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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

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Poder a la gente!! ...... Getting Greek in Madrid

from Democracy Now!:

Pt. I

Pt. II


AMY GOODMAN: Joining us from Madrid is Democracy Now! correspondent and independent journalist Maria Carrion, who has been at the protest all day yesterday.

Maria, welcome to Democracy Now!

MARIA CARRION: Thank you, Amy. Good to be with you.

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us what’s happening.

MARIA CARRION: Well, as you, as your viewers and listeners have been able to see, it’s a very serious situation here in Spain. This is just the latest of many, many protests that we have been having here in Spain, in the last year, especially, and there will be many more coming. People have lost faith in government. People have lost faith in the main institutions. And we are facing 27 billion euros in social spending cuts. Every week, the government unveils a series of new measures that affect primarily education and health and salaries and the welfare of Spanish people. And as we saw at the top of the hour, Greece is really an example of what’s coming our way, and that’s why I think people are so enraged and so worried, because they see that none of the measures imposed on Greece on in Portugal or in Ireland are having any sort of effect on the economy, on people’s welfare, on employment. And so, I think people are saying we do not want to head in that same direction.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Maria Carrion, you’ve spoken also about some of the effects on people already with the austerity measures in place, quite apart from what might happen tomorrow. Can you talk in particular about housing and food? ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/26/thousands_surround_spanish_parliament_in_bid

Guardian UK: The Spanish public won't accept a financial coup d'etat

The Spanish public won't accept a financial coup d'etat
Spain's government is right to fear the public reaction to this new round of suffering mandated by the financial markets

Katharine Ainger
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 25 September 2012

The attempt by the Spanish "Occupy" movement, the indignados, to surround the Congress in Madrid has been compared by the secretary general of the ruling rightwing People's party (PP) to an attempted coup.

Spanish democracy may indeed be in peril, but the danger is not in the streets. According to the Financial Times, the EU has been in secret talks with the economy minister Luis de Guindos to implement further austerity measures in advance of Spain requesting a full bailout. On Thursday the government will announce structural reforms and additional spending reductions, on top of the already huge cutbacks in health and education.

Pre-empting the bailout conditions means the government is able to retain the illusion of sovereignty.

In reality, Spain is on the brink of insolvency and under huge pressure to accept a rescue package. In return, the eurozone's fourth largest economy will have to surrender sovereign and financial control to the IMF, the European commission, and the European Central Bank. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/25/spain-public-financial-coup

‘Going Nuclear’ on Class

from In These Times:

‘Going Nuclear’ on Class
The Democrats’ working-class disconnect.

BY David Moberg

As the closely contested presidential race enters the home stretch, both campaigns are trying to sway the few undecided voters and boost key, if uncertain, bases of support: white retirees or working class men for Mitt Romney, women and better-educated voters for Barack Obama.

The contest may hinge on the success of such narrow appeals, but, jousting aside, the core issues at stake in this election involve questions of class. Driven for decades by rich donors, big corporations and “movement conservatives” (like the Tea Partiers), the Republican Party has increasingly committed itself to an extreme anti-government, raw capitalist ideology. In reaction against Obama’s moderate liberalism—a return to pre-Bush tax rates for the rich and modest regulations of an out-of-control financial sector—Republicans want to consolidate the power of rich individuals and corporations while escalating the redistribution of wealth from the 99% to the 1%.

All elections revolve around class interests, but some—like Franklin Roosevelt’s Depression-era victories—do so more than others. In contrast, in the 1950s and 1960s, many big corporations and the mainstream of the Republican Party (but not Goldwater) grudgingly acquiesced to the New Deal legacy, making the elections less about class than about the Cold War, race and how much to expand the New Deal.

By the early 1970s, corporations—complemented by rich right-wing ideologues—began to organize in a more class-conscious way against the threat to their profits posed by unions and the movements of the ’60s. They built think tanks, lobbying operations and media organizations to advance both short-term policy goals and, in the long run, to politically “roll back the 20th century,” in the words of journalist William Greider. The conservative movement focused on the Republicans, but corporations and their PACs donated as well to Democrats, buying access and ultimately influencing policy. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/13827/going_nuclear_on_class

Sheila Bair rips Timmy Geithner

from Business Insider:

Former FDIC chairman Sheila Bair has a new book out slamming Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his handling of the bank bailouts during the financial crisis.

Bair went on CNBC's Power Lunch today to discuss her book "Bull by the Horns" in which she dubs Geithner "the bailouter in chief" during the crisis.

Here are some key points from her appearance:

* "I think (Geithner) viewed the problems through the prism of the large financial institutions, particularly Citigroup, and his worldview was if you help them out of their troubles you're going to help out the economy. I wanted to impose some market accountability. I wanted bondholders to take losses, I wanted those who had lent money to these institutions, the investors, to share more of the pain and share more of the risk. I think it was just a constant conflict throughout…There was just a philosophic disagreement throughout my tenure."


* "We didn't help homeowners, we didn't tackle the way we should have, we didn't clean up the bank balance sheets. It continues to be a drag on the economy and there remains horrible public cynicism and anger towards Washington and toward large financial institution. There's this perception that the game is rigged, everybody in Washington is captive, and it was all created by the bailout. It still makes me angry." ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.businessinsider.com/bair-slams-geithner-on-bank-bailouts-2012-9#ixzz27a7R8cko

This election season, Americans pony up for public transportation

from Grist:

This election season, Americans pony up for public transportation
By Greg Hanscom

Slate’s business and economics correspondent, Matthew Yglesias, recently penned a paean to L.A.’s newfound love affair with mass transit, only to be pummeled by the L.A. Weekly:

Because L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the president’s longtime Latino pet, has burned through all his shills here at home, he now relies on D.C. journalists to spot his political ambitions. And boy, are they delivering … Earlier this week, Yglesias gave the Los Angeles mayor and his proposed Measure J transportation tax the slobberiest cross-country blow job to date.

Transcontinental oral sex aside, the Weekly has a point: Even as Villaraigosa has championed new light rail lines and bike lanes, L.A. County’s Metro has slashed bus service to some of the city’s most down-and-out neighborhoods.

But take heart, L.A. It could be worse. You could be Atlanta.

Atlanta’s transit agency has been cutting bus service due to budget shortfalls, too. But here, light rail hasn’t fared much better. In July, a ballot measure that would have raised $8 billion for rail and other transportation projects went down in flames.

The good news? Atlanta seems to be an exception to the rule. Transit funding is winning wide approval in other cities around the country this year, as in recent years — and will likely see a few more big wins on ballot budget initiatives in November, including in L.A. If all goes as planned, Angelenos will get the world-class transit system that Mayor Villaraigosa dreams about — and sooner than you might think. ..........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://grist.org/politics/transitsmart-growth-on-the-ballot/

Throwing down the gauntlet in Greece

from the Toronto Star:

ATHENS— Police clashed with protesters hurling petrol bombs and bottles in central Athens Wednesday after an anti-government rally called as part of a general strike in Greece turned violent.

Riot police used tear gas and pepper spray against several hundred demonstrators after the violence broke out near the country’s parliament. Protesters also set fire to trees in the National Gardens and used hammers to smash paving stones and marble panels to use as missiles against the riot police.

About 50,000 people joined the union-organized march in central Athens on Wednesday, held during a general strike against new austerity measures planned in the crisis-hit country. The action, the first large-scale walk-out since the country’s coalition government was formed in June, closed schools and disrupted flights and most services.

Everyone from shopkeepers and pharmacists to teachers, customs workers and car mechanics joined the demonstration, seen as a test of public tolerance for more hardship after two years of harsh spending cuts and tax hikes. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1262264--greek-protest-turns-violent-during-general-strike

Keeping Latinos Away From the Polls

from truthdig:

Keeping Latinos Away From the Polls

Posted on Sep 26, 2012
By Bill Boyarsky

One of the most reprehensible developments in the presidential campaign is the Republican effort to make it difficult for Latinos to vote by challenging their citizenship in states where such tactics could give Mitt Romney victory in the November election.

This tactic comes on top of long-standing Republican efforts to eliminate the votes of African-Åmericans who, like Latinos, overwhelmingly support President Barack Obama. What makes the campaign against Latinos different is that it questions the citizenship of this growing group of Americans, disparaging their right to live in this country legally and be part of its political process.

It’s just as bad as an Arizona cop stopping Latinos and demanding proof of citizenship. The message is clear: If you are Latino and want to drive or vote, you’d better have your papers in your purse or pocket.

The stakes are high. There could be more than 25 million Latinos eligible to vote this year. Unfortunately, their voting participation has been low—31 percent in 2010 compared to 49 percent for non-Hispanic whites and 44 percent for African-Americans. .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/keeping_latinos_away_from_the_polls_20120926/

Fed Helps Lenders’ Profit More Than Homebuyers

(Bloomberg) The Federal Reserve’s latest mortgage bond purchases so far are helping profit margins at lenders including Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) more than homebuyers and property owners looking to refinance.

Since the Fed’s Sept. 13 announcement that it would buy $40 billion more securities per month, the rates offered for new 30- year loans have fallen by just 0.11 percentage point, compared with a drop of more than 0.6 percentage point for yields on the bonds into which the loans get packaged, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Bankrate.com. The gap between the two, which typically signals increasing lender revenue when it widens, has reached a record of more than 1.6 percentage point.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s stated goal of helping boost the housing market is being undercut by lenders’ inability to keep up with consumer demand, even as investors drive up bond prices. Banks have been slow to lower rates after being overwhelmed this year by applications to refinance mortgages.

“Think about it this way: If you had a restaurant with 100 people out the door waiting in line, would lowering prices be the first thing on your mind?” said Scott Simon, the mortgage head at Newport Beach, California-based Pacific Investment Management Co., manager of the world’s largest bond fund. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-25/fed-helps-lenders-profit-more-than-homebuyers-mortgages.html

Bank of America faces Fed complaint for how it maintains bank-owned homes in minority neighborhoods

from the Detroit Free Press:

The National Fair Housing Alliance and five affiliated organizations announced today the filing of a federal housing discrimination complaint against Bank of America for the way it maintains and markets bank-owned houses in minority neighborhoods in eight cities, including Grand Rapids.

Shanna Smith, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, said the groups had conducted an investigation to determine if Bank of America is maintaining the properties it’s obtained through foreclosure in white neighborhoods equal to its properties in black and Latino neighborhoods. The complaint, which is being filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, follows complaints by the alliance against Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp.

“We found significant racial disparity,” Smith said during a conference call today.

At one house in Grand Rapids, a dead dog was found among the trash and leaves of a Bank of America property in a black neighborhood. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/article/20120925/BUSINESS06/120925069/bank-of-america-minority-discrimination-complaint?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Scott Brown, POS

The Massachusetts Senate Race Gets Ugly, Fast
George Zornick on September 25, 2012 - 11:18 AM ET

Last week’s debate between Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren showcased each candidates strategy for the final stretch, in what polls show is a very close race: Warren, as John Nichols wrote, smoothly made the case that even if voters like Brown, his re-election could return Republicans to the very crucial control of the Senate.

Brown, meanwhile, telegraphed his strategy pretty clearly in his opening statement. He spent almost all of it hitting Warren over the silly “Cherokee” controversy, and derisively referred to her as “professor” throughout the debate. (At some points during her professional career, Warren claimed on forms or to employers that she has Native American heritage, which is true—though it’s only one-thirty-second of her lineage. But she never used it to get hired under any sort of affirmative action program, and her employers have said it was always irrelevant. So this amounts to a big nothing-burger).

This marks a shift for Brown—instead of attacking Warren’s policies, he’s going to begin attacking her personally. He confirmed as much to Politico yesterday (in a story titled “No More Mr. Nice Guy”), saying “The true Elizabeth Warren is coming out and will continue to come out.” .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thenation.com/blog/170147/massachusetts-senate-race-gets-ugly-fast

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