Posts tagged ‘World Economy’

Census Bureau clarifies poverty numbers – U.S. News


Census Bureau clarifies poverty numbers – U.S. News.

Officials at the U.S. Census Bureau moved Friday to clarify widely reported figures meant to estimate the number of Americans living in poverty.

Dueling Census reports – one based on official poverty estimates that was released just last week and another based on an experimental calculus used in November – differed from one another by 20 percentage points regarding the number of people viewed as living in poverty. The widely reported figure showed that one out of two Americans are in poverty or are low-income. Other Census figures put the figure closer to one out of three Americans.
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That’s because the experimental measure, a supplement to the official poverty figures meant to take into account such factors as whether a family is receiving food stamps and how much people pay in taxes, uses a poverty level of $24,343 for a family of four instead of the $21,113 used by the official measure.

Read the original story on NBCLosAngeles.com

In expensive states like California and New York, the supplemental measure classified families making as much as $32,869 as impoverished.

However, Kathleen Short, the Census Bureau economist who spearheaded the supplemental report, said it would be wrong to extrapolate from those numbers that Americans are falling into poverty at greater rates.

In fact, she said, the experimental calculation indicated that poverty among children is actually lower than the official poverty rate shows.

On Thursday, reports in multiple news outlets suggested that people making roughly twice the poverty level under the experimental program were “scraping by” and should be considered low-income.

The Census Bureau does not support that interpretation of the data, Short said.

“Below 200 percent of the poverty threshold is the lower end of the distribution,” Short said. “But we would not call it low-income per se.”

A number of news reports on Thursday correctly said that more people fell under the definition of living in poverty under the experimental calculation, but then went on to say that people making twice that would be considered low-income.

However, the practice of using such figures as “150 percent of poverty” or “200 percent of poverty” to determine whether people were of moderate or low income is a practice that grew up around the older, traditional method of identifying poverty, which uses a lower threshold.

More from NBC4 on the Census reports: Assessing poverty

In parts of California under the supplemental approach, a family that owns its own home and earns about $66,000 per year would be earning 200 percent of the poverty level, and not necessarily be considered low-income.
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NBC4, relying on figures and analysis from the Los Angeles office of the Census, reported the newer, official poverty figures on Thursday, and questioned reports that used the supplemental figures.

A widely distributed news story by the Associated Press (and published by msnbc.com) relied on the supplemental report.

“We did not misunderstand the data,” AP spokesman Jack Stokes said in an email. “The AP story was vetted by the Census Bureau in Washington.”

However, Short said that she did not agree with the news service’s conclusion that the report showed one out of two Americans to be low-income or impoverished.

Short stressed that the supplemental measure was a work in progress, and that it should not be considered a replacement for the official poverty rate.

The AP’s calculations were correct, Short said, “but I’m not agreeing with any adjectives that are placed on being in that category.”

“In fact we stressed the Census Bureau does not have a definition for low income.” Short said

In the supplemental report, “we’re not characterizing what it’s like to be below 200 percent of the poverty line,” Short said. “We don’t have any information to characterize what that would be like.”

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More content from msnbc.com and NBC News:

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Reporter’s notebook: Return to Cuba

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News Wrap: Paul Ryan Attacks President Obama’s Economic Record in Iowa | PBS NewsHour | Sept. 5, 2012 | PBS


News Wrap: Paul Ryan Attacks President Obama's Economic Record in Iowa | PBS NewsHour | Sept. 5, 2012 | PBS.

Transcript

KWAME HOLMAN: Republicans today offered their own critical take on the Democratic Convention. In Adel, Iowa, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said tonight’s main speaker, former President Bill Clinton, will try to shift attention from Mr. Obama’s economic record.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-Wi.), Vice Presidential Candidate: We’re going to hear a lot of things in Charlotte, but we’re not going to hear a convincing argument that we’re better off than we were four years ago.
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We’re going to hear from President Clinton tonight in Charlotte. My guess is, we will get a great rendition of how good things were in the 1990s, but we’re not going to hear much about how things have been in the last four years.

KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney continued debate preparations at a private home in Vermont. However, he took a quick trip to an appliance store in nearby Lebanon, New Hampshire, where he spoke with supporters about the needs of small business.

Wall Street hesitated today, after a profit warning from the shipping giant FedEx. The company says it’s being hurt by a slowdown in business, the latest sign that the global economy is dialing back. That was enough to keep stocks in check. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 11 points to close at 13047. The Nasdaq fell five points to close at 3069.

The passage of Hurricane Isaac has exposed oil from the 2010 spill along the Louisiana and Alabama coastline. BP acknowledged today that the oily tar came from its record-breaking leak at a Gulf well site. The tar balls and mats had been buried under sand since then, but reappeared after the hurricane caused severe beach erosion. Louisiana has closed one stretch of beach and restricted fishing.

The government of Syria came under new pressure today from two former allies. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Syrian regime of terrorism. He also criticized the

United Nations for not doing enough to stop the killing of Muslims.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish Prime Minister (through translator): The regime has become one of state terrorism. It is now in that situation. Since March 2011, the number of those who have been massacred and martyred in Syria is now almost 30,000. In Syria, the massacres that are empowered by the indifference of the internal community, especially the U.N. Security

Council, are continuing increasingly.

KWAME HOLMAN: In Cairo, Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi also denounced Syria. He called again for President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Meanwhile, The New York Times cited reports that Iraq is again allowing Iran to use its airspace to fly weapons to the Syrian regime.

The Iraqis had shut down the air corridor earlier this year, under U.S. pressure.

A former police chief who touched off a major scandal in China has been charged with defection, taking bribes and abusing his power. State media announced the charges against Wang Lijun today. In February, Wang briefly took refuge at a U.S. Consulate after being demoted as police chief in a city in Southwestern China. That led to the ouster of Bo Xilai, his former boss, as Communist Party leader there. Bo is still under investigation.

Last month, Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, was given a suspended death sentence for the murder of a British businessman.

In Afghanistan, the military announced today it has arrested or expelled hundreds of soldiers, as part of an effort to stop so-called insider attacks on foreign troops. The attacks come as the U.S. tries to continue its plan to transition out of Afghanistan.

Margaret Warner has the story.

MARGARET WARNER: On a pre-convention swing through Virginia yesterday, President Obama again touted his plans to end the Afghan war.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This November, you get to decide the future of the war in Afghanistan. By the end of this month, I will have brought home 33,000 troops.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I have said we will end this war in 2014.

MARGARET WARNER: But a linchpin of that promise, to train Afghan forces to take over the fight, faces a new challenge; 45 NATO troops have been killed this year by Afghan troops, 15 just last month, all this just two years before a planned handover of security to full Afghan control.

U.S. and Afghan officials have vowed to fix the problem. And, in Kabul today, a Defense Ministry spokesman said hundreds of Afghan forces have been fired or detained for showing links with insurgents.

GEN. MOHAMMAD ZAHIR AZIMI, Spokesman, Afghan Defense Ministry (through translator): All the Afghan security forces were ordered to use all of their resources in hand to prevent these kinds of incidents.

MARGARET WARNER: And last weekend, the U.S. military suspended training for 1,000 new recruits in special village-based Afghan local police units being tutored by American special forces.

U.S. Army Lieutenant General James Terry said today about a quarter of the insider attacks can be blamed on insurgent infiltrators or their sympathizers. The rest, he said, stem from personal vendettas and cultural miscommunication.

LT. GEN. JAMES TERRY, Commander, ISAF Joint Command: We also understand that a lot of grievances and dispute resolutions are done, frankly, at the barrel of a gun out there.

MARGARET WARNER: Though the U.S. is re-vetting all 16,000 Afghan local police forces, it’s unclear how many of the total 350,000 Afghan troops will be re-screened.

House Republicans seek to block welfare waivers requested by GOP governors | The Raw Story


House Republicans seek to block welfare waivers requested by GOP governors | The Raw Story.

House Republicans have introduced legislation to prevent the Obama administration from allowing some states to waive certain provisions of the welfare reform law enacted in 1996.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in July that it was seeking to provide states with more flexibility to administer the Temporary Assistant for Needy Families (TANF) program. George Sheldon, acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, said the law contained “mind-numbing details about how to run a welfare-to-work program” and offered to waive some of those federal regulations.

The TANF program — which helps poor families with children pay for living expenses such as rent, heat, utilities and personal care items — requires those receiving payments to be employed or looking for work. Nearly four million Americans currently receive TANF payments.

Republicans have falsely claimed that the Obama administration was seeking to roll back the work requirements in the law.

“The president’s waiver scheme will roll back bipartisan welfare reforms that helped end dependency, reduce poverty, and strengthen income security for countless families,” Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said in a statement. “We did not ask for this fight, but we will not stand by while the president runs roughshod over the law and promotes policies that will hurt families and taxpayers.”

The waivers, which have been requested by the Republican governors of Utah and Nevada, would only allow states to test pilot programs designed to improve employment outcomes in the welfare program. Pilot programs that do not increase employment will be terminated.

“This resolution is nothing more than a political stunt,” Rep. George Miller (D-CA) said in a statement. “It is based on a widely circulated lie. Nearly every conceivable independent fact-checker has debunked the Republicans’ claims. This resolution wastes precious legislative time when we should be working together to provide solutions for the real problems confronting American families, not fabricated ones.”

Death is Near (Ca

Shut Down Corporations


#F29 Shut Down the Corporations

January 7th, 2012 · Ella · Announcements
24 comments

National Call to Action Made by the Portland General Assembly – January 1st, 2012

Occupy Portland calls for a national day of non-violent direct action to reclaim our voices and challenge our society‘s obsession with profit and greed by shutting down the corporations.  We are rejecting a society that does not allow us control of our future. We will reclaim our ability to shape our world in a democratic, cooperative, just and sustainable direction.

We call on the Occupy Movement and everyone seeking freedom and justice to join us in this day of action.

There has been a theft by the 1% of our democratic ability to shape and form the society in which we live and our society is steered toward the destructive pursuit of consumption, profit and greed at the expense of all else.

We call on people to target corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council which is a prime example of the way corporations buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves the interests of corporations and not people. They used it to create the anti-labor legislation in Wisconsin and the racist bill SB 1070 in Arizona among so many others. They use ALEC to spread these corporate laws around the country.

In doing this we begin to recreate our democracy. In doing this we begin to create a society that is organized to meet human needs and sustain life.

On February 29th, we will reclaim our future from the 1%. We will shut down the corporations and recreate our democracy.

Join us! Leap into action! Reclaim our future!  Shut down the corporations!

*This call to action was issued by the Portland General Assembly on January 1st, 2012 with unanimous support.

National Website – www.shutdownthecorporations.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/F29-Shut-Down-the-Corporations/169049533194891?sk=wall

Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/261864810546909

Twitter: #f29 @f29action

Stand Up Against Attacks on Our Civil Liberties

December 15th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements
21 comments

The LA General Assembly became an early voice in the Occupy Movement against the indefinite military detention provisions in the The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA). They passed and released a public statement against the NDAA and held actions in opposition of the provisions in the following days.

Civil rights groups, counterterrorism experts and former military leaders have expressed serious concerns with sections of the NDAA which would effectively allow for the indefinite military detention of United States citizens and lawful immigrants in America (see 1031 & 1032 of  HR 1540). A group of Lawmakers submitted a letter to House and Senate leaders stating their concerns of the possibility of these provisions undermining the rights of US citizens.

While adjustments have been made in backdoor meetings after President Obama’s threat of veto, none of these primary concerns were directly addressed. The NDAA in its present form could still allow for an indefinite military detention of a US citizen on American soil without trial. Despite these egregious attacks on our civil liberties, the NDAA will likely be passed in the Senate and signed into law today.

Coincidentally, today also marks Bill of Rights Day.

So thousands are refusing to idly stand by and will take to the streets to defend the Bill of Rights for all of us. Occupy Wall Street is joining several national coalitions to voice opposition of the NDAA and other recent attacks on our civil liberties. Boston will march against indefinite detention and Bill of Rights Day Rallies Against the NDAA are planned in Los Angeles, SacramentoHoustonIthaca, Flagstaff, York and Hartford in addition to more actions around the country.

If this is something you feel strongly about, do something in your community to raise awareness. Explain why this is something that concerns you. Discuss this with your friends, your family and your neighbors. Express your concerns to those who are supposed to represent you.

Together, we will be heard.

For more information on national actions, go to: bordc.org

#10D International Day of Action for #GlobalChange

December 8th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements
14 comments

Global civil society is being threatened by a system based on power and not on human values. Day after day it represses basic freedoms and consistently favors the greed of the few over the needs of the many. This power finances wars, food and pharmaceutical monopolies, it sponsors dictatorial regimes across the globe, destroying environments, manipulating and censoring information flow and transparency.

This Saturday, December 10, people all around the world will stand up together to demand the rights we were promised in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed and approved by most of the world’s governments and the basis for many of our constitutions.

The struggle for our rights as human beings underlies everything we have demanded in every square and every demonstration in this historic year of global change. From East to West, North to South: on the 10th of December we will take to the streets and squares together to demand the fundamental principles that were promised and are inherent to Human Beings.

Visit 10december.net for more information on the global movement. Search for or submit a report for #10D actions in your area.

ACTIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD 

Occupy Brazil is holding Rally & March of Candles. Details on this Facebook event.

Occupy Tuscaloosa is holding a march for human rights on the national Day of Action for the Occupy movement and the anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Occupy London‘s lunchtime GA will provide space for London lovers, neighbours and visitors to discuss plans for occupations, teach outs and other actions specific to the local areas of London. More info here.
Also, live streaming of protests and show of cross-culture solidarity at the St. Paul Cathedral with guest speaker Professor Charles Tripp. Info here.

Madrid TomaLaPlaza is holding a week of action that starts on the 10th of December (International Human Rights Day) and culminates on the 18th of December (the global action day against racism and for the rights of migrants, refugees and displaced people) including performances, a Forum of Human Rights at Puerta del Sol, music show with various choirs, etc. Find more details here.

Occupy Montreal
After their eviction and the disrespect of their rights, Occupy Montreal will march to and occupy the SPVM HQ (Montreal Police Head Quarters) on this day of human rights and liberty. Complete schedule of events found here.

Occupy Nanamio will be taking part in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign.

Occupy Nashville has planned a Global Human Rights Day March

Occupy Omaha will be holding a symbolic cross-town march uniting traditionally segregated areas of the city. Demonstrators will start from North Omaha and South Omaha and converge at the encampment.

Occupons La Defense (Paris)
As part of the global day of mobilization for the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the indignation of Paris are calling for a mobilization.

Occupy Sydney is holding a Global Human Rights Day Festival with info stalls, Free School, music, food and more!

Find more actions here.

National Day of Action to Occupy Our Homes

December 4th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements
31 comments – Tags: actions, foreclosures, mass action, occupy movement, occupy our homes, occupy wall st

Banks took such high risks that they placed our entire economy in serious jeopardy. In return, they received trillions of dollars from the Fed and billions of dollars from hard working tax payers to get back on their feet. Homeowners take risks when buying homes; however, when they lose their jobs or are unable to afford their medical attention they don’t get bailouts, they lose everything.

With our current environment of corporate irresponsibility and greed, political impotence and corruption, all it takes is for you to lose your job or get dropped from your health insurance to lose it all. Just because it hasn’t happened to you, your loved ones or your neighbors yet, doesn’t mean the threat isn’t real.

This Tuesday, thousands will be standing up for their neighbors in a struggle against a system that places financial gain above the human need of shelter. Banks would rather let houses deteriorate than renegotiate loans with those who make them homes and build our communities.

Occupy Minnesota had taken this issue head-on shortly after their formation when a fellow Occupier called out for help in keeping her home.

This Tuesday, Occupy Minnesota will organize in neighborhoods to defend families facing foreclosures in the communities most affected by the financial crisis. They’ll expand their occupation to a second foreclosed home in South Minneapolis.

NATIONAL HAPPENINGS

Occupy Our Homes is launching off with the National Day of Action to Occupy Our Homes

Continue reading »

Embrace Community Not Consumption on #BuyNothingDay

November 23rd, 2011 · Ella · Announcements
31 comments


As retailers compete to see who can open their doors the earliest without offending the sensibilities of the public, Americans have been questioning the very tradition of over-consumption. Occupy Black Friday, OccupyXMass and Buy Nothing Day actions are being held throughout the country and world as a way to stand up against blatant corporate greed.

If you are opting-out this year, we’ve whipped up this little gift exemption card for you to print out give to your friends and family over Thanksgiving right before the chaos of corporate holiday spending ensues. Or, send this image as an eCard for those you won’t be spending the day with.

NATIONAL HAPPENINGS

#BuyNothingDay
Historically, Buy Nothing Day has been about fasting from hyper consumerism – a break from the cash register and reflecting on how dependent we really are on conspicuous consumption. This 20th anniversary of Buy Nothing Day will be married with the message of #Occupy. Occupy the minds of Xmas shoppers with these posters. Organize a whirly mart, santa sit-in or Jesus walk.

Continue reading »

Call for an Alternative Day of Action on Human Rights Day Saturday, December 10th, 2011

November 19th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements
53 comments

The  success of October 15th has triggered an unprecedented momentum for  global action. Humanity has united across boundaries in a struggle for real democracy and individual rights. Essential to this struggle is the respect for human life and living conditions, including environments

Global civil society is being threatened by a system based on power and not on human values. Day after day it represses basic freedoms and consistently favors the greed of the few over the needs of the many. This power finances wars, food and pharmaceutical monopolies, it sponsors dictatorial regimes across the globe, destroying environments, manipulating and censoring information flow and transparency.

Despite our different cultural backgrounds and social contexts, we all suffer the same threats. Our freedom and dignity are under attack as a result of market dynamics and corrupt government institutions that are turning our local and global societies into increasingly unjust places. The governments of this planet must work for the people, not against them. The time has come to stand up for our rights together and to demand the rights we were promised  in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed and approved by most of the world’s governments and the basis for many of our constitutions.

The struggle for our rights as human beings underlies everything we have demanded in every square and every demonstration in this historic year of global change. There is no better culmination to this year of protest than a global day of action to defend our inalienable human equity from those trying to take it away from us. From East to West, North to South: on the 10th of December we will take to the streets and squares together to demand the fundamental principles that were promised and are inherent to the Human Beings.

We would like to propose the week starting on the 10th of December (10/12 – 17/12) as a time for alternative forms of protest which will be found after a debate between all of us. The idea is to participate in proposing new forms of action with a creative spirit: we can organize public forums and workshops, flash-mobs, we can promote the movement in local schools and neighborhoods or get in contact with humanitarian organizations working with the same goals. 

VISIT 10DECEMBER.NET FOR MORE INFO

ADD YOUR PROPOSALS FOR AN ALTERNATIVE ACTION OR VIEW AND COMMENT ON IDEAS HERE

#N17 Mass Day of Action

November 16th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements
168 comments

OWS is calling upon you to participate in a national day of direct action on November 17 in celebration of the the two month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Occupy Wall St
7:00 Shut Down Wall Street
3:00 Occupy the Subways
5:00 Take the Square

This information and more at: occupywallst.org/action/november-17th

Occupy Colleges
Students across the country will gather together on November 17 to protest the rising costs of college education, and the diminishing quality in that education from universities. Students will strike by gathering in central locations throughout each school, or in solidarity at Occupy Wall Street.

More information at: occupycolleges.org

Portland
Occupying steelbridge in morning
Rally afterwards
Subsequently occupying banks

www.n17pdx.org
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=104127476368742

Los Angeles
1,000+ people to take over the street of Downtown, Los Angeles. Activists will meet at Bank of America Plaza at 333 S Hope St. and march to the corner of Figueroa and 4th St., where we will shut down the intersection.

www.occupylosangeles.org/?q=node%2F1970

Boston
Mass Uniting’s Jobs Not Cuts March & Rally at Dewey Square

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=185521434866267

Prior to March @ FSU: Martin Luther King Jr, Stokely Carmichael, American Democracy, and the Search for Economic Justice: From the Civil Rights Movement to the Occupy Movement

Minneapolis
3:00pm Student Rally @ Northrop Plaza
4:00pm March onto the 10th Ave Bridge
5:30pm Rally on the Peoples’ Plaza (Government Plaza)

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=189395914476438

Lexington
5:30 Solidarity March

http://t.co/5AZrXKdV

Chicago

5:30 Mass Action at Jackson and LaSalle

occupychi.org/2011/11/15/thursday-occupy-chicago-participates-national-day-action-november-17

INTERNATIONAL
Spain
A general strike of university students will be taking place in the following cities: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, Palma, Sevilla, Santiago de Compostela, Murcia, Madrid, Valencia, Castello, Alicante, Zaragoza

17:00: Demonstration in Madrid

Place: From Nuevos Ministerios to Puerta del Sol Square
Call: Assembly UAM-CSIC / 15M

tomalafacultad.net
madrid.tomalaplaza.net/2011/11/08/17n-manifestacion-estatal-por-los-servicios-publicos

Belgium
Activists are mobilising for sit-ins at universities and schools to discuss the ongoing protests around the world, resist the increasing commercialisation of education and connect to the struggle on the global level.

ism-global.net/ghent_occupy_nov17

Germany
Massive student strikes, flash mobs, rallies, and other actions will be taking place in dozens of cities

ism-global.net/germany_education_strike_nov17

Letter from Movement Building

November 15th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements
29 comments – Tags: eviction, help, Occupy Wall Street

Friends,

Liberty Plaza (Zuccotti Park), home of Occupy Wall Street for the past two months and birthplace of the 99% movement that has spread across the country and around the world, was evicted by a large police force in full riot gear.

Three ways to get involved and help:

—————————————————-
Come out in person today at 9am EST
—————————————————-
We are re-gathering today at 9am EST at Canal and 6th Ave. This movement can’t be contained in one square block in lower Manhattan. It is bigger than that. You can’t evict an idea whose time had come. Show your support. Turn out en masse.

—————————————————-
Join a Call to discuss Direct Action at noon EST
—————————————————-
We also have a Direct Action call planned today at noon. This was already scheduled via InterOccupy.org, but we’d like to suggest that the call be used to directly discuss what can be done in response to today’s eviction. Please spread the word to Direct Action folks in your occupation that this call is happening!

To register for the call, go here:

http://interoccupy.org/

—————————————————-
Call assistant Attorney General with the Civil Rights Division
—————————————————-
Attached to this email is a complaint submitted on behalf of the Occupy Movement to the Department of Justice in response to the increasing antagonism of police against peaceful protesters. It was formally submitted to the Department of Justice on 11/10/2011. It is addressed to a Mister Thomas Perez, the assistant Attorney General with the Civil Rights Division. Mr. Perez’s office number is (202) 514-4609. Let us call, tied up his lines, and demand that every citizen has a right to peaceably assemble without the threat of police violence. Forward widely.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL IMMEDIATELY AS FAR AND WIDE AS YOU CAN!!!!!!!

In Solidarity!

Movement Building Working Group
Liberty Plaza
NYC

Civil Rights complaint

The Occupations Report: 11/12

November 14th, 2011 · Ella · The Occupations Report
12 comments

We’ve recently seen this report posted and shared through social media, but we thought it might be helpful to have another place on the web it can be published and accessed daily. This Occupation Report is compiled by Rebuild the Dream. Occupy Together has no ties to Rebuild the Dream or Move On outside of requesting permission to repost this report.

Are you interested in helping conduct Training Sessions on key organizing and activism skills?  We’ve been receiving lots of feedback from readers requesting both trainers and materials on the ground. If you are a trainer or have an interest in training and are open to helping, please let us know at: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFVIaFp1dEhqc1hScVBreE5McFhoWWc6MQ.  The Daily Occupations Report is trying to match Trainers and resources to the sites that need them. If you have any materials, guides or links to training resources, please send them to monique@rebuildthedream.com or lizbutlerdc@gmail.com. We will be sharing those resources at the end of the reports all next week.

This report includes updates from Occupy sites and related efforts across the country and the globe. It includes big wins, local organizing efforts, protests/events, police activity reports and calls to action where additional support from allies/general public may be needed.

For more updates from occupations around the country, listen to the Occupation America podcast at http://soundcloud.com/occupation-america

Occupy Atlanta
[Atlanta CBS report] The home base for Occupy Atlanta has tested positive for tuberculosis.

The Fulton County Health Department confirmed Wednesday that residents at the homeless shelter where protesters have been occupying have contracted the drug-resistant disease. WGCL reports that a health department spokeswoman said there is a possibility that both Occupy Atlanta protesters and the homeless people in the shelter may still be at risk since tuberculosis is contracted through air contact.

Occupy Berkeley
Occupy Berkeley held educational outreach in front of Chase bank urging members of the community to divest from the big banks and join local credit unions Saturday.

Continue reading »

Power Hungry Spam Filter (a request for advice)

November 13th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements
9 comments

Hey there wonderful citizens of the web. We need some help/insight from someone who has a better understanding of WordPress than us. We found it odd that we hadn’t had any recent comments coming through, so one of us got smart and tried submitting a test comment. Turns out ALL of our comments are being caught by the spam filter.

A week or so ago we started getting hundreds of comments that looked like this:

Submitted on 2011/11/03 at 8:05 am
glzidpddvqzuphfuifs, Porn, http://www.freesex-tgp.com/ , UzfZtIj.

Since these were clearly spam, and there spilling in by the hundreds, we started flagging them for the spam filter in order to prevent a complete invasion of these spammy comments.

Also recently, we’ve opened up user registration for users to be able to submit articles. Unfortunately, the function is competley pointless outside of the submission page becase we have a caching add-on that prevents Worpress from recognizing a signed-in user.

Somehow, one or a combination of these two things has made it so the spam filter is automatically spamming EVERY comment have recieved for the last several days.

Is there a way to reset our spam filter? Prevent the spammy messages we were getting? Any help/insight is very appreciated.

Also, our sincerest apologies to all who have recently commented. We’ll be going through the thousands of “spam” comments to be “unflagging” all comments throughout the day.

Occupy Together

Also, you can comment on this post. We’ll still receive the comments we just have to “un-spam” them. If easier, please email us at info@occupytogether.org.


Occupy Research Survey

The OccupyResearch network is pleased to launch this exciting survey, which aims to create a better understanding of who engages with the Occupy movement, and how — it includes questions about media, communication, political activities, and more. Read more about it here.

Take the online survey now!

Mass Actions Calendar

  • February 29, 2012#F29 Shut Down the Corporations
  • May 12, 201212.M WorldrEvolution

Recent Twitter Activity

© 2012 Occupy Together – Please feel free to distribute any of the original content on this site across the internet.

#F29 Shut Down the Corporations

January 7th, 2012 · Ella · Announcements                 24 comments

National Call to Action Made by the Portland General Assembly – January 1st, 2012

Occupy Portland calls for a national day of non-violent direct action to reclaim our voices and challenge our society’s obsession with profit and greed by shutting down the corporations. We are rejecting a society that does not allow us control of our future. We will reclaim our ability to shape our world in a democratic, cooperative, just and sustainable direction.

We call on the Occupy Movement and everyone seeking freedom and justice to join us in this day of action.

There has been a theft by the 1% of our democratic ability to shape and form the society in which we live and our society is steered toward the destructive pursuit of consumption, profit and greed at the expense of all else.

We call on people to target corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council which is a prime example of the way corporations buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves the interests of corporations and not people. They used it to create the anti-labor legislation in Wisconsin and the racist bill SB 1070 in Arizona among so many others. They use ALEC to spread these corporate laws around the country.

In doing this we begin to recreate our democracy. In doing this we begin to create a society that is organized to meet human needs and sustain life.

On February 29th, we will reclaim our future from the 1%. We will shut down the corporations and recreate our democracy.

Join us! Leap into action! Reclaim our future! Shut down the corporations!

*This call to action was issued by the Portland General Assembly on January 1st, 2012 with unanimous support.

National Website – http://www.shutdownthecorporations.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/F29-Shut-Down-the-Corporations/169049533194891?sk=wall

Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/261864810546909

Twitter: #f29 @f29action

Stand Up Against Attacks on Our Civil Liberties

December 15th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements                 21 comments

The LA General Assembly became an early voice in the Occupy Movement against the indefinite military detention provisions in the The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA). They passed and released a public statement against the NDAA and held actions in opposition of the provisions in the following days.

Civil rights groups, counterterrorism experts and former military leaders have expressed serious concerns with sections of the NDAA which would effectively allow for the indefinite military detention of United States citizens and lawful immigrants in America (see 1031 & 1032 of HR 1540). A group of Lawmakers submitted a letter to House and Senate leaders stating their concerns of the possibility of these provisions undermining the rights of US citizens.

While adjustments have been made in backdoor meetings after President Obama’s threat of veto, none of these primary concerns were directly addressed. The NDAA in its present form could still allow for an indefinite military detention of a US citizen on American soil without trial. Despite these egregious attacks on our civil liberties, the NDAA will likely be passed in the Senate and signed into law today.

Coincidentally, today also marks Bill of Rights Day.

So thousands are refusing to idly stand by and will take to the streets to defend the Bill of Rights for all of us. Occupy Wall Street is joining several national coalitions to voice opposition of the NDAA and other recent attacks on our civil liberties. Boston will march against indefinite detention and Bill of Rights Day Rallies Against the NDAA are planned in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Houston, Ithaca, Flagstaff, York and Hartford in addition to more actions around the country.

If this is something you feel strongly about, do something in your community to raise awareness. Explain why this is something that concerns you. Discuss this with your friends, your family and your neighbors. Express your concerns to those who are supposed to represent you.

Together, we will be heard.

For more information on national actions, go to: bordc.org

#10D International Day of Action for #GlobalChange

December 8th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements                 14 comments

Global civil society is being threatened by a system based on power and not on human values. Day after day it represses basic freedoms and consistently favors the greed of the few over the needs of the many. This power finances wars, food and pharmaceutical monopolies, it sponsors dictatorial regimes across the globe, destroying environments, manipulating and censoring information flow and transparency.

This Saturday, December 10, people all around the world will stand up together to demand the rights we were promised in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed and approved by most of the world’s governments and the basis for many of our constitutions.

The struggle for our rights as human beings underlies everything we have demanded in every square and every demonstration in this historic year of global change. From East to West, North to South: on the 10th of December we will take to the streets and squares together to demand the fundamental principles that were promised and are inherent to Human Beings.

Visit 10december.net for more information on the global movement. Search for or submit a report for #10D actions in your area.

ACTIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Occupy Brazil is holding Rally & March of Candles. Details on this Facebook event.

Occupy Tuscaloosa is holding a march for human rights on the national Day of Action for the Occupy movement and the anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Occupy London’s lunchtime GA will provide space for London lovers, neighbours and visitors to discuss plans for occupations, teach outs and other actions specific to the local areas of London. More info here.

Also, live streaming of protests and show of cross-culture solidarity at the St. Paul Cathedral with guest speaker Professor Charles Tripp. Info here.

Madrid TomaLaPlaza is holding a week of action that starts on the 10th of December (International Human Rights Day) and culminates on the 18th of December (the global action day against racism and for the rights of migrants, refugees and displaced people) including performances, a Forum of Human Rights at Puerta del Sol, music show with various choirs, etc. Find more details here.

Occupy Montreal

After their eviction and the disrespect of their rights, Occupy Montreal will march to and occupy the SPVM HQ (Montreal Police Head Quarters) on this day of human rights and liberty. Complete schedule of events found here.

Occupy Nanamio will be taking part in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign.

Occupy Nashville has planned a Global Human Rights Day March

Occupy Omaha will be holding a symbolic cross-town march uniting traditionally segregated areas of the city. Demonstrators will start from North Omaha and South Omaha and converge at the encampment.

Occupons La Defense (Paris)

As part of the global day of mobilization for the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the indignation of Paris are calling for a mobilization.

Occupy Sydney is holding a Global Human Rights Day Festival with info stalls, Free School, music, food and more!

Find more actions here.

National Day of Action to Occupy Our Homes

December 4th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements                 31 comments                  – Tags: actions, foreclosures, mass action, occupy movement, occupy our homes, occupy wall st

Banks took such high risks that they placed our entire economy in serious jeopardy. In return, they received trillions of dollars from the Fed and billions of dollars from hard working tax payers to get back on their feet. Homeowners take risks when buying homes; however, when they lose their jobs or are unable to afford their medical attention they don’t get bailouts, they lose everything.

With our current environment of corporate irresponsibility and greed, political impotence and corruption, all it takes is for you to lose your job or get dropped from your health insurance to lose it all. Just because it hasn’t happened to you, your loved ones or your neighbors yet, doesn’t mean the threat isn’t real.

This Tuesday, thousands will be standing up for their neighbors in a struggle against a system that places financial gain above the human need of shelter. Banks would rather let houses deteriorate than renegotiate loans with those who make them homes and build our communities.

Occupy Minnesota had taken this issue head-on shortly after their formation when a fellow Occupier called out for help in keeping her home.

This Tuesday, Occupy Minnesota will organize in neighborhoods to defend families facing foreclosures in the communities most affected by the financial crisis. They’ll expand their occupation to a second foreclosed home in South Minneapolis.

NATIONAL HAPPENINGS

Occupy Our Homes is launching off with the National Day of Action to Occupy Our Homes

Continue reading »

Embrace Community Not Consumption on #BuyNothingDay

November 23rd, 2011 · Ella · Announcements                 31 comments

As retailers compete to see who can open their doors the earliest without offending the sensibilities of the public, Americans have been questioning the very tradition of over-consumption. Occupy Black Friday, OccupyXMass and Buy Nothing Day actions are being held throughout the country and world as a way to stand up against blatant corporate greed.

If you are opting-out this year, we’ve whipped up this little gift exemption card for you to print out give to your friends and family over Thanksgiving right before the chaos of corporate holiday spending ensues. Or, send this image as an eCard for those you won’t be spending the day with.

NATIONAL HAPPENINGS

#BuyNothingDay

Historically, Buy Nothing Day has been about fasting from hyper consumerism – a break from the cash register and reflecting on how dependent we really are on conspicuous consumption. This 20th anniversary of Buy Nothing Day will be married with the message of #Occupy. Occupy the minds of Xmas shoppers with these posters. Organize a whirly mart, santa sit-in or Jesus walk.

Continue reading »

Call for an Alternative Day of Action on Human Rights Day Saturday, December 10th, 2011

November 19th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements                 53 comments

The success of October 15th has triggered an unprecedented momentum for global action. Humanity has united across boundaries in a struggle for real democracy and individual rights. Essential to this struggle is the respect for human life and living conditions, including environments

Global civil society is being threatened by a system based on power and not on human values. Day after day it represses basic freedoms and consistently favors the greed of the few over the needs of the many. This power finances wars, food and pharmaceutical monopolies, it sponsors dictatorial regimes across the globe, destroying environments, manipulating and censoring information flow and transparency.

Despite our different cultural backgrounds and social contexts, we all suffer the same threats. Our freedom and dignity are under attack as a result of market dynamics and corrupt government institutions that are turning our local and global societies into increasingly unjust places. The governments of this planet must work for the people, not against them. The time has come to stand up for our rights together and to demand the rights we were promised in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed and approved by most of the world’s governments and the basis for many of our constitutions.

The struggle for our rights as human beings underlies everything we have demanded in every square and every demonstration in this historic year of global change. There is no better culmination to this year of protest than a global day of action to defend our inalienable human equity from those trying to take it away from us. From East to West, North to South: on the 10th of December we will take to the streets and squares together to demand the fundamental principles that were promised and are inherent to the Human Beings.

We would like to propose the week starting on the 10th of December (10/12 – 17/12) as a time for alternative forms of protest which will be found after a debate between all of us. The idea is to participate in proposing new forms of action with a creative spirit: we can organize public forums and workshops, flash-mobs, we can promote the movement in local schools and neighborhoods or get in contact with humanitarian organizations working with the same goals.

VISIT 10DECEMBER.NET FOR MORE INFO

ADD YOUR PROPOSALS FOR AN ALTERNATIVE ACTION OR VIEW AND COMMENT ON IDEAS HERE

#N17 Mass Day of Action

November 16th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements                 168 comments

OWS is calling upon you to participate in a national day of direct action on November 17 in celebration of the the two month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Occupy Wall St

7:00 Shut Down Wall Street

3:00 Occupy the Subways

5:00 Take the Square

This information and more at: occupywallst.org/action/november-17th

Occupy Colleges

Students across the country will gather together on November 17 to protest the rising costs of college education, and the diminishing quality in that education from universities. Students will strike by gathering in central locations throughout each school, or in solidarity at Occupy Wall Street.

More information at: occupycolleges.org

Portland

Occupying steelbridge in morning

Rally afterwards

Subsequently occupying banks

http://www.n17pdx.org

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=104127476368742

Los Angeles

1,000+ people to take over the street of Downtown, Los Angeles. Activists will meet at Bank of America Plaza at 333 S Hope St. and march to the corner of Figueroa and 4th St., where we will shut down the intersection.

http://www.occupylosangeles.org/?q=node%2F1970

Boston

Mass Uniting’s Jobs Not Cuts March & Rally at Dewey Square

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=185521434866267

Prior to March @ FSU: Martin Luther King Jr, Stokely Carmichael, American Democracy, and the Search for Economic Justice: From the Civil Rights Movement to the Occupy Movement

Minneapolis

3:00pm Student Rally @ Northrop Plaza

4:00pm March onto the 10th Ave Bridge

5:30pm Rally on the Peoples’ Plaza (Government Plaza)

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=189395914476438

Lexington

5:30 Solidarity March

http://t.co/5AZrXKdV

Chicago

5:30 Mass Action at Jackson and LaSalle

occupychi.org/2011/11/15/thursday-occupy-chicago-participates-national-day-action-november-17

INTERNATIONAL

Spain

A general strike of university students will be taking place in the following cities: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, Palma, Sevilla, Santiago de Compostela, Murcia, Madrid, Valencia, Castello, Alicante, Zaragoza

17:00: Demonstration in Madrid

Place: From Nuevos Ministerios to Puerta del Sol Square

Call: Assembly UAM-CSIC / 15M

tomalafacultad.net

madrid.tomalaplaza.net/2011/11/08/17n-manifestacion-estatal-por-los-servicios-publicos

Belgium

Activists are mobilising for sit-ins at universities and schools to discuss the ongoing protests around the world, resist the increasing commercialisation of education and connect to the struggle on the global level.

ism-global.net/ghent_occupy_nov17

Germany

Massive student strikes, flash mobs, rallies, and other actions will be taking place in dozens of cities

ism-global.net/germany_education_strike_nov17

Letter from Movement Building

November 15th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements                 29 comments                  – Tags: eviction, help, Occupy Wall Street

Friends,

Liberty Plaza (Zuccotti Park), home of Occupy Wall Street for the past two months and birthplace of the 99% movement that has spread across the country and around the world, was evicted by a large police force in full riot gear.

Three ways to get involved and help:

—————————————————-

Come out in person today at 9am EST

—————————————————-

We are re-gathering today at 9am EST at Canal and 6th Ave. This movement can’t be contained in one square block in lower Manhattan. It is bigger than that. You can’t evict an idea whose time had come. Show your support. Turn out en masse.

—————————————————-

Join a Call to discuss Direct Action at noon EST

—————————————————-

We also have a Direct Action call planned today at noon. This was already scheduled via InterOccupy.org, but we’d like to suggest that the call be used to directly discuss what can be done in response to today’s eviction. Please spread the word to Direct Action folks in your occupation that this call is happening!

To register for the call, go here:

http://interoccupy.org/

—————————————————-

Call assistant Attorney General with the Civil Rights Division

—————————————————-

Attached to this email is a complaint submitted on behalf of the Occupy Movement to the Department of Justice in response to the increasing antagonism of police against peaceful protesters. It was formally submitted to the Department of Justice on 11/10/2011. It is addressed to a Mister Thomas Perez, the assistant Attorney General with the Civil Rights Division. Mr. Perez’s office number is (202) 514-4609. Let us call, tied up his lines, and demand that every citizen has a right to peaceably assemble without the threat of police violence. Forward widely.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL IMMEDIATELY AS FAR AND WIDE AS YOU CAN!!!!!!!

In Solidarity!

Movement Building Working Group

Liberty Plaza

NYC

Civil Rights complaint

The Occupations Report: 11/12

November 14th, 2011 · Ella · The Occupations Report                 12 comments

We’ve recently seen this report posted and shared through social media, but we thought it might be helpful to have another place on the web it can be published and accessed daily. This Occupation Report is compiled by Rebuild the Dream. Occupy Together has no ties to Rebuild the Dream or Move On outside of requesting permission to repost this report.

Are you interested in helping conduct Training Sessions on key organizing and activism skills? We’ve been receiving lots of feedback from readers requesting both trainers and materials on the ground. If you are a trainer or have an interest in training and are open to helping, please let us know at: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFVIaFp1dEhqc1hScVBreE5McFhoWWc6MQ. The Daily Occupations Report is trying to match Trainers and resources to the sites that need them. If you have any materials, guides or links to training resources, please send them to monique@rebuildthedream.com or lizbutlerdc@gmail.com. We will be sharing those resources at the end of the reports all next week.

This report includes updates from Occupy sites and related efforts across the country and the globe. It includes big wins, local organizing efforts, protests/events, police activity reports and calls to action where additional support from allies/general public may be needed.

For more updates from occupations around the country, listen to the Occupation America podcast at http://soundcloud.com/occupation-america

Occupy Atlanta

[Atlanta CBS report] The home base for Occupy Atlanta has tested positive for tuberculosis.

The Fulton County Health Department confirmed Wednesday that residents at the homeless shelter where protesters have been occupying have contracted the drug-resistant disease. WGCL reports that a health department spokeswoman said there is a possibility that both Occupy Atlanta protesters and the homeless people in the shelter may still be at risk since tuberculosis is contracted through air contact.

Occupy Berkeley

Occupy Berkeley held educational outreach in front of Chase bank urging members of the community to divest from the big banks and join local credit unions Saturday.

Continue reading »

Power Hungry Spam Filter (a request for advice)

November 13th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements                 9 comments

Hey there wonderful citizens of the web. We need some help/insight from someone who has a better understanding of WordPress than us. We found it odd that we hadn’t had any recent comments coming through, so one of us got smart and tried submitting a test comment. Turns out ALL of our comments are being caught by the spam filter.

A week or so ago we started getting hundreds of comments that looked like this:

Submitted on 2011/11/03 at 8:05 am

glzidpddvqzuphfuifs, Porn, http://www.freesex-tgp.com/ , UzfZtIj.

Since these were clearly spam, and there spilling in by the hundreds, we started flagging them for the spam filter in order to prevent a complete invasion of these spammy comments.

Also recently, we’ve opened up user registration for users to be able to submit articles. Unfortunately, the function is competley pointless outside of the submission page becase we have a caching add-on that prevents Worpress from recognizing a signed-in user.

Somehow, one or a combination of these two things has made it so the spam filter is automatically spamming EVERY comment have recieved for the last several days.

Is there a way to reset our spam filter? Prevent the spammy messages we were getting? Any help/insight is very appreciated.

Also, our sincerest apologies to all who have recently commented. We’ll be going through the thousands of “spam” comments to be “unflagging” all comments throughout the day.

Occupy Together

Also, you can comment on this post. We’ll still receive the comments we just have to “un-spam” them. If easier, please email us at info@occupytogether.org.

« Older Entries

Occupy Research Survey

The OccupyResearch network is pleased to launch this exciting survey, which aims to create a better understanding of who engages with the Occupy movement, and how — it includes questions about media, communication, political activities, and more. Read more about it here.

Take the online survey now!

Mass Actions Calendar

February 29, 2012#F29 Shut Down the Corporations

May 12, 201212.M WorldrEvolution

Recent Twitter Activity

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#OccupyLove is sending out a call to action for Occupiers everywhere to reclaim love this Valentine’s Day.

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Occupy Oakland facing police violence, again.

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Occupy Oakland facing police violence, again.

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© 2012 Occupy Together – Please feel free to distribute any of the original content on this site across the internet.

Analysis: Holder, top DOJ lawyers were partners with big banks


Analysis: Holder, top DOJ lawyers were partners with big banks


 

(Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, were partners for years at a Washington law firm that represented a Who’s Who of big banks and other companies at the center of alleged foreclosure fraud, a Reuters inquiry shows.

The firm, Covington & Burling, is one of Washington’s biggest white shoe law firms. Law professors and other federal ethics experts said that federal conflict of interest rules required Holder and Breuer to recuse themselves from any Justice Department decisions relating to law firm clients they personally had done work for.

Both the Justice Department andCovington declined to say if either official had personally worked on matters for the big mortgage industry clients. Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said Holder and Breuer had complied fully with conflict of interest regulations, but she declined to say if they had recused themselves from any matters related to the former clients.

Reuters reported in December that under Holder and Breuer, the Justice Department hasn’t brought any criminal cases against big banks or other companies involved in mortgage servicing, even though copious evidence has surfaced of apparent criminal violations in foreclosure cases.

The evidence, including records from federal and state courts and local clerks’ offices around the country, shows widespread forgery, perjury, obstruction of justice, and illegal foreclosures on the homes of thousands of active-duty military personnel.

In recent weeks the Justice Department has come under renewed pressure from members of Congress, state and local officials and homeowners’ lawyers to open a wide-ranging criminal investigation of mortgage servicers, the biggest of which have been Covington clients. So far Justice officials haven’t responded publicly to any of the requests.

While Holder and Breuer were partners at Covington, the firm’s clients included the four largest U.S. banks – Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo & Co – as well as at least one other bank that is among the 10 largest mortgage servicers.

DEFENDER OF FREDDIE

Servicers perform routine mortgage maintenance tasks, including filing foreclosures, on behalf of mortgage owners, usually groups of investors who bought mortgage-backed securities.

Covington represented Freddie Mac, one of the nation’s biggest issuers of mortgage backed securities, in enforcement investigations by federal financial regulators.

A particular concern by those pressing for an investigation is Covington’s involvement with Virginia-based MERS Corp, which runs a vast computerized registry of mortgages. Little known before the mortgage crisis hit, MERS, which stands forMortgage Electronic Registration Systems, has been at the center of complaints about false or erroneous mortgage documents.

Court records show that Covington, in the late 1990s, provided legal opinion letters needed to create MERS on behalf of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and several other large banks. It was meant to speed up registration and transfers of mortgages. By 2010, MERS claimed to own about half of all mortgages in the U.S. — roughly 60 million loans.

But evidence in numerous state and federal court cases around the country has shown that MERS authorized thousands of bank employees to sign their names as MERS officials. The banks allegedly drew up fake mortgage assignments, making it appear falsely that they had standing to file foreclosures, and then had their own employees sign the documents as MERS “vice presidents” or “assistant secretaries.”

Covington in 2004 also wrote a crucial opinion letter commissioned by MERS, providing legal justification for its electronic registry. MERS spokeswoman Karmela Lejarde declined to comment on Covington legal work done for MERS.

It isn’t known to what extent if any Covington has continued to represent the banks and other mortgage firms since Holder and Breuer left. Covington declined to respond to questions from Reuters. A Covington spokeswoman said the firm had no comment.

Several lawyers for homeowners have said that even if Holder and Breuer haven’t violated any ethics rules, their ties to Covington create an impression of bias toward the firms’ clients, especially in the absence of any prosecutions by the Justice Department.

O. Max Gardner III, a lawyer who trains other attorneys to represent homeowners in bankruptcy court foreclosure actions, said he attributes the Justice Department’s reluctance to prosecute the banks or their executives to the Obama White House’s view that it might harm the economy.

But he said that the background of Holder and Breuer at Covington — and their failure to act on foreclosure fraud or publicly recuse themselves — “doesn’t pass the smell test.”

Federal ethics regulations generally require new government officials to recuse themselves for one year from involvement in matters involving clients they personally had represented at their former law firms.

President Obama imposed additional restrictions on appointees that essentially extended the ban to two years. For Holder, that ban would have expired in February 2011, and in April for Breuer. Rules also require officials to avoid creating the appearance of a conflict.

Schmaler, the Justice Department spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that “The Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General Breuer have conformed with all financial, legal and ethical obligations under law as well as additional ethical standards set by the Obama Administration.”

She said they “routinely consult” the department’s ethics officials for guidance. Without offering specifics, Schmaler said they “have recused themselves from matters as required by the law.”

Senior government officials often move to big Washington law firms, and lawyers from those firms often move into government posts. But records show that in recent years the traffic between the Justice Department and Covington & Burling has been particularly heavy. In 2010, Holder’s deputy chief of staff, John Garland, returned to Covington, as did Steven Fagell, who was Breuer’s deputy chief of staff in the criminal division.

The firm has on its web site a page listing its attorneys who are former federal government officials. Covington lists 22 from the Justice Department, and 12 from U.S. Attorneys offices, the Justice Department’s local federal prosecutors’ offices around the country.

As Reuters reported in 2011, public records show large numbers of mortgage promissory notes with apparently forged endorsements that were submitted as evidence to courts.

There also is evidence of almost routine manufacturing of false mortgage assignments, documents that transfer ownership of mortgages between banks or to groups of investors. In foreclosure actions in courts mortgage assignments are required to show that a bank has the legal right to foreclose.

In an interview in late 2011, Raymond Brescia, a visiting professor at Yale Law Schoolwho has written about foreclosure practices said, “I think it’s difficult to find a fraud of this size on the U.S. court system in U.S. history.”

Holder has resisted calls for a criminal investigation since October 2010, when evidence of widespread “robo-signing” first surfaced. That involved mortgage servicer employees falsely signing and swearing to massive numbers of affidavits and other foreclosure documents that they had never read or checked for accuracy.


 

Robert Reich and ‘Amend 2012’ Launch Campaign for Constitutional Amendment to Overturn ‘Citizens United’


Robert Reich appears in a new video from a new organization, Amend 2012, calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United. In just over two minutes, Reich clearly and effectively explains how Citizens came about and why it is dangerous to U.S. politics. The campaign focuses on the idea that corporations aren’t people, only people are people. Reich then asks everyone to take action in support of Amend 2012’s call for a constitutional amendment:

Thanks to the Supreme Court and Citizens United, the same big corporations and billionaires that destroyed our economy and caused millions of us to lose our jobs and homes, are spending obscene amounts to drown out our voices in elections and take over our government.

But together, “We the People” can set things right.

The campaign website has a petition, a way for supporters to donate to the cause, and a way to sign up for the campaign’s ‘Constitution Crew’ with numerous other ways to support the amendment drive. The website also offers state-by-state toolkits for activists, the latest news about related issues and a more thorough explanation of the court ruling and the problems it creates.

The campaign is a project of Common Cause. Public Citizen is also pushing for an amendment to overturn Citizens United.

A recent poll shows that two-thirds of small business owners say that Citizens United hurts them, while only nine percent found it to be a positive thing.

Tags: Amend 2012, Citizens United, Common Cause, Robert Reich

https://www.youtube.com/v/Qq-9A9CGTYU?version=3&feature=player_embedded

Africa | Americas | Asia | Europe | Middle East French officials downplay credit rating downgrade


Africa | Americas | Asia | Europe | Middle East
French officials downplay credit rating downgrade
January 13, 2012 | 1:41 pm

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French officials tried to calm financial markets after the country’s AAA credit rating was reportedly downgraded

REPORTING FROM PARIS — French officials tried to calm financial markets Friday evening, declaring that the reported downgrading of France’s AAA credit rating is “not good news … but not a catastrophe.”

Although government ministers have been preparing the ground for an eventual loss of the coveted rating for weeks, the timing of Standard & Poor’s apparent decision took everyone by surprise. A week ago, another ratings agency, Fitch, announced it did not foresee downgrading France in 2012.

But just before 4 p.m. Paris time, government sources were reporting that France had lost its AAA rating.

“It’s not good news, but it’s not a catastrophe,” Finance Minister Francois Baroin said on French television.

“It’s not the ratings agencies who dictate French politics,” he said, adding that there would be no new austerity measures.

He said the “general balance” of France’s finances was being sanctioned. “We’re going in the right direction,” Baroin said. “All that can be done is being done.”

Baroin, along with Prime Minister Francois Fillon and Budget Minister Valerie Pecresse, was summoned to a crisis meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace on Friday evening after the news broke.

The downgrade is bad news for Sarkozy less than four months before he is expected to see reelection for a second term.

ALSO:

French journalist killed in Syria

France’s bittersweet birthday party for Joan of Arc

France takes step to criminalize denial of the Armenian genocide

— Kim Willsher

Photo: A cardboard cutout of an “AAA,” a reference to France’s then-credit rating, is posted at La Defense business district outside Paris last November. Credit: Ian Langsdon/EPA
Twitter: @latimesworld
Facebook: World Now
More in: Euro, Europe, European Union, France