Historian’s Advice to Davos Elite Worried About Pitchforks: ‘Stop Talking About Philanthropy’ and Start Paying Higher Taxes

January 29, 2019 by Common Dreams

“I mean we can talk for a very long time about all these stupid philanthropy schemes… But we’ve got to be talking about taxes. That’s it. Taxes, taxes, taxes. All the rest is bullshit in my opinion.”

by Jon Queally, staff writer

Dutch historian and author Rutger Bregman told those gathered at last week's Davos summit his advice was this: "Just stop talking about philanthropy, and start talking about taxes." (Image: Time/WEF)

Dutch historian and author Rutger Bregman told those gathered at last week’s Davos summit his advice was this: “Just stop talking about philanthropy, and start talking about taxes.” (Image: Time/WEF)

While the private jets have mostly left the airport outside of Davos, Switzerland following the conclusion of this year’s World Economic Forum, a little noticed exchange that took place during the annual gathering has picked up steam in recent days showing what it looks like when some of the world’s richest people are confronted by someone willing to call literal “bullshit” on the we-can-save-the-world-with-charity mantra that dominates among the global elite.

“I mean we can talk for a very long time about all these stupid philanthropy schemes. We can invite Bono once more. But, come on, we’ve got to be talking about taxes. That’s it. Taxes, taxes, taxes. All the rest is bullshit in my opinion.” 
—historian Rutger Bregman

If the world’s richest and most powerful are worried about a so-called popular “backlash” in response to the global economic system they defend—and largely control—Rutger Berman, a Dutch historian and author of the book Utopia for Realists, during a panel last week titled “The Cost of Inequality,” said the pathway is not complicated. “The answer,” he said, “is very simple: Just stop talking about philanthropy, and start talking about taxes.”

“I mean we can talk for a very long time about all these stupid philanthropy schemes,” Bregman added. “We can invite [U2 frontman] Bono once more. But, come on, we’ve got to be talking about taxes. That’s it. Taxes, taxes, taxes. All the rest is bullshit in my opinion.”

Watch the following clip put out by Now This:

Also on the Davos panel with Bregman was Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. Just last week, as the WEF summit was just opening, Oxfam released a report on global inequality showing that just 26 billionaires now own as much wealth as the world’s 3.8 poorest billion people.

“We have a tax system that leaks so much, that allows $170 billion of money every year to be taken to tax havens and to be denied the developing countries that need that money most,” said Byanyima during the panel. “So we have to look at the business model, and we have to look at the role of governments to tax and plow back money into people’s lives.”

As the video clip began to go viral in the wake of the Davos’ gathering, the media team for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—who has continued to put global inequality and the idea of a “rigged” economy at the heart of his political message—snagged the central claims of Bregman’s remarks and on Tuesday put out this version:

“We have a rigged tax code that has essentially legalized tax-dodging for large corporations and the world’s wealthiest individuals,” said Sanders. “It is time to end these egregious loopholes and make the wealthy pay their fair share.”

Watch the full “Cost of Inequality” panel discussion:This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

PG&E bankruptcy: Utility seeks to pay $130 million in bonuses, void green energy contracts

Karl Mondon/Bay Area News GroupA PG&E transmission line in a burned-out forest in Butte County. Tucked inside PG&E’s mammoth bankruptcy filing was a company request that the judge in the case approve payment of $130 million in cash incentives to thousands of PG&E employees, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records made public on Tuesday.

By GEORGE AVALOS | gavalos@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group (mercurynews.com)

PUBLISHED: January 29, 2019 at 10:15 am | UPDATED: January 30, 2019 at 4:43 am

Tucked inside PG&E’s mammoth bankruptcy filing is a company request that the judge in the case approve payment of $130 million in cash incentive bonuses to thousands of PG&E employees, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records made public on Tuesday.

The San Francisco-based utility launched a full-scale quest in the bankruptcy court to assure that the company can continue with the short-term incentive programs for 14,000 employees.

“PG&E believes the short-term incentive program awards incentivize strong employee performance and are critical to ensuring that employees stay motivated and reach higher performance standards,” PG&E stated in its request.

The short-term incentive awards are due to be paid out in March for the performance of the workers during 2018, the court documents show.

Word of PG&E’s bonuses request jolted some of the company’s critics.

“PG&E says it’s too poor to pay fire victims but has enough money to pay $130 million in bonuses,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Action, a frequent harsh critic of PG&E and the state Public Utilities Commission. “A company that does that is unworthy of the support of Gov. (Gavin) Newsom, the Legislature and the PUC.”

Sen. Jerry Hill questioned whether PG&E should be handing out bonuses.

“It’s shameful that PG&E would ask for this and it would be shameful if the court approves this,” said Hill, who represents parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties including San Bruno, the site of a fatal gas explosion in 2010 caused by PG&E.

Investigators are still working to determine whether PG&E’s equipment may have sparked November’s calamitous Camp Fire, after the utility reported problems with a transmission line near what was believed to be the origin of the blaze.

On top of this, just days before filing for bankruptcy, PG&E reneged on a $1.2 million settlement with victims of a 2015 fire in Butte County, telling a court that it needed to conserve its cash before filing for Chapter 11.

“They can give out $130 million but can’t pay fire victims,” Hill said. “This is an affront and an abuse of our system if these bonuses are approved.”

Mark Toney, executive director of The Utility Reform Network, a consumer group, pointed out that rank-and-file workers at PG&E are attempting to undertake work in a proper and motivated fashion. Toney, instead, blames PG&E management for PG&E’s woes starting with the San Bruno explosion and extending to the lethal infernos of 2017 and 2018.

“This is completely outrageous,” Toney said. “It is management that has doctored records and falsified reports. It is management that is responsible for the fires. It is PG&E’s management that needs to be fired for its negligence, mismanagement and running PG&E into the ground.”

The company said that no top-level executives would be receiving the bonuses referenced in the filing, although some managers would be receiving the bonuses.

PG&E also has requested that the bankruptcy court block an attempt by federal regulators to oblige the embattled utility to keep buying wholesale power from two green energy companies, NextEra Energy and Exelon.

NextEra and Exelon, just ahead of PG&E’s bankruptcy on Tuesday, won an order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that even if PG&E filed to reorganize its finances under Chapter 11, the company should be forced to continue with the wholesale power payments. PG&E wants the bankruptcy court to block the FERC order.

Democracy at Work: Richard Wolff Schools Jordan Peterson on Marx

Start at 16:30 minutes in.
the new symbolization
Published on Dec 23, 2018 Half hour abridged version here: https://youtu.be/DzmtZYEbd0M A very serious response to many of the commenters below… https://youtu.be/KCcpt76IEz4 Jordan Peterson said that the reason he cancelled on the scheduled debate with Douglas Lain of Zero Books was because ZB isn’t popular enough. This does not explain why he went on the Rogan podcast weeks later to say Marxists won’t debate him. So we scheduled a popular Marxist economist to debate Peterson, or speak in lieue of a debate. Dr. Richard Wolff came /at cost/, whereas Peterson said he would not debate Wolff for less than $50,000… obviously we, a student club, don’t have that kind of money, so Wolff ended up speaking to us on his own. Wolff gave a crash course on what every responsible citizen, Peterson included, should know about capitalism, as shown by one of its most insightful critics. Don’t forget to like, follow, and subscribe! https://www.facebook.com/NSPboisehttps://twitter.com/NSPboisehttps://new-symbolization.org/ Opening remarks by @theorypleeb, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. for more related content.

Articles ~ Actions ~ Kevin Cooper on 48 Hours ~ Announcements, Mon.1/28 – Wed. 1/30 (from Adrienne Fong)

Periodic Announcements

Thank you to all who came out Saturday, to resist the message of the “The Walk for Life”

Please encourage groups you are involved in to post events on Indybay: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/?page_id=12

Thank you to those who are posting there!

  Check Indybay for other events that might interest you.

ACCESSIBILITY: Please include Accessibility Information on events! This is a JUSTICE  ISSUE!  

CHILDCARE Please indicate for events. This is a JUSTICE ISSUE!

ARTICLES:

A.  Philippines cathedral bombing sparks peace process worries  – January 28, 2019
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/philippines-cathedral-bombing-sparks-peace-process-worries-11175068

B.  France’s Yellow Vest protesters hit the streets again – January 26, 2019

https://www.france24.com/en/20190126-france-yellow-vest-protester-paris-macron-red-scarves

C. War Against Iran Becoming Ever More Likely – January 25, 2019

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/01/25/war-against-iran-becoming-ever-more-likely

D.  Immigration, civil liberties advocates reject Democrats’ plan to offer Trump “smart wall” – Jan. 25

https://www.salon.com/2019/01/25/immigration-civil-liberties-advocates-reject-democrats-plan-to-offer-trump-smart-wall/

E.  Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner Fights New Mumia Abu-Jamal Appeal – January 25, 2019

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Philadelphia-District-Attorney-Larry-Krasner-Fights-New-Mumia-Abu-Jamal-Appeal-504881631.html?fbclid=IwAR2Ns9p3NSXuyo2hZo0Bvx5i5Y2ezX865d4AC5bC-uDT7Qs9Pp6QJtDjbVo

F.  While Trump deports Southeast Asian refugees en masse, the mainstream media stays silent – January 24, 2019

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/1/24/1827078/-While-Trump-deports-Southeast-Asian-refugees-en-masse-the-mainstream-media-stays-silent?detail=emaildksp

4 – ACTIONS:

1. Stand up for low-wage contractors who went unpaid during Trump’s shutdown

  SIGN: https://act.credoaction.com/sign/contractors-shutdown?t=2&akid=31362%2E21110%2EFkMLlC

During the shutdown, Congress approved back pay for around 800,000 federal workers, but they left out federal contractors, who often work in low-wage jobs as security guards, cafeteria workers and janitors.

2.  End the Muslim Ban

  SIGN: https://www.niacaction.org/repeal-the-muslim-ban/

3. Repeal the giveaway of a sacred Native American site to a foreign mining company

  SIGN: https://act.credoaction.com/sign/oak_flat_2019?t=2&akid=31365%2E21110%2EKGKP8D

4. Keep our neighborhood public schools open!

  SIGN: https://www.change.org/p/keeppublicschoolsopen-gmail-com-keep-our-neighborhood-public-schools-open-f805c663-e4b0-49d6-8837-bc1863c4a0ee?recruiter=926411481&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition  

   See announcement # 3

~    ~   ~    ~    ~    ~

In case you missed this on Saturday:

Kevin Cooper has been on death row for nearly 20 years at San Quentin. His case was investigated by CBS 48 Hours.

Was Kevin Cooper Framed? Part 1

https://www.cbs.com/shows/48_hours/video/MDMtOSh7V3OPNZ_rgbUEVTXKnLi0hcPt/was-kevin-cooper-framed-part-1/

Part 2

https://www.cbs.com/shows/48_hours/video/DHnGeVouInUXwZiRykZpviEP4sxMLItt/was-kevin-cooper-framed-part-2/

CANCELLED

Tuesday, 12Noon – 1:00pm, Day of Action: Shut Down the Wall, Open the Government – CANCELLED

McKesson Plaza

1 Post St. (Montgomery @ Market St.)

Above the Montgomery BART/MUNI station

SF

The SOTU was scheduled for Tuesday, January 29th. There has been a call for a nationwide day of action to include sick outs, pickets, strikes, Congressional office sit-ins, and rallies. 



On Tuesday, January 29, we will stand together with federal workers, immigrant communities, and all of those who are impacted by this shutdown. 

We reject the hateful rhetoric of the wall and the humanitarian crisis Trump has created at the border. Congress must immediately open the government, pay workers and contractors what they are owed, and the United States must immediately let those seeking asylum in!

Sponsor: Resistance SF

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1861713767291378/

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Monday, 1/28 – Wednesday, 1/30

Monday, January 28

1. Monday, 2:00pm – 3:30pm, CPUC Emergency Hearing

CPUC Auditorium

505 Van Ness Ave.

SF

2:00pm – Peoples Press Conference – steps of CPUC

Say NO to the CPUC! The California Public Utilities Commission has scheduled a surprise emergency hearing to allow PG&E to pursue debtor-in-possession financing.

Speak against giving PG&E a $6 billion bailout and allowing it to duck its debts from last year’s Camp Fire. 

The first item is to determine an emergency situation under which the normal 10-day agenda notice can be waived according to Gov’t Code 11125.5(b). The second and third items grant exemptions from PUC Code sections to allow PG&E to do this.

Sponsors: Democratic Socialist of America  –  SF & EB

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/761700027519095/

2. Monday, 4:00pm – 11:00pm, Protect People’s Park Nonviolent Solidarity Action

Peoples Park – Berkeley

2556 Haste St.

Berkeley

a solidarity action at People’s Park. We do not want UC Berkeley to build on this land. We can stand together and let people know that we are here to support!

See site for details.

Sponsors: Shift Communication & Consciousness and Priorities

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/512091029197836/

3. Monday, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, Stop Oakland Unified School District from voting to close “Roots” Middle School

La Escuelita

1050 2nd Ave.

Oakland

The Oakland School Board has just scheduled a special meeting (less than 72 hours notice) for 6pm on Monday with only one item on the agenda, a final vote in the closure of ROOTS Middle School. The school board can not be allowed to displace our students and families from their neighborhood school. We are asking everyone to help, even if you don’t live in Oakland. 

1. Please email the Oakland School Board and ask them to keep ROOTS open and demand that any “redesign” of the school can not displace any of the current students. 
Aimee.eng [at] ousd.org 
Jody.london [at] ousd.org 
Jumoke.hintonhodge [at] ousd.org 
Gary.yee [at] ousd.org 
Shanthi.gonzales [at] ousd.org 
Roseann.torres [at] ousd.org 
James.harris [at] ousd.org  

Community petition. We want people outside of Oakland to also sign. There are already over 2700 signatures and we want to show maximum support when it’s submitted to the school board on Monday. 
https://www.change.org/p/keeppublicschoolsopen-gmail-com-keep-our-neighborhood-public-schools-open-f805c663-e4b0-49d6-8837-bc1863c4a0ee?recruiter=926411481&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/27/18820862.php

Tuesday, January 29

4. Tuesday, 4:00pm – 6:00pm, Defend Public Education Rally

SF City Hall

1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Place

SF

A coalition of educators, students, and parents across the state and country are standing up and fighting back against the endless attacks on public education. In California, the richest state in the nation, we are seeing a historic swell of support demanding a reinvestment back into our schools and communities at the state and local level.

Join us for a rally as we stand in solidarity with educators across the state and call on our elected officials in San Francisco to uphold the commitment made by SF voters who overwhelmingly passed Prop G. The time is now to invest in our students, educators, and schools.

Sponsor: United Educators of SF

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/2008726509244990/?active_tab=about

5. Tuesday, 4:00pm – 6:00pm, School’s Out! Information & Action Session

East Side Arts Alliance

2277 International Blvd.

Oakland

Childcare and Snacks will be provided.

An information session and action brainstorm for community organizations and allies of Oakland teachers about the potential Oakland teachers’ strike!

Support the potential strike! Come learn more about the struggle of Oakland teachers for smaller class sizes, manageable special education case loads, and higher pay!

We are calling on allies to study up on this fight and bring inspiration back to your organizations for ACTIONS supporting the potential Oakland teachers’ strike!

Sponsor: Oakland Education Association

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/390628675078203/

6. Tuesday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Trump/Pence Must Go! Organizing Meeting

Sports Basement – San Francisco

1590 Bryant St.

SF

Join the movement to STOP the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime & drive it from power, through SUSTAINED, Non violent, MASS protests in the streets.

Sponsor: Refuse Fascism Bay Area

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/338163970120914/

7. Tuesday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Sunrise January General Meeting

Sierra Club

2101 Webster

Oakland

Sunrise is building an army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.

We are redefining the conversation on climate change nationally, and if we are going to succeed in creating the changes that are needed and securing a Green New Deal, we will need everyone involved. Including you.

Join us for the January monthly meeting to plan for our next steps in the new year. 

Everyone is invited-

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1149916398506985/

8. Tuesday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Reform or Revolution

Revolution Books – Berkeley

2444 Durant Ave.

Berkeley

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/19/18820481.php

9. Tuesday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Forum: Resisting the US Backed Coup Attempt in Venezuela

ANSWER

2969 Mission St.

SF

Join us for a forum to learn the facts about Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, the U.S. attempts at overthrowing the democratically elected government of Nicolás Maduro and what we can do to fight back.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/338507366999108/

Wednesday, January

10. Wednesday, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, Boycott Manny’s and its “Woke-Washing” of the Mission

Manny’s

16th & Valencia St.

SF

STOP THE WOKE-WASHING OF THE MISSION 

We are a group of black and brown folks, Jews, Mission Housing tenants, trans and queer people, and many others, who are committed to collective liberation. We are 
calling for a community boycott of Manny’s (3092 16th at Valencia, SF) because this new upscale wine bar is yet another gentrifying attack on our community. While Manny’s bills itself as a “community space”, it’s marketed toward white ruling class techies, and its programming often features right-wing politicians who are supported by the luxury condo industry. While Manny’s is on the ground floor of a low-income building run by Mission Housing, its residents had no say in its placement. While countless Latinx cultural spaces are evicted from the Mission, Sam Moss who runs Mission Housing, gave Manny’s a reduced rent. 

The owner of Manny’s has worked with Bay Area Zionist organizations. Zionism is a racist ideology that believes Palestinian people have no claim to their land. Zionists, through the state of Israel, enforce this ideology by murdering, arresting, torturing, and displacing generations of Palestinian people. We stand against Zionism, gentrification, anti-Semitism, and all other forms of oppression. 

Manny’s is part of a systematic attempt to make gentrification and racism seem “cool” through woke-washing. Woke-washing is the strategy of putting a “social justice” façade on oppressive politics. 

JOIN US EVERY WEDNESDAY 6:30PM 

Endorsed by 
Black and Brown for Peace Justice and Equality; 
The Lucy Parsons Project; 
Palestinian Youth Movement – Bay Area; 
Brown Beret National Organization; 
National Brown Berets; 
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network; 
Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism; 
Jews Against Zionism; 
GAY SHAME: A Virus in the System 

Please honor this Boycott!

“It Can’t Be Warren and It Can’t Be Sanders”: Wall Street Executives Make 2020 Preferences Known

January 28, 2019 by Common Dreams

“Wall Street likes Biden, Booker, Harris, Gillibrand, and Beto. Guess who they hate? Sanders and Warren. All the rest is commentary.”

by Jake Johnson, staff writer

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) greet one another on stage at a rally in Boston in April, 2017. (Photo: Steven Senne/AP)

The first 2020 Democratic presidential primary is still over a year away, but Wall Street executives are reportedly already freaking out about two likely progressive candidates: Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“It can’t be Warren and it can’t be Sanders,” the CEO of a “giant bank” anonymously told Politico, which reported on Monday that Wall Street executives are “getting panicked” about the presidential prospects of the Senate’s two fiercest financial sector critics.

“The best indication of who you should vote for in the Democratic primary if you actually want progressive policy is who Wall Street doesn’t like, which essentially means Bernie or Warren.” 
—Josh Mound, journalist

Warren launched an exploratory committee for president last month, vowing to take on the “corruption” that is “poisoning our democracy.” Sanders, for his part, has yet to publicly announce a bid for the White House—but Yahoo News reportedon Friday that the Vermont senator plans to launch his campaign “imminently.”

Both progressive senators have placed scrutiny of Wall Street’s size, record of large-scale fraud, exorbitant CEO pay packages, enormous political influence, and lack of stringent regulations at the center of their political agendas for years, and deep-pocketed bankers who have profited immensely from President Donald Trump’s tenure are worried that one of the two could ascend to the White House and threaten their pocketbooks.

“Bankers’ biggest fear,” Politico reported, is that the 2020 Democratic presidential “nomination goes to an anti-Wall Street crusader” like Warren or Sanders.

“The result is a kind of nervous paralysis of executives pining for a centrist nominee like Michael Bloomberg,” Politico noted, referring to the billionaire former New York City mayor, who is reportedly considering a self-funded presidential bid

According to Politico, Wall Street executives who want Trump out of the White House mentioned “a consistent roster of appealing nominees” they would find acceptable outside of Bloomberg, who the outlet describes as Wall Street’s “platonic ideal.”

This “roster” reportedly included Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), and Kamala Harris (Calif.); former Vice President Joe Biden; and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas).

As CNBC reported earlier this month, Harris, Booker, and Gillibrand have all reached out to Wall Street to gauge support for 2020 campaigns. Harris announced that she is running for president last week, and Gillibrand launched an exploratory committee for president earlier this month.

One executive—who Politico described as a hedge fund manager and a top Democratic donor—declared, “If it’s Biden and Beto or Biden and Harris, that might make a difference. The good news for Biden is everyone likes him. The bad news is there is not a lot of passion.”

Progressives were quick to argue on Twitter that Wall Street’s fear of a possible Sanders or Warren presidency constitutes a powerful endorsement of both candidates.

By coming out so strongly against the progressive senators, argued The Daily Beast‘s Gideon Resnick, Wall Street is “literally giving them a campaign slogan.”

In response to Wall Street’s largely anonymous attacks on Sanders and Warren, People for Bernie tweeted, “We bathe in your tears.”

“The best indication of who you should vote for in the Democratic Primary if you actually want progressive policy is who Wall Street doesn’t like, which essentially means Bernie or Warren,” concluded journalist Josh Mound.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Wall Street wary of progressive Democrats on the House finance committee

20/01/2019 – 02:26 (France24.com)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest member of Congress, a Democratic Socialist, and a master of social media
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest member of Congress, a Democratic Socialist, and a master of social media Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest member of Congress, a Democratic Socialist, and a master of social media AFP/File

Washington (AFP)

Wall Street is bunkering down for a wave of intense scrutiny as a group of progressive Democrats, including social media star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have joined a powerful House of Representatives committee overseeing banking activities.

“It’s a huge victory,” said Ocasio-Cortez, at 29 the youngest member of Congress and a self-described socialist — a word that shocks conservatives, who brandish it as a dire threat.

“I cannot stress how important this moment is. Dems are putting members who rejected corporate campaign money on a committee overseeing Wall St.,” she tweeted.

Ocasio-Cortez, often referred to by her initials AOC, will bring public attention to the ordinarily drab committee via her strong social media presence that includes 2.5 million followers on Twitter.

Wall Street is trying to figure out the goals of the Democrats, now in charge of the House of Representatives after eight years of control by President Donald Trump’s Republicans.

While the Senate remains in Republican hands and ready to block dramatic changes, Democratic control of the House promises at least to make life difficult for bankers, with tighter industry oversight and lengthy public hearings.

The symbolism is already striking.

The panel is headed by Maxine Waters, 80, a regular target of Trump’s barbs who is the first woman and the first African American to head the committee.

Waters has warned the financial sector that the days of banking deregulation and lax oversight are over.

– ‘Wall Street running amok’ –

In her first speech as committee chairwoman on January 16 she said the 2008 financial crisis “was a result of Wall Street running amok, with abusive institutions peddling toxic products… with no agency responsible for prioritizing consumer protection.

“Ultimately, the economy was sent tumbling into the abyss,” she said.

“Our fear,” a banking source told AFP, “is that she (Waters) will reinforce oversight of big banks.”

The source expects to see “more CEO hearings in Congress” with the Democrats in charge.

Half of the new committee members belong to the Progressive Caucus, the left wing of the Democratic party.

Several made a splash when they ran for office in the November 2018 election.

They include Ayanna Pressley, the first African American congresswoman from Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian American and one of the two first female Muslim lawmakers in Washington.

– Tighter banking oversight –

The newcomers favor tighter banking oversight, but also promise to fight for easier access to credit, more industry diversity, and against housing discrimination.

“I’m looking forward to digging into the student loan crisis, examining for-profit prisons/ICE detention, and exploring the development of public & postal banking. To start,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

“Public banking” are two words that send shivers down the spine of Wall Street.

Nevertheless, “Cortez won’t set the agenda of the committee, Chairwoman Walters will,” a second banking source said.

“We have a lot of differences with her (Waters) but she’s been in that committee for 30 years. We know her, she knows us,” the source said. “There are bipartisan issues we can work on.”

The alliance of progressive Democrats extends into the Senate, where they can count on support from Elizabeth Warren, who has announced her interest in running for president in 2020.

Even though she is confined to the opposition, the 69 year-old senator can make bankers and government officials squirm with tough questions from her perch on the Senate finance committee.

“With Republicans in control of the Senate, Waters’ best hope for the next two years is to keep financial issues in the limelight in the hope they influence the election next year,” wrote FTN analyst Chris Low.

Having Ocasio-Cortez on the committee “will bolster that goal,” he said.

© 2019 AFP

My Message to Davos Elites: Act As If Our House Is on Fire. Because It Is.

January 25, 2019 by Common Dreams

“Either we choose to go on as a civilization or we don’t. That is as black or white as it gets. There are no grey areas when it comes to survival.”

by Greta Thunberg

“Our house is on fire,” said the Swedish student activist who has galvanized 100,000 fellow teens around the world to follow her example in striking for the climate. “At Davos, people like to talk about success, but financial success has come with a price tag, and on the climate we have failed. And unless we recognize the failures of our system, there will be unspoken suffering.” (Image: World Economic Forum)

The following is a slightly edited version of remarks delivered by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg to attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Friday, January 25, 2018.

Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire.

According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. In that time, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society need to have taken place, including a reduction of our CO2 emissions by at least 50%.

“Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this.”

And please note that those numbers do not include the aspect of equity, which is absolutely necessary to make the Paris agreement work on a global scale. Nor does it include tipping points or feedback loops like the extremely powerful methane gas released from the thawing Arctic permafrost.

At places like Davos, people like to tell success stories. But their financial success has come with an unthinkable price tag. And on climate change, we have to acknowledge we have failed. All political movements in their present form have done so, and the media has failed to create broad public awareness.

But Homo sapiens have not yet failed.

Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this. We still have everything in our own hands. But unless we recognize the overall failures of our current systems, we most probably don’t stand a chance.

We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.

Solving the climate crisis is the greatest and most complex challenge that Homo sapiens have ever faced. The main solution, however, is so simple that even a small child can understand it. We have to stop our emissions of greenhouse gases.

“We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.”

Either we do that or we don’t.

You say nothing in life is black or white. But that is a lie. A very dangerous lie. Either we prevent 1.5C of warming or we don’t. Either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction beyond human control or we don’t.

Either we choose to go on as a civilization or we don’t. That is as black or white as it gets. There are no grey areas when it comes to survival.

We all have a choice. We can create transformational action that will safeguard the living conditions for future generations. Or we can continue with our business as usual and fail.

That is up to you and me.

Some say we should not engage in activism. Instead we should leave everything to our politicians and just vote for a change instead. But what do we do when there is no political will? What do we do when the politics needed are nowhere in sight?

“Adults keep saying: ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope.’ But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”

Here in Davos—just like everywhere else —everyone is talking about money. It seems money and growth are our only main concerns.

And since the climate crisis has never once been treated as a crisis, people are simply not aware of the full consequences on our everyday life. People are not aware that there is such a thing as a carbon budget, and just how incredibly small that remaining carbon budget is. That needs to change today.

No other current challenge can match the importance of establishing a wide, public awareness and understanding of our rapidly disappearing carbon budget, that should and must become our new global currency and the very heart of our future and present economics.

We are at a time in history where everyone with any insight of the climate crisis that threatens our civilization—and the entire biosphere—must speak out in clear language, no matter how uncomfortable and unprofitable that may be.

We must change almost everything in our current societies. The bigger your carbon footprint, the bigger your moral duty. The bigger your platform, the bigger your responsibility.

Adults keep saying: “We owe it to the young people to give them hope.” But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.

I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Eyewitness to Auto-Protester Clash

Hank Chapot, January 24, 2019 – (Berkeleyside.com)

I was one car back from the light at Telegraph and Durant and saw this incident. The driver tried to run through the protest and was stopped by angry pedestrians. He lost his way and tried to escape the wrong way down Durant and then ran up on the sidewalk, scattering pedestrians as he gunned the engine.

Note from Mike Zint:

The hit and run details are coming to light. Eyewitnesses say the driver ran into the protesters. The protesters did not instigate any of this.