Mike Zint on “First They Came for the Homeless”

June 2, 2017

Over the past few years, First They Came For The Homeless has helped many people. We have fed thousands, clothed hundreds, and are providing stability to a handful of homeless who are participating in The Poor Tour intentional community.

During this time, no one has made any money doing it. We did it for free. We do it 24 hours a day, everyday, and have for most of the last three years.

To say there is no money will never fly with me. I have proven that money is not needed. Just humanity.

–Mike Zint

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“Ideology vs. Housing” by Steve Martinot

Okay, let’s go over this again. Some people just can’t seem to lose that funny attitude they got from High School economics that the “law of supply and demand” always works. They keep trying to bamboozle us with those old sound bytes and abstract generalities: “There’s a housing crisis,” “We have a housing shortage,” “We need to build housing.” Build, build, build.

There is no “housing crisis.” There is only an “affordable housing crisis.”

To be sure, abstract generality has a certain flair. It appeals because it hides the collateral damage. Don’t get me wrong, abstract generality has its place – like on a mathematics department blackboard. Some mathematicians have quit that discipline, however, once they realized that what they discover abstractly could someday be used to build new weapons.

That “build” mantra actually constitutes a knowledge crisis because it is already a weapon. These days, it gets fired at random, to the detriment and destruction of truth, and historical experience, and real economic process.

After all, for whom is there a crisis? It isn’t a crisis for developers. It isn’t a crisis for the banks. And it isn’t a crisis for the high income people coming into town, bidding up the price of a home. It is only a crisis for low income families who suddenly find themselves looking for a affordable place to rent, and can no longer find any because it has been bid out of reach. Building market rate housing will not resolve their situation; indeed, it is its very cause.

Why doesn’t the supply-and-demand concept work?

The “S&D law” doesn’t work because there are two forms of demand, and they are contradictory.

There is an external demand, people coming into the area looking for housing. They are the ones willing and able to pay $4000 a month for an apartment. If we assume they are paying 30% of their income for rent (the HUD standard for affordability), it would imply that they are earning $160,000 a year. They are the ones jacking up the “market rate.” If they did not exist in large numbers, we wouldn’t be seeing the exorbitant elevation in rent levels.

But wait a minute. Did I just say “affordability” means 30% of income maximum? Yes, that is the HUD standard. “Affordable” housing is housing that rents for up to 30% of the tenants income, whatever that income might be. Remember that. It replaces “markets” with a principle of livability. And it falsifies the dogma of supply-and-demand thinking.

The second form of demand is the internal demand. It is composed of people who live in the city and have been displaced from their housing by nefarious landlord machinations. At the new rent levels, they find other housing now unobtainable. The real name for the affordable housing crisis is “displacement.”

The cause of nefarious landlordism, which is the cause of displacement, is the external demand. The promise of six-figure-income tenants is what has led many landlords to drive out low income tenants in order to rent at higher rates. They do this legally and illegally – for instance, by doubling or tripling the rent, by cutting off electricity and water, by abandoning maintenance and then blaming the tenants for squallor. Et Cetera. Profit-hunger is often rich in its ability to humiliate and torture the unwary.

Here’s the contradiction. The external demand, those six-figure-income arrivals, not only jack up rent levels, they are the contingent cause of low income families being displaced. This is what has created an internal demand of crisis proportions. It continues to do so. The “S&D law” serves as its political weapon, hiding the fact that massive displacement is the collateral damage wrought by building for that external demand.

The external demand will always be able to satisfy itself. It has enough money to find a place to live whenever it wants. It can touch down temporarily, and move on quickly to other more permanent digs. The turnover in new buildings like the Avalon on Third St., or Parker Place on Shattuck (being run as a hotel now) is evidence of that mobility.

The “internal demand” can never be satisfied because it is not created not by a shortage but by changes in price levels (rents). The people forming the internal demand already live here. Building affordable housing will not increase supply but replace units given over to wealthier inhabitants. The crisis they represent is an imposed crisis.

If the real name for the affordable housing crisis is “displacement,” the real name for displacement is “injustice.”

Some low income people succeed in maintaining themselves. They live in places they can afford, and no one harasses them. Nevertheless, though in no immediate crisis, many undergo the secondary trauma of their own uncertainty, sometimes with displaced friends sleeping on their couch, or a family they know moving into their garage.

How do we know that the people forming the external demand are wealthier? Precisely because they are driving up “market rate” rent levels? Only high income people can do that. People who already live here are not going to go out looking for more expensive apartments to live in to an extent that would actually affect the “market rate.” Not even an S&D fundamentalist could make sense of that.

What brought the new arrivals to Berkeley?

Who are these six-figure-salary people? Where do they come from?

They must already have high paying jobs in this area if they can afford $4000 a month? If they didn’t already have such jobs, they could not sign such leases. The fact that they do means they are already part of the Bay Area economy, while living somewhere else.

Why are they moving here now? Okay, lets go over that again. This is the crux. [Cf. http://tinyurl.com/jy82bok]

To set the stage, we have to go back to the 50s, when the first city dwellers started moving to the suburbs after the war. It accelerated during the 60s as tempestuous struggles for equality and justice spread over the nation. There were civil rights uprisings, youth anti-war movements, women demanding their place in the economy, and a recognition that we had to stop planetary despoliation. In their struggles to democratize this country, they changed the face of daily city life. So some people decided to move out of town, to escape the hurly-burly. It was called “white flight.”

What we are seeing now is the inverse process. The project to bring them back into town was first broached in the halls of ABAG (Assoc. of Bay Area Governments) ten years ago. It came to fruition two years ago with the creation of Plan Bay Area, which has been written into California environmental law. ABAG presented its plan as “environmentalist,” since it would eliminate the hours all these high-paid employees spent in traffic-jams on the freeways, thereby reducing the state’s carbon footprint. Thus, it was actually a plan to make “white flight” a round-trip ticket.

But bringing the white flight “prodigals” back into town is not a “housing problem.” It is a “housing proposal.” The “housing problem” is what happens to others as a result of the proposal. Hundreds of families have been pushed out of town, impoverished by the process, and divested of cultural roots. They have had to relocate to other cities, like Martinez or Modesto or Stockton. Wherever they move, they then commute back to their old jobs, filling the freeways in place of the prodigals. ABAG’s environmentalism does nothing. It turns out to be a zero sum scam.

Building more market rate housing won’t help those already pushed out of town. And it won’t stop those landlords still trying to get rid of low income tenants so they can make a bigger buck off the prodigals. Private institutions are raising money to assist those threatened with eviction and exile. But that is just a band-aid. The injustice persists as long as the ideology of “the S&D law” hides the root of the suffering.

The real taproot of the suffering is the plan (Plan Bay Area). The plan allotted housing unit construction to Bay Area cities to house the people being brought in from distant suburbs (like Napa and Sonoma). It was the “magic incantation” that transformed a vacant apartment (from which the former tenant had been expelled) into gold. ABAG’s plans rapidly became a predatory political operation.

If there had been better controls on what landlords could do, there wouldn’t have been so many people forced out of their homes by increased rents or turned-off utilities. But rent control is illegal in this state. So landlord greed went for the jugular, reinventing an “inner city” for the children of white prodigals.

Why do we focus on renters?

Renters are the substance of this crisis, just as home ownership was the substance of the 2008 predatory mortgages crisis. The supply problem is not a shortage of housing, but a shortage of affordability. That is why it is such an insult to simply repeat the idiotic mantra: build, build, build. If you don’t specify “what” and for “whom,” you are part of the problem.

Two thirds of all residents in Berkeley are renters. And the vast majority of them are low income, or very low income (according to HUD). HUD categorizes people according to their relation to the Area Median Income (AMI). For instance, you are low income if you earn less than 80% of the AMI. The AMI for Berkeley is around $65,000 a year. That means that half the population of Berkeley earn less than $65,000 a year.

Ironically, HUD uses Alameda County AMI for its calculations. The AMI of Alameda County is $93,000. $65,000 is 70% of $93,000. That means that considerably more than 50% of the people of Berkeley are low income (on HUD’s calculations). The majority of Berkeleyans are renters, and the majority are low income. (The two overlapping categories do not totally coincide.) Yet the city continues to prioritize market rate housing. It can see its way to only requiring 10% of any new development to be affordable.

Here’s an indication of how bad things are. People living in “rent controlled” apartments pay, on the average, 70% of their income for rent. That means that many pay more than 70%. The implications of paying (for instance) 90% of your income for rent are astounding, and often unmentionable.

Poverty is not a trait or characteristic of a person. It is something done to people. Developers and banks and ideologues who chant “build, build” are all impoverishing people. To just say “we need more housing” is to make a destructive statement.

The destruction happens to real people, though it is invisible because it happens in private. The stress of uncertainty, the worries about children uprooted, the income loss to sudden expenses, and the sense of powerlessness. Even the destruction of neighborhoods occurs out of sight – it is slow and unannounced. When small stores close, survival implies driving to distant shopping malls, increasing the cost of living.

Eventually, the silent disintegration of a neighborhood even leads homeowners to sell and move – getting an unexpected price from speculators, perhaps. They lose community and friends. In the ironic limelight, however, the city council begs off, citing state law, penury, and a need for studies. They hire more police to hide their inability to protect their own constituencies politically.

What’s the solution?

At present, Berkeley has satisfied its ABAG requirement for market rate housing. When all the projects in the pipeline are built, that requirement will have been met twice over. That means the city can totally prioritize the internal demand, the people who already live here, the people who should have had priority all along. It can build 100% affordable housing.

Here’s how.

1) Pass a zoning law for the city that states that new development must contain 100% affordable housing units (divided among low income, very low income, and extremely low income units as defined by HUD).

2) To insure that developers will put these affordable units in their buildings, institute a mitigation fee of $200,000 for each unit. The idea is to make the fee large enough to dissuade a developer from buying his way out of building affordable units.

(The “in-lieu” mitigation fee was originally designed to permit developers to buy their way out of including affordable units in their building. It was a response to the Palmer Decision of 2009 [California Supreme Court], which held that cities requiring low rent units were liable for any loss of income for the developer. With the fee in place, the inclusionary requirement became voluntary. There is also an “impact mitigation fee,” which developers must pay to offset service disruptions or complications their buildings might incur.)

3) If the developer decides not to build, he can sell the land to one or another existing Affordable Housing developers (SAHA, Resources for Community Development, or others that might form). They could build affordable housing. Its been done. The building on the northwest corner of Fulton and Kittridge is just such a building.

If the crisis was spawned by political intention, only political intention will resolve it.

(Courtesy of Mike Zint)

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“CUT CORPORATE TAXES? THIS IS HOW THE BIGGEST COMPANIES CHEATED ON TAXES IN 2016” by Paul Buchheit (occupy.com)

June 1, 1017

Donald Trump wants to cut what some call the “highest corporate tax rate in the world.” The tax cut will, according to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, “pay for itself with economic growth.”

Two delusions in one. The realities are far different for anyone who actually considers the facts. And some of the facts about 2016 tax avoidance are shocking and depressing. For example, two of the big banks (JP Morgan and Bank of America) together underpaid their taxes by more than Trump’s proposed $10.6 billion education cuts, which would eliminate or reduce after-school programs, work-study programs, state grants, teacher training, arts programs, and physical education. The two banks combined to DEFER nearly $10 billion.

COMPANIES THAT USE U.S. RESOURCES BUT CLAIM ALL THEIR PROFITS IN OTHER COUNTRIES

Exxon has over half of its natural gas facilities, half of its developed acreage, the great majority of its productive and development wells, and half of its retail sites in the U.S. but declared $5.8 billion in U.S. losses along with $13.8 billion in foreign profits in 2016. The company CLAIMED A CREDIT on its U.S. income tax.

Pfizer had half of its sales in the U.S. in 2016, yet claimed an $8.5 billion LOSS IN THE U.S. along with nearly $17 billion in foreign profits. Despite paying an effective tax rate of just 4 percent on its total income in 2016, and despite being one of the nine pharmaceutical companies among the top 30 Fortune 500 firms in offshore tax hoarding, Pfizer CEO Ian Read complained that U.S. taxes had his company fighting “with one hand tied behind our back.”

Dow Chemical had 63 percent of its assets and 35 percent of its sales in the U.S. in 2016, but declared only 11% of its income in the United States. Caterpillar generates nearly half of its sales in the U.S., but claimed over $2 billion in U.S. losses and over $2 billion in foreign profits – and, of course, a credit on its U.S. tax bill.

COMPANIES THAT DEFER THEIR TAXES, YEAR AFTER YEAR AFTER YEAR

In the spotlight here is lovable old Warren Buffett, whose company Berkshire Hathaway has used “hypothetical amounts” to ‘pay’ its taxes while actually deferring $77 billion in real taxes. The company would keep 20% of this – tax-free FOREVER – if Trump’s tax plan were to go through.

According to Barron’s “It seems that Buffett and his businesses are serial deprivers of tax revenue to the U.S. Treasury. Yet that does not deter him from loudly advocating higher income tax rates for others.” Buffett endears himself to average Americans by complaining that “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress.”

Another extreme deferrer is Apple, the leading offender among the Fortune 500 companies that are collectively holding over $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore for tax purposes, with estimated taxes due of over $600 billion. CEO Tim Cook said, “We’re not a tax dodger. We pay our share and then some.”

COMPANIES THAT HAVE CRIPPLED A STATE’S K-12 AND HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEMS

The mayor of Chicago and governor of Illinois are blaming each other for the Chicago Public School budget crisis, and Illinois colleges are in constant danger of being shut down. But Illinois lost over a billion dollars in 2016 tax revenue to ten of its largest companies, which according to their own records paid just 1.8% of their profits in state taxes, about a quarter of the required amount.

Yet it’s the children and the taxpayers who bear the burden of reform. Illinois has the highest educational revenue shortfall among the 50 states, and it cut higher education spending by over 50% from 2008 to 2016. Illinois has the 2nd-highest property taxes in the nation. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy named Illinois one of the ten “Most Regressive State Tax Systems,” with the third-highest “Taxes on the Poor.”

But no mention of the tax avoiders. Just 10 of them would have contributed an additional $1.1 billion to Illinois educational needs, if they had paid what they owe.

COMPANIES THAT JUST DON’T PAY

Notorious non-payer General Electric stayed true to form in 2016, claiming a $2.6 billion credit even though it had over $2 billion in U.S. profits (and $9 billion in profits overall).

Then come the banks – Bank of America, JP Morgan, and Citigroup – which together made $53 billion in U.S. profits but paid 10% or less in taxes, with Bank of America ‘leading’ the way with a 2% tax payment on its $16 billion profit.

PERSPECTIVE

Ten companies mentioned in this report collectively withheld nearly $15 billion in tax money in 2016.

That’s as much as Trump’s proposed cut for Health and Human Services, which carries out essential research on cancer and deadly threats like the Ebola and Zika viruses.

Corporations make billions from U.S. research and education, but then they turn around and cheat us on taxes. And Republicans think corporations should get a tax break.

Stop tax breaks for the rich: Create a new tax system that doesn’t favor the wealthy:

Originally published by Nation of Change

corporate tax evasion, corporate tax dodging, CEO pay, tax shelters, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, tax the rich
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“The life-or-death battle of Britain’s 2017 election” by Steve Rushton (occupy.com)

May 30, 2017

For the first time in two generations, Brits have real choice in the forthcoming General Election on June 8. On the one hand they can continue with business interests as usual, which threaten the liberty and even the lives of many people. Alternatively, socially progressive options are on offer, galvanizing a grassroots engagement seldom seen during U.K. elections.

Seven years of the incumbent government is killing Britain in numerous ways. Removing the society’s safety nets through austerity is leading to poverty, suicides, and even starvation. The Conservative Party is tearing Britain apart; its imposition of Brexit and other English-centric policies for the richest have pushed Scottish independence and Irish reunification as ever more attractive escape routes.

In a basic sense, the Tories have trashed the British economy for the majority. Public and private debt have ballooned in the last seven years, and along with them, widespread inequality. These factors sparked the last financial crash, and they could cause or intensify the next global crash.

Not only that, British democracy and liberty has withered as Britain becomes ever more authoritarian, shown by the erosion of freedom of speech, civil liberties and press freedom, and the rise in racism and inhumane responses the country shows its refugees and migrants.

In an ever more fragile global ecosystem, the Conservatives are also driving on the same oil consumption speedway as Donald Trump. They undermine the green energy revolution while pushing fracking and other dangerously dirty energies, such as lobbying for tar sands.

When it comes to global security, the story is again one of the Tories shooting themselves in the foot – or at least giving the bullets to their enemies. An example is their alliance with Turkey, not to mention Saudi Arabia. Turkey is actively attacking Kurdish Rojava, the strongest anti-ISIS force in the world. At the same time, Britain is aggressively moving away from Europe through Brexit. This is yet another cliff the Tories are trying to throw the country from.

A simple reason lies behind these complicated processes of self-harm: money. Conservatives work for the vested interests of the few, where destruction and even death, suffered by the many, are mere side-effects. They have created an economy that does not tax or regulate the super-rich, but allows them to profit whatever the social and environmental costs. Their economy amounts to death by a thousand cuts.

At their core, the Conservatives have intensified a class war against the majority, something interwoven through English history for nearly 1,000 years. The Tories stand for a small number of people’s direct interests. Amazingly, they are still a popular party even among those whom their policies threaten. Opinion polls and recent local elections project that they will command enough votes to win June’s General Election. But this is not the whole story. A grassroots resistance is growing.

The reality is that many people who are suffering, and will suffer, from Tory policies are still expected to still vote Conservative next week, just as they did in 2015 and 2010. Strong parallels can be drawn to Donald Trump’s base, where he found – and continues to find – support among those who will suffer most under his authoritarian version of cruel, hyper-capitalism.

2017 General Election, U.K. election, Conservative rule, Tories, U.K. austerity cuts, rising inequality

A narrow explanation for how Trump got to the White House – and how other far right ideologies like Brexit have become normalized – is the rise of populism. But look closer and something else is even clearer: billionaires, more than anyone, has encouraged the trend. As Occupy.com reported last month, an interconnected web of corporate interests is behind the rise of racism and climate denial that laid the ground for both Brexit and Trump.

These divide and rule tactics could enable the economic and political system to continue in a more authoritarian direction. But what is interesting, and hopeful, is it that another world remains possible. A glimpse of this hope lies in next week’s British election.

The election differs greatly, of course, from the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It is what could have been, had Bernie Sanders run against Trump. Comparing the policies of those opposing the U.K. Conservatives, it is arguable that these far surpass Bernie in terms of rebalancing society for the many, not the few.

The main U.K. opposition Labour Party released its manifesto last month. Highlights include rebalancing inequality by increasing taxes on those earning over £80,000 per year, and making corporations pay tax. In turn this money will be used to rebuild welfare, rescue the National Health Service, stop punitive cuts to benefits – including attacks on disabled people – and fund other socially progressive schemes.

Labour pledge to re-nationalize the railways, energy and Royal Mail. To solve the escalating housing crisis, they promise to build 100,000 council homes. Student fees at universities will be scrapped. On the environment, they will ban fracking and pledge to make Britain run on 60% renewables by 2030.

When it comes to foreign policy, Labour have avowed to stop the policy of shoot first and ask questions later. Instead they will halt arm sales to Saudi Arabia and shift Britain’s direction as a key player in the global war machine.

Of course, this would not be the final word on bringing about social justice. But as an opposition manifesto, it is almost unprecedented in modern British history. The corporate media has attacked the plan, comparing it to the tumultuous 1970s. But perhaps it is more like 1945, when Labour came to power and built the NHS.

Another interesting element is that the Scottish electorate has already been offered many of these commitments, and some are already in place. Through devolution, the Scottish National Party has enabled free education. Scotland leads the world in renewables. It has curbed the worst impositions of Tory cuts.

This is not to say Labour will win on June 8, although the SNP are likely to maintain an overwhelming majority in Scotland. Alongside the ever-growing Greens, these progressive parties are fighting against the entire establishment, backed by the billionaire press and its control of the media arsenal. But what is striking is the polarized nature of this election. The harsh reality of five more years of Tory governance versus a socially just political transformation is galvanizing grassroots engagement. From alternative media to roadblocks, and from tweets to rallies, people are mobilizing to change the outcome next week. We shall soon see how well their efforts pay off.

2017 General Election, U.K. election, Conservative rule, Tories, U.K. austerity cuts, rising inequality
2017 General Election, U.K. election, Conservative rule, Tories, U.K. austerity cuts, rising inequality
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“Kim-Jong-un’s older gay brother, Kim-Jong-chul, may be in danger” by Sounak Mukhopadhyay

February 17, 2017 (inquisitr.com)

North Korean President Kim Jong-un’s brother Kim Jong-nam was assassinated on February 13. He was waiting at the airport for a flight in Kuala Lumpur. He was supposed to head to Macau, where he was living all his life. While the autopsy results are still pending, it is suspected that Jong-nam was poisoned by two women who attacked him at the airport. People have started talking about the possibility of Jong-un being responsible for his brother’s death. Nevertheless, not everyone is aware that the North Korean president has another brother, Kim Jong-chul.

Kim Jong-chul was called a "sissy"
Kim Jong-un’s elder brother Jong-chul was never favored by his father. [Image by Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service/AP Images]

Neither Kim Jong-nam nor Kim Jong-chul attended the funeral of their father Kim Jong-il. According to ancient North Korean traditions, potential successors are brought up in separate locations. Reports suggest that these three never met one another. It is believed that they did not attend their father’s funeral for the same reason. President Kim Jong-un’s brothers, Jong-nam and Jong-chul, hardly made public appearances.

Kim Jong-chul As Potential Successor

Kim Jong-chul is Kim Jong-il’s second son. He was born from the North Korean leader’s second wife, Ko Yong-hee. Jong-nam is Jong-il’s first son. While it is common for the first son to become the successor by default, it is interesting how the leader’s youngest son Kim Jong-un became North Korea’s president.

Kim Jong-nam turned out to be too irresponsible to be the successor. When he was arrested at Narita Airport in Tokyo in 2001, he was carrying a false Dominican Republic passport for travel. It was that time when Jong-nam, who was once his father’s favorite son, fell out of favor. Jong-il had to choose between Jong-un, who was a vice chairman of the Workers Party’s Central Military Commission and a four-star general, and Jong-chul, who was more into music than politics.

Kim Jong-Chul (de broer van Kim Jong-Un) die dit weekend in Londen betrapt was schijnt nu dus vermist te zijn.

North Korea President Kim Jong-un’s elder brother Jong-chul was never favored by his father, who thought his second son was “too effeminate.” According to Cho Sun, the father often called Kim Jong-chul a “sissy,” who lacked ambition. Japanese sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto, who worked for Jong-il for more than a decade, wrote about the reason in his book.

“The older brother, Jong-chul, had the warm heart of a girl,” the Globe and Mail quoted Fujimoto as saying. “The younger prince, Jong-un, was a boy of inner strength.”

Kim Jong-chul’s Taste In Music

Jong-chul could have been North Korea’s president, but destiny had other choices for him. He is known to be a huge fan of English guitarist Eric Clapton. In May of 2015, he was spotted at Clapton’s concert in London. The BBC reported that Jong-chul was just like another fan, who was having a great time. Kim Jong-un’s brother was reportedly “singing along to all the words.” According to reports, he attended Clapton concerts in Singapore in 2011 and in Germany in 2006.

Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-nam was assassinated on February 13
Kim Jong-nam got a “direct warning” from the North soon after criticizing his brother. [Image by Shin In-seop/JoongAng Ilbo/AP Images]

Did North Korea President Kim Jong-un Kill His Brother?

Kim Jong-un is accused of using “brutal ways” when dealing with his rivals. He has already been accused of killing his uncle and his girlfriend, who was later found to be alive. Human Rights in North Korea suggested that the North Korean leader might be using anti-aircraft machine guns to execute people.

According to the Telegraph, Jong-nam got a “direct warning” from the North soon after he had criticized his brother to a Japanese journalist. Jong-nam called North Korea President Kim Jong-un a “joke to the outside world.”

Is Kim Jong-chul Safe?

Apparently, Kim Jong-chul has nothing to do with politics. Even though his elder brother Jong-nam was away from power since the very beginning, he did have his opinions. Jong-chul, on the contrary, seems happy in his private life. He seems harmless to the people of power.

Scott A. Snyder, however, raised questions about Jong-un’s intentions after Kim Jong-un’s brother did not make it to their father’s funeral.

“Kim Jong-chol’s absence is disturbing because it raises questions about how far Kim Jong-un might go to squelch even perceived contenders for power,” the director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) wrote.

[Featured Image by Shizuo Kambayashi, Wong Maye-E/File/AP Images]

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Liar Liar — U.K. General Election 2017


Protest at radio 1 HQ – 2nd June 4pm
Liar Liar Launch gig – 7th June – Tickets : https://www.fatsoma.com/mobile/produc…

NHS crisis, education crisis, u turns … you can’t trust Theresa May. Let’s get this into the top 40. Download now and force the BBC to play it on our airwaves. All proceeds from downloads of the track between 26th May and 8th June 2017 will be split between food banks around the UK and The People’s Assembly Against Austerity. Download from the following links: (Please note we previously released a version of Liar Liar in 2010 so don’t download the wrong one! Correct track is called ‘Liar Liar GE2017’)
ITunes: https://tinyurl.com/y86lhwwb

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071HTSVQH

Bandcamp: https://captainska.bandcamp.com/track…

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/23DVzn…

More links will be added as they become live.

press enquiries to captska@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/CaptainSKAUK/
https://www.Twitter.com/CaptainSKA
https://www.Captainska.com
http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/

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THE FLEA MARKET NEEDS YOU!

Dear Musician friends,

THE FLEA MARKET NEEDS YOU! As you may know, the Ashby Flea Market is opening up to a new generation of community and culture and independent businesses. We who love the market want to bring musical events to the market EVERY weekend. YOU ARE INVITED TO COME PLAY THE MARKET! (The drum circle folks said its okay for there to be even more music!)

Call and let us know if you or someone else would like a gig. Our goal is to make the market space available for community, music and culture
Contact us at 510 644-0744

Together we can grow the market!!!
Grow the resistance!!!

–Mike Zint

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“It Gets Even Better – What They Aren’t Telling You About Single Payer Legislation” by JP Massar

Medical bill from the hospital, concept of rising medical cost, selective focus. All data on the bill and form design are fictional, created specially for this concept.

May 30, 2017 (dailykos.com)

Universal healthcare legislation such as HR 676 and California’s SB 562 offers so many great results. No premiums, co-payments or fees; essentially all medical conditions covered, and an underlying principle that every resident is entitled to health care.

But it’s even better than that!

One result of universal healthcare is a well-kept secret: it’s not in the language of either bill, not even tucked away in fine print; it’s rarely if ever discussed by pundits; and it’s hardly mentioned by the promoters of single-payer, Medicare for All, and/or other universal healthcare schemes.

What aren’t they trumpeting?

THERE WOULD BE NO MORE MEDICAL DEBT.

…when a medical procedure costs more than your house is worth, the idea of being able to pay it back is laughable. And by laughable, I mean it will crush your spirit.

www.vox.com/…

NO BANKRUPTCIES DUE TO THE COSTS OF TREATMENT.

NO BILLS TO PAY, SO NO MORE MEDICAL DEBT COLLECTION AGENCIES.

NO MORE PARENTS COPING WITH TRAGEDY AND AT THE SAME TIME BECOMING IMPOVERISHED BECAUSE THEY WEREN’T ABLE TO AFFORD THE LITERALLY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OUR SYSTEM CHARGES FOR A BIRTH CONDITION.

What about…

  • Anxiety about a future potentially financially ruinous medical event?
  • Collection agencies taking over and harassing sick and grieving people because hospitals and other medical service providers have sold debts to the piranhas?
  • People putting up GOFUNDME’s for their friends’ medical expenses, as Carlos Espinoza just did for Micah Fletcher, the man who was stabbed but not killed by the white supremacist in Portland, Oregon?

Our friend was stabbed and critically injured while being a good Samaritan and heroically intervening during the racist terrorist incident that left 2 men dead.

He bravely did what anyone should do when confronted with terrorism and stepped in to stop the harassment of Muslim women by a known White Supremacist.

I am starting this GoFundMe to cover his hospital and recovery expenses. Please help as much as you can. 

Gone. Gone. Gone..

Medical debt is the most pernicious debt of all. You can make a not-very-compassionate case that if you sign mortgage papers or take out education loan, you are making a choice. A choice fraught with pressure and often unfairly structured to cheat you at the benefit of the super-rich, but a choice. However, no one but a Republican could look you in the eye and tell you that taking yourself or someone you love to the hospital TO SAVE A LIFE is a choice.

What about the poor debt collectors? Will we have to shed tears (or pay unemployment benefits) when they lose their jobs? Not a chance. First, they won’t have to worry about not being able to pay for healthcare while unemployed! And they can likely get work in the booming business of student debt collection. (Shhh… Don’t tell them we’re gunning to get rid of student debt next…)

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This nice person wouldn’t be able to earn money posing in ads like this anymore…

If the only thing a universal health care system did was abolish medical debt from the equation of our lives it would be worth it, even at the extraordinary costs of American health care today. But in the long run universal care costs less and is better for society than what we have now, or (shudder) what the Republicans want us to have. That’s true WITHOUT even paying attention to the elimination of medical debt as a net positive for society. Add that in and you have…

Win, win, win, win, win.  Only Paul Ryan and his sick dreams lose.

—-—

Co-authored by Kossack kith, a member along with jpmassar of Strike Debt Bay Area, fighting against unjust debt and its societal implications.  In 2012 Strike Debt created the Rolling Jubilee, which abolished $32M in medical debt by leveraging $700K to purchase debt given to collection agencies on the financial markets and, in essence, burning it.

Strike Debt Bay Area is a Community coalition partner in the fight for SB 562, Universal Health Care for California.

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OCCUPY SAN FRANCISCO’S SKUD – WHY PEOPLE DONT KNOW THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS (by Carol Harvey)


Published on Mar 15, 2012
In coordination with Occupy Wall Street West, the Occupy San Francisco Housing Coalition participated in the January 20, 2012 shutdown of the SF Financial District with a series of actions, this one outside Fortress, Inc, a One Percent hedge fund Corporation where housing activists presented Demands that Fortress stop evictions and demolition of 1,500 units of affordable housing at Park Merced rent-controlled apartments.

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