reconstruction projects, but the money “has been distributed among thieves and murderers,” the letter states. Through the occupation, “the Americans have merely paved the way for anarchy in the country,” referring to the rise in other militant groups.

“If you want peaceful dialogue with the Afghans specifically, and with the world generally, then make your president and the war-mongering congressmen and Pentagon officials understand this reality and compel them to adopt a rational policy towards Afghanistan,” the letter states.

Ongoing failure for U.S. troops is ensured, the group argues. “If the policy of using force is exercised for a hundred more years and a hundred new strategies are adopted, the outcome of all of these will be the same as you have observed over the last six months following the initiation of Trump’s new strategy.”

“Our preference is to solve the Afghan issue through peaceful dialogues. America must end her occupation and must accept all our legitimate rights including the right to form a government consistent with the beliefs of our people,” the group says.

The thrust of the message echoes what many peace groups have said—Trump is continuing the failed strategies of his predecessors, and there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

The letter comes a day after U.S. intelligence agencies predicted (pdf) that the “overall situation in Afghanistan probably will deteriorate modestly this year in the face of persistent political instability, sustained attacks by the Taliban-led insurgency, unsteady Afghan Nationa l Security Forces (ANSF) performance, and chronic financial shortfalls.”

Phoenix Goodman and Trinity Tran on Public Banking with Cenk Uygur

TYT Interviews
Published on Feb 2, 2018

Cenk Uygur interviews Phoenix Goodman and Trinity Tran, from DivestLA and co-founders of Public Bank LA, to discuss public banking.

About Divest LA:
Divest LA is a coalition of over 30 progressive, indigenous, and environmental organizations. The movement seeks to end the City of Los Angeles’ financial ties with Wells Fargo for their complicit involvement in fraudulent conduct and predatory practices. Divest LA advocates for greater financial accountability, ethical business practices and for public funds to be placed in socially and environmentally conscious institutions that will protect, strengthen, and enrich our communities.

About Phoenix Goodman – Public Bank LA, Co-Founder:

Phoenix is a Los Angeles-based advocate for a socially responsible public banking system and Co-Founder of Public Bank LA, a grassroots movement aimed at developing one of the nation’s first municipal public bank in the City of Los Angeles. He co-organized the Divest LA movement which successfully lobbied LA City Hall to withdraw its contracts from Wells Fargo as a result of their unethical business practices. He is a founding member of Revolution LA.

About Trinity Tran – Founder Revolution LA & Divest LA, Co-Founder Public Bank LA:
Trinity is the Founder of Revolution LA, the grassroots progressive organization that became the catalyst for Divest LA and Public Bank LA. In March 2017, she created the Divest LA organization to mobilize activists behind the campaign to move the City of Los Angeles’ public funds from Wells Fargo Bank into ethical financial institutions. In just 9 months, the coalition took on Wells Fargo and won, disqualifying the bank from the City’s commercial banking services. In June 2017, she co-founded the Public Bank LA campaign to create a socially and environmentally chartered city-owned public bank.

Berkeley Occupation update

First they came for the homeless

February 12, 2018

So, let’s analyze something.

This homeless led movement was started and grown by people being fed up with how the cops attacked them, and how city’s persecuted them. The response to us by the city is to use the tactics against us that started the movement. Press based on city lies, police, stolen gear, continued harassment of the vulnerable, and no solution coming. Games and delay, as always.

Get a clue, city governments. Change your course, and start representing those who need it, instead of those who don’t. To do otherwise is very short sighted.

Doing all for the profit of those without need while millions suffer is a recipe for civil uprising.

–Mike Zint

Do we Need a Virtual Democracy? (w/Guest Richard Lang)

Thom Hartmann Program
Published on Feb 12, 2018

Could a virtual Democracy be a way to fix our “In Real Life” democracy? Richard Lang seems to think so, here he tells us why, pulling from his new book “Virtual Country”

► Join us on Patreon: where you can also watch a re-run of the three hour program at any time

Beyond Conspiracy – The Terrifying Truth Of Corporate Power

Russell Brand
Published on Nov 21, 2017

Under The Skin #36
Beyond Conspiracy – The Terrifying Truth Of Corporate Power

Having spent years investigating some of the wealthiest people on the planet, journalist and broadcaster Jacques Peretti joins me to discuss the secret billion dollar deals that we never hear about but which are changing our world and revolutionising everything we do.

Unf*ck Yourself From The Modern World with my new book Recovery
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