In early 1900s, progressives from both political parties joined forces to create the Nonpartisan League and fight for progressive reform. (Cartoon published in the Nonpartisan Leader in 1912.)
During this political season, we have heard a lot about too-big-to-fail banks, corporate greed, politicians on the take, bad trade deals, inequality and … starting a revolution to save the middle class.
Just over 100 years ago, at the dawn of the first American Progressive Era, the same conditions sparked a revolution which spread from North Dakota throughout the prairie states.
In the early 1900s, family farms were under attack. Railroad robber barons charged farmers exorbitant prices to ship their grain, and if the farmers fell behind on loan payments, Wall Street banks stepped in—not to save the farmers but to foreclose on them.
As one farm family after another lost its land, politicians, who were in the pocket of big money interests, accepted the lobbyists’ cash and stood idly by.
Discontent grew among the farmers. In 1915, failed flax farmer A.C. Townley and his friend Fred Wood sat down at Fred’s kitchen table and drew up a progressive agenda to help the people of North Dakota. This blueprint for reform included regulating railroads and controlling fees, organizing farming cooperatives, and creating a state bank, which would make investments for the common good, instead of foreclosing on family farms. This was the birth of the Nonpartisan League (NPL).
#ThisIsACoup hashtag refers to Greece’s indebtedness to European banks.
On Democracy Now today, Amy Goodman reported on an economic panel assembled by Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders.
Goodman excerpted a section of Sanders’ speech on the failure of austerity policies in Greece and around the world. He said that although his comments focused primarily on Greece (and Puerto Rico), “Governments around the world are struggling with too much debt and too much inequality…
“Five years of cruel and counterproductive austerity policies… have left the people of Greece with a full-blown humanitarian crisis. In my view, there is no more obvious example of the failure of austerity policies than what is going on in Greece,” Sanders continued. Watch the Democracy Now clip below.
So, Dimon and Warren don’t have a basic disagreement on how banks should be managed and regulated. Now we know that Liz is just stupid. Obviously, if she fully understood what Dimon and his band of thieves were doing, she wouldn’t be fighting them so hard. Ironically, in recent weeks, President Obama also called Warren’s opinions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ignorant. In March, Berkshire Hathoway CEO Warren Buffet she is too “angry” and “violent” in her critiques of Wall Street. It pisses me off as a woman, as a progressive, and as a banking reform advocate that Dimon, Obama, and Buffet resorted to personal smears rather than honestly debating Wall Street’s gambling operation and actually doing something about it– like busting up the too-big-to-fail banks or (better yet) taking control of the US money supply out of the hands of privately owned banks.
The banksters are pissed. How dare the City of Richmond, California try to use its power of eminent domain to stop housing foreclosures in its city?
Generally, governmental bodies use eminent domain to force people to sell their land and/or homes to make way for projects (like freeways) which are for the common good. Long ago, the Occupy Wall Street movement suggested that cities could use eminent domain to buy up mortgages and reduce homeowner debt– before the homeowners are forced out of their underwater mortgages by the banksters.
Remember the old Occupy chant? “Banks got bailed out. We got sold out.” The US government bailed out the Wall Street gamblers who crashed the worldwide economy, created and burst the housing bubble, caused businesses to close and lay off workers, and plunged millions of Americans into homelessness or rental units when they lost their homes. The federal government has done almost nothing to help the millions of beleaguered homowners who have lost their homes or are on the verge of it. Check out Richmond's plan after the jump.
Scarcely touched by the nation’s housing recovery and tired of waiting for federal help, Richmond is about to become the first city in the nation to try eminent domain as a way to stop foreclosures.
The results will be closely watched by both Wall Street banks, which have vigorously opposed the use of eminent domain to buy mortgages and reduce homeowner debt, and a host of cities across the country that are considering emulating Richmond.
The banks have warned that such a move will bring down a hail of lawsuits and all but halt mortgage lending in any city with the temerity to try it.
But local officials, frustrated at the lack of large-scale relief from the Obama administration, relatively free of the influence that Wall Street wields in Washington, and faced with fraying neighborhoods and a depleted middle class, are beginning to shrug off those threats.
“We’re not willing to back down on this,” said Gayle McLaughlin, the former schoolteacher who is serving her second term as Richmond’s mayor. “They can put forward as much pressure as they would like but I’m very committed to this program and I’m very committed to the well-being of our neighborhoods.”
Despite rising home prices in many parts of the country, including California, roughly half of all homeowners with mortgages in Richmond are underwater, meaning they owe more — in some cases three or four times as much more — than their home is currently worth. On Monday, the city sent a round of letters to the owners and servicers of the loans, offering to buy 626 underwater loans. In some cases, the homeowner is already behind on the payments. Others are considered to be at high risk of default, mainly because home values have fallen so much that the homeowner has little incentive to keep paying.
Many cities, particularly those where minority residents were steered into predatory loans, face a situation similar to that in Richmond, which is largely black and Hispanic. About two dozen other local and state governments, including Newark, Seattle and a handful of cities in California, are looking at the eminent domain strategy, according to a count by Robert Hockett, a Cornell University law professor and one of the plan’s chief proponents. Irvington, N.J., passed a resolution supporting its use in July. North Las Vegas will consider an eminent domain proposal in August, and El Monte, Calif., is poised to act after hearing out the opposition this week.
But the cities face an uphill battle. Some have already backed off, and those who proceed will be challenged in court. After San Bernardino Countydropped the idea earlier this year, a network of housing groups and unions began working to win community support and develop nonprofit alternatives to Mortgage Resolution Partners, the firm that is managing the Richmond program.
“Our local electeds can’t do this alone, they need the backup support from their constituents,” said Amy Schur, a campaign director for the national Home Defenders League. “That’s what’s been the game changer in this effort.”…
The city is offering to buy the loans at what it considers the fair market value. In a hypothetical example, a home mortgaged for $400,000 is now worth $200,000. The city plans to buy the loan for $160,000, or about 80 percent of the value of the home, a discount that factors in the risk of default.
Then, the city would write down the debt to $190,000 and allow the homeowner to refinance at the new amount, probably through a government program. The $30,000 difference goes to the city, the investors who put up the money to buy the loan, closing costs and M.R.P. The homeowner would go from owing twice what the home is worth to having $10,000 in equity. [Read the rest of the storyhere.]
Strike Debt, Occupiers, and public banking proponents all have talked about buying debt– student loans, credit cards, or mortgages– and excusing the debt altogether (as Strike Debt did recently with student loans) or reducing the debt to a reasonable amount (which is what Richmond wants to do). I hope they succeed. I’m tired of watching people’s lives be destroyed by debt.
Bipartisanship is a popular buzz word in some political circles. Republicans use the call for “bipartisan solutions” to strong-arm Democrats into voting for bad ideas (like increased militarization and drone surveillance on the border in exchange for a long and complicated path to citizenship).
Democrats tout the quest for bipartisanship as code for “I’m a Democrat who votes with Republicans when it’s politically expedient.”
When the vast majority of American voters want higher taxes on the 1%, universal background checks, bans on assault weapons, immigration reform, a higher minimum wage, good jobs, relief from crushing student and credit card debt, safe roads and bridges, regulatory controls on Wall Street, safe guards on Social Security, legalization of marijuana, and the right to vote, Congress devolves into inaction and gamesmanship.
Is bipartisanship a good strategy or just a trap to get Democrats to “punt on the first down”? More details and the video after the jump.
In her speech to the State Committee of the Arizona Democratic Party (ADP), Freshman Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema strongly promoted bipartisanship and told precinct committee members and ADP officers about the caucus that she “organized”– the bipartisanUnited Solutions Caucus. (Arizona Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick is also a member. Both are in the above photo of the caucus.)
The United Solutions Caucus is made up of Democrats and Republicans who “meet weekly to find shared solutions to our nation’s problems,” Sinema told the Arizona Democrats. Caucus members “put partisanship aside and solve problems.”
Perhaps, Sinema, Kirkpatrick, and Barber are fence-sitters because they won their Congressional races with the lowest percentages in Arizona– 48.7%, 48.8%, and 50.4%, respectively. The conventional wisdom is that since these three are in swing districts they have to act like Republicans (at least some of the time) to win re-election. Unfortunately, when Democratic candidates vote like Republicans, they lose support from the Democratic donors and the foot soldiers who helped them win the offices in the first place. When the choice is Republican vs an uninspiring and not-to-be-counted-on Republican-lite “Democrat”, the voter response is: “Phhht…Who cares?” In 2010, when Republicans took over the House of Representatives in the Tea Party revolt, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was one of the few Blue Dog Democrats to win re-election. (It was a squeaker, and some of the credit for Giffords' win goes to the spoiler Libertarian candidate.)
Important votes are coming up on cuts to food stamps, on increases in the interest rates on student loans, and on immigration reform, will these three stand as strong Democrats on these issues? All we can do is hope.
P.S. In the above video Sinema clearly states that she organized the United Solutions Caucus. A bit of stretch? The United Solutions Flickr site and web site both say this about the group’s founder:
The United Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan group of freshman Congressman Patrick E. Murphy organized with co-chair Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-OH) who are dedicated to finding common ground and addressing the nation’s fiscal issues with bipartisan, long-term solutions. [Oops.]
City of Tucson’s Official 242nd Birthday FREE Monday, August 21st at the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson 5:30 pm Gates open Music by Los Changuitos Feos 6:00 – 6:45 pm Flag and Cannon Firing Ceremony 6:45 pm Family-friendly food tasting celebrating the … Continue reading →
Hosted by AEA Latino Outreach and 3 others “It’s time for our candidates to let us know how they specifically plan to fix our broken public education system. Arizona Center for Empowerment is inviting candidates running for governor, the Arizona … Continue reading →
The RSVP Deadline is August 19th The Child Separation Fiasco: How did we get here? The policy of family separation evoked alarm and outrage from the general public this summer. But this practice is merely the latest in a decades-long … Continue reading →
“Brought to you by the Pima County Public Defenders Office and the Reentry Coalition of Pima County. Whether you have a family member who has recently been incarcerated, is serving a long sentence, preparing to release, or has recently released, … Continue reading →
“Join us on August 24 to learn about the current status of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the opportunities in revisiting the agreement, and the current status of negotiations between Canada, Mexico and the United States. Mr. Lopez will also discuss … Continue reading →
August 25, 2018 Special Day Full of Fun and Excitement in Greenlee County, AZ! Contact Greenlee County Democratic Party Chair, Susan Breen, for more information and to let her know you’ll be there. Email: email@example.com 10:00 AM –Save Our Schools … Continue reading →
“This year for Women’s Equality Day (Aug 25), Tucson NOW and the other organizations involved in the Courageous Conversations event planning are having a fundraising event at Dusty Monk (see flyer above). A portion of the sales will go toward … Continue reading →
AZ Celebrates The 19th Amendment 2018 Sun, August 26, 2018, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM DESCRIPTION “This year’s program is all about the women. . . the ones who are courageously speaking out about their past abuse and harassment through … Continue reading →
LD 10 Rep. Kirsten Engel will be speaking about the Southwest Key Facility & Family Separation at Arizona’s Border. She was first elected in Nov. 2016 and is facing a 4 way Dem primary on August 28, 2018 (for 2 seats). … Continue reading →
Hosted by Tucson Refugee and Iskashitaa Refugee Network “Learn the facts about refugee resettlement and gain knowledge on the struggles and successes of a new American: • Who is a Refugee, Asylee or an Immigrant? • Review of Global, National, … Continue reading →
Vote in the Democratic, Republican or Green primaries for several offices this August: all Arizona statewide offices (i.e. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, two on Corporation Commission, etc.); as well as one U.S. Senate … Continue reading →
“Join the Tucson David Garcia Team, we will be watching the returns come in, eating some delicious food, and celebrating all of our efforts in Tucson! This special night belongs to all of the volunteers and staff of the campaign! … Continue reading →
“You’re invited to our 2018 Primary Night Unity Party! Join us as we come together to celebrate the end of Primary season and the beginning of the 2018 General Election. Sit back, relax, and watch the Primary Election results roll … Continue reading →
“Come celebrate with Kelly Fryer and watch the Primary Election Night results! We are so grateful to all of our supporters who have powered this campaign so far, and hope you can join us on this special night as we … Continue reading →
“Over a year after Steve began his non-stop road trip across Arizona, we will have our victory party right back where we kicked off the campaign, The Arizona Inn! Doors open and 6:30. Come to join us and watch live … Continue reading →
Hosted by Maricopa County Democratic Party andArizona Democratic Party “Come watch Primary Election Results with the Arizona Democratic Party and MCDP! This event is free (contributions welcome). Join us as we learn which candidates will move on to November.” https://www.facebook.com/events/600018750399463/Share … Continue reading →
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29 AT 7:30PM | REGULAR ADMISSION PRICES Commemorate the 50th anniversary of the legendary 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago (held August 26–29) at this special screening of Haskell Wexler’s acclaimed 1969 political documentary/drama, Medium Cool, shot during … Continue reading →
“Join your fellow Arizona Democrats as we rally together in unity after the primary and head toward the general election together, to elect Democrats up and down the ballot across AZ. This event is free, but contributions are welcome.” Hosted … Continue reading →
With the Nov. 6 general election getting closer every day, our mission of covering "Politics from a liberal viewpoint" has never been more important. Your donation will directly be a force for change for the better in Arizona.