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Here’s Who Killed the American Middle Class – and Why

The proof is in the pudding.
I thought this article is quite interesting in explaining the declining of democracy in U.S.A; and the condition of the middle class who have been reduced to poverty by the very politicians who they elected for their well being.
So who were the Republican and Democratic politicians behind the wholesale transformation of America, and where are they now?
Well…..
Here’s Who Killed the American Middle Class – and Why
By SHAH GILANI, Capital Wave Strategist, Money Morning • @WallStreet_II • May 23, 2017
There’s a widening wealth gap in America. It took a generation, but the middle class in this country has been hollowed out. Most people agree on that. But they don’t really know how it happened or who’s really to blame – it’s been obscured with false narratives, covered with “fake news.”
The thing is, the truth is in front of us. We’re living it in real time. It’s just never discussed openly – for a reason.
The people who are behind this catastrophic American collapse have fooled folks into thinking this is all normal.
Well, it’s anything but that…
Who to Blame for the Disappearing Middle Class
Republicans aren’t to blame: Their old-school platform of a smaller federal government, fiscal conservatism, more power to the states, and belief that a lightly regulated path to working hard and standing on your own two feet is what made America the global bastion of entrepreneurship and helped create a middle class that is laudable and fair.
Democrats aren’t to blame: Their old-school platform of a larger, more interventionist federal government, spending on social programs, supporting and safeguarding workers, all kinds of civil rights, protections for the environment, and their belief that government should stand behind those not able to stand on their own two feet, or who have been trampled by runaway businesses, helped create a middle class that is equally laudable and fair.
The two parties, with their visions and flaws balanced by democracy, made America great… once.
What happened is greedy, neo-con, profiteering Republican crony capitalists hijacked their party, while greedy, limousine liberal, profiteering Democrat crony capitalists hijacked their party. Together, as a new class of elites joined the Masters of the Universe, they began manipulating state apparatuses and banking for fun and profit…
A lot of profit.
The crony capitalists’ principal enrichment tools are “financialization” and, as we’ll see a little later this week, its manservant, “globalization.”
Financialization is the retooling of the economy’s production and distribution assets, consisting of made-in-America goods and services, into credit-driven banking and financial services products.
At its core, financialization is the transfer of low-risk, low-profit debt into high-risk, high-profit products.
The net result of the mass commodification of debt-based financial instruments and leveraged debt (grossly under-collateralized by low-risk debt) is rampant speculation.
This heavy betting, however, isn’t undertaken just for the sake of pyramiding risks for speculative gains. These so-called “products” are now integral and necessary investment tools because traditional, safe investments don’t yield adequate returns in the world of financialization.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), in 1980, financial services contributed 4.9% to the country’s GDP. At its peak in 2006, that contribution had almost doubled to 8.3%.
More to the point, in terms of profitability, James Kwak, law professor at the University of Connecticut, calculated in 1980 the financial industry’s profits as a share of total U.S. business profits was 7.5%. That share of all business profits in corporate America jumped to more than 41% by the mid-2000s.
U.S. GDP in 2016 was $18.56 trillion, according to the BEA. In full view of financial services’ share of GDP (which is rising again) and its share of corporate profits (also on the march to new highs), it’s impossible not to see the financialization of the U.S. economy.
Worse, it’s actually become the beating black heart of the economy. It’s happening that way by design…
How the Financialization Scam Became Settled Public Policy
The road to financialization began with the overturning of longstanding public and economic protections, starting with the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980, a Trojan horse that let banks establish holding companies and gave the Fed more power over more banks.
That major deregulatory action was followed quickly by the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982, which leveled the playing field for banks and their holding companies experiencing competitive disintermediation and decreasing profitability.
Ultimately, a series of subsequent rules- and regulations-trimming by banks’ congressional cronies culminated in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, whose main function was the total repeal of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act that had for decades separated insured, deposit-taking commercial banks from swashbuckling investment banks.
That’s how elitist Democrats and Republicans paved a super highway for the financialization of the American economy and their enrichment from the country’s transformation.
So who were the Republican and Democratic politicians behind the wholesale transformation of America, and where are they now?
You’d be shocked at how many of them you know as senators, House members, cabinet secretaries, principal regulators… Supposed stalwart guardians of American prosperity who’ve become filthy rich at the expense of the middle class, on whose backs and from whose labor and savings they’ve enriched themselves (and their reelection war chests). I’ve written thousands of pages in Insights and Indictments naming names and calling these sellouts what they really are: crony capitalist pigs.
The proof is in the pudding.
Actually, make that pooling.
Without financialization, we never would have had the subprime mortgage crisis and the market and financial system crashes.
I’ll show you how.
Home mortgages used to originate “locally,” with banks, thrifts, and credit unions that knew their communities, as well as the value of properties and creditworthiness of borrowers in those communities. Mortgage loans mostly stayed on the books of lending institutions until maturity or until properties were sold.
That was great for stability and fairness, and making sure things remain sustainable… but the trouble was, no one got filthy stinkin’ rich on it…
Financialization, with its cheap come-on capital, its dodgy pooling techniques, its structuring, its tranches, derivatives and synthetic derivatives of derivatives, turned a utility service into a speculative pyramid of leveraged loans that looked and acted more like a Ponzi scheme than the sophisticated, high-yielding, safe (a lot of them packaged with government approval and guarantees) financial instruments they were made out to be by rating agency co-conspirators.
We all know how that ended.
Thing is, it didn’t actually end there. How could it have? As horrific as the financial crisis was, as much wealth was vaporized, there was still lots more blood to drain from the middle and working classes – and their children.
A Bad Idea Gets Much, Much Worse
That bloodletting comes in the pooling of student loan debt. If anything, it’s even more sickening than the financialization of mortgage debt.
As if leveraging the living daylights out of the American dream of home ownership wasn’t enough, the financial vampires of the political class saw an opportunity in that other great American dream: higher education – the burning desire of people to better their lot and improve their wages and prospects at colleges and universities.
What happened to professors’, administrators’, state schools’, and private schools’ goals of helping Americans get a higher education for the fair wages they earned and the balanced budgets they hoped to achieve?
As horrific as the financial crisis was, as much wealth was vaporized, there was still lots more blood to drain from the middle and working classes – and their children.
They got greedy. They’re all in the big for-profit game now, thanks to financialization.
Hopeful students are suckered into cheap loans which are, of course, pooled, leveraged, sliced, diced, and sold to investors. The cash those investors fork over can be used to make more loans, to pyramid (or Ponzi, if you choose) students’ hopes and dreams that a higher education means a higher standard of living.
And if those loans are in arrears, in default, and don’t get paid back – hey – investors don’t have to worry.
The government, which is to say crony capitalist congressmen and women, have fixed that potentially profit-leaking hole.
You see, making student debtors “low risk” by having the state guarantee payment of interest and principal to investors – while extracting more payment from grossly indebted students (plenty of whom never graduate), no matter the cost or the poverty level of those beleaguered, unemployed, underemployed, and generally struggling indebted borrowers – means that more loans can be pushed like dope to the uninitiated who have no idea about the trap they’re being lured into.
And as for the neo-liberal educators and liberal arts universities who want more kids – customers – to get a better education, they’re making hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries and tens of millions of profits every year.
That’s financialization at work.
It’s not at work alone. Later this week in my Insights & Indictments service, I’m going to show you how globalization is taking these crony capitalist schemes big time, as in, worldwide, trapping billions in a state of permanent poverty. Click here to get my update as soon as it’s released, and you’ll get all of my Insights & Indictments research, too – free.
Together, we’ll play the crony capitalists’ game while working to destroy it.
Follow Shah on Facebook and Twitter.

The priest beggar – Your good deeds will always be repaid to you

 Once upon a time Shree Krishna and Arjun went for a short stroll around the city. They saw a poor looking priest begging. Arjun felt pity at him and he gave him a bag full of 100 gold coins. The priest became very happy and thanked Arjun. He left for his home. On way, he saw another person who needed help. The priest could have spared a coin or two to help that person. however, he chose to ignore it. But on way to his home, one thief robbed him of his bag of coins and ran away.

The priest became dejected and went back again for begging. Next day again when Arjun saw the same priest begging and he was surprised that after getting a bag full of coins which can last a lifetime, the priest was still begging! He called the priest and asked him the reason for this. The priest told him about the whole incident and Arjun again felt pity at him. So, this time he gave him a diamond.

The priest became very happy and left for home and he again saw someone who needed help but he chose to ignore again. Upon reaching home, he safely put the diamond in an empty pot of water with a plan to cash it out later and live a wealthy life. His wife was not at home. He was very tired so he decided to take a nap. In between, his wife came home and picked up that empty pot of water, walked towards the river close by to fill up the water. She had not noticed the diamond in the pot. Upon arriving at the river, she put the whole pot into the running river water to fill it up. She filled up the pot but the diamond was gone with the water flow!

When the priest woke up, he went to see the pot and asked his wife about the diamond. She told him, she had not noticed it and it must have been lost in the river. The priest couldn’t believe his bad luck and again started begging. Again Arjun and Shree Krishna saw him begging and Arjun inquired about it. Arjun felt bad and started thinking if this priest will ever have a happy life.

Shree Krishna who is an incarnation of God smiled. Shree Krishna gave that priest one coin which was not even enough for buying a lunch or dinner for one person. Arjun asked Shree Krishna, “Lord, I gave him gold coins and diamond, which could have given him a wealthy life, yet it didn’t help him. How will just one coin help this poor guy?” Shree Krishna smiled and told Arjun to follow that priest and find out.

On the way, the priest was thinking that one coin Shree Krishna gave him, he can’t even buy a lunch for one person. Why would he give so little? He saw a fisherman who was getting a fish out of his net. Fish was struggling. The priest felt pity at fish. He thought that this one coin won’t solve my problem, why not I save that fish. So the priest paid the fisherman and took the fish. He put the fish in his small pot of water which he always carried with him.

The fish was struggling in a small pot of water, ended up throwing out a diamond from the mouth! The priest screamed with a joy, “I got it, I got it”. At that same point, the thief who had robbed the priest’s bag of 100 gold coins, was passing through there. He thought that the priest recognized him and may get him punished. He got nervous and ran to the priest. He apologized to the priest and returned his bag full of 100 gold coins. The priest couldn’t believe what just happened.

Arjun saw all this and said, “Oh Lord, Now I understand your play”.

Moral: When you have enough to help others, don’t let that chance go. Your good deeds will always be repaid to you.

 

Explaining ISIS – Securing a better future

Also known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State (IS).

ISIS aims to create an Islamic state called a caliphate across Iraq, Syria and beyond.The group is implementing Sharia Law, rooted in eighth century Islam, to establish a society that mirrors the region’s ancient past.

ISIS is known for killing dozens of people at a time and carrying out public executions, crucifixions, and other acts.

READ: ISIS goes global: 90 attacks in 21 countries have killed nearly 1,400 people

ISIS is believed to be holding 3,500 people as slaves, according to a 2016 United Nations report. Most of the enslaved are women and children from the Yazidi community, but some are from other ethnic and religious minority communities.

Swearing in new Woman Deputy Secretary-General @UN

Ms. Amina J. Mohammed was Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from November 2015 to December 2016, where she steered the country’s efforts on climate action, protecting the natural environment and conserving resources for sustainable development.
Prior to this, she served as Special Adviser to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning, where she was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

Before joining the UN, Ms. Mohammed worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals, providing advice on issues including poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development, and coordinating programs worth $1 billion annually for MDG-related interventions.

The OIG for the DHS announced it will be reviewing DHS’ implementation of President Trump’s immigration ban





U.S. immigration officials detained refugees, as well as holders of valid U.S. visas and green cards, from seven majority-Muslim nations: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen following the orders from Washington.

Trump signed an executive order Friday indefinitely barring all Syrian refugees from entering the United States and suspending all refugee admissions for 120 days. It also prohibits citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, whether they are refugees or not.

The Office Inspector General (OIG) for the Homeland Security Department (DHS) announced late Wednesday that it will be reviewing DHS’ implementation of President Trump’s immigration ban, signed by Mr. Trump on Friday.

Growth potential for urbanization – Tanzania Economy

VIWIDA-USA improves and enriches the life experiences of Women and Youth across the globe.

Developing Tanzania to meet the growing population.

Tanzania economy has developed since 2015 due to an economic outlook that’s very diversify, but Tanzania need to find a winning sector that will enable them to compete in an international scale.

Hurry! Time is running out to take these exclusive courses!

Can you believe the #YALILearns Challenge officially ends next week? It is amazing how quickly the time has gone! While you have until October 1 to earn your special #YALILearns badge by submitting your event report, the new Learn to Lead courses will no longer be available after next week. Here are the courses you could miss out on if you don’t take action now:

#YALIGoesGreen
The YALI Network Learn to Lead #YALIGoesGreen courses not only provide a basic understanding of climate change, but also teach you how to put your green plan into action!

Going Green for Social Entrepreneurs
Going Green for Business Entrepreneurs
#Africa4Her

Many girls can’t fulfill their dreams of receiving an education or starting their own business, just because of their gender. Our Learn to Lead #Africa4Her courses will help you learn ways to address this issue in your community.

Skill Building for Girls Advocacy
Empowering Women Entrepreneurs
#YALIVotes

The #YALIVotes courses are a great way to learn communication, networking, and team management skills that you can use to lead your community. After you take these two courses, you will be able to organize your own grassroots advocacy campaign and connect with public officials in your community.

Engaging with Public Officials for Positive Change
Organizing Grassroots Advocacy Campaigns

So, if you haven’t taken a Learn to Lead course yet, don’t delay–these Learn to Lead courses will be gone before you know it!

Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness

 

As a housing provider, you can play a big role in supporting the education of young people experiencing homelessness. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, a federal law, governs the implementation of Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness (ECYEH) Program. Currently, there are over 26,000 K-12 students in Pennsylvania (2014-15 data) that may need additional support due to their homeless status. These students include those children and youth who:

  • are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals;
  • have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
  • are living in cars, parks, public spaces or abandoned buildings, sub- standard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
  • are “migratory children” (see further information regarding homeless students in the Education for Homeless Youth Basic Education Circular at  www.education.state.pa.us/homeless)

There are many resources to assist in these efforts through the regional network of ECYEH coordinators – go to http://homeless.center-school.org to see the regional map for local program contact information.  And if you are not connected with the local school district homeless liaison/s in your area, visit the statewide online liaison directory at http://homeless.center-school.org/ homeless directory  for a complete liaison listing.  At this site, you will also find a listing of family/youth shelters available to families with children and unaccompanied youth.  If your program/agency is not listed, or if the information needs to be updated, please contact your ECYEH regional coordinator.

 

Free leadership development training is available for families of children who receive Infant-Toddler Early Intervention or Pre-School Early Intervention Services.  Competence and Confidence Partners in Policymaking for Families in Early Intervention (C2P2EI) will be offered in four 2-day sessions: October 28-29, December 2-3, January 27-28, and April 28-29 at the Lancaster Host Resort and Conference Center. For more information contact Cathy Roccia-Meier at cathyRM@temple.edu or visit http://disabilities.temple.edu/programs/leadership/c2p2ei.shtml

Philadelphia Police fulfilled their duty to protect people’s right to Protest – Great work!

According to amnesty international, Police in Philadelphia handled protesters very well fulfilling their duty to protect people’s right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, police officers from other states should learn something from Philly police

Amnesty Insider 2016

PROTECTING THE RIGHT TO PROTEST

Amnesty International USA deployed a delegation of human rights observers to monitor protests and marches in Cleveland and Philadelphia for the political conventions – in order to help ensure that people’s human right to protest peacefully is respected.

Our observers in Cleveland saw mostly peaceful protests, with police securing march routes and taking steps to ensure the safety of protesters and the public. We are still reviewing notes and videos of the citations that police gave to protestors to better understand the context and the police response.

Now in Philadelphia, our team has been seeing peaceful protest, with police largely appearing to be fulfilling their duty to protect people’s right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. You can read more about the delegation of human rights observers here. You can follow more updates on our Twitter and Facebook.

In the weeks ahead, Amnesty will send letters to law enforcement leaders in both cities – and state and federal policymakers – outlining what the observers saw and what lessons can be drawn from how the protests were handled.

INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S NOTE

Margaret HuangWe’ve had powerful reminders this month of how important it is to ensure that people’s rights are respected everywhere, with the shootings of and by police in the U.S., the attacks in Nice, Mogadishu, Munich, Baghdad, Dhaka and Kabul, the brutal crackdown following the failed coup in Turkey, and so many other events.

Amnesty International’s work has never been more critical – and it’s never been more important for us to have a strong voice in the U.S. that’s connected to our global movement.

Last week, AIUSA Board Chair Ann Burroughs and I were in Barcelona to meet with the directors and chairs of other Amnesty International sections across the globe and plan our shared work as a movement. It was inspiring to share experiences and ideas with our colleagues from around the world. We addressed a number of key issues including governance reform proposals that would replace the current International Council Meeting (ICM) with a new Global Assembly; a new procedure for discussing and adopting contentious policies; and the new global campaign for refugees which launches in September. We’ll be sharing more about these discussions with you in the weeks and months ahead.

From AIUSA’s observer delegations in Cleveland and Philadelphia to researchers documenting human rights crises in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and all around the world, Amnesty is always focused on defending the human rights of every person–no matter who or where they are.

None of this work is possible without you. Your support and activism make Amnesty the powerful force for change in so many places around the world.

Thank you!

Margaret Huang
Interim Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

Turkey Coup

TURKEY: HARD-WON RIGHTS CANNOT BE TAKEN AWAY

The Turkish authorities’ reaction to a bloody failed coup attempt on July 15 was swift and brutal, unleashing a troubling crackdown.

Detainees have been denied food, water and medical treatment, and verbally abused and threatened. Some have been subjected to severe beatings and torture.

Amnesty International is pressing Turkish authorities to condemn torture and other ill-treatment in places of detention, and take concrete steps to end abuses. We need to make sure hard-won human rights in Turkey are respected, protected and fulfilled. The state of emergency must not roll back human rights in Turkey.

Take Action Now.

Saudi Arabia UNHRC

SUSPEND SAUDI ARABIA FROM UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

The evidence is mounting—Saudi Arabia has committed gross and systemic violations of human rights abroad and at home, and used its position on the UN Human Rights Council to obstruct justice for possible war crimes.

Saudi Arabia has executed minors, killed civilians in airstrikes and blocked investigations into possible war crimes, all since joining the UN Human Rights Council. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have come together to demand that the international community hold Saudi Arabia accountable.

Join us in calling on the UN General Assembly to immediately suspend Saudi Arabia from the Human Rights Council.

Donate to AmnestyRaif Badawi, a blogger in Saudi Arabia, withstood 50 excruciating lashes. His full sentence requires a total of 1,000 lashes and 10 years of confinement – all because he published a blog that promoted religious freedom.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s government sits on a key human rights body – the UN Human Rights Council.

This hypocrisy cannot stand.

Saudi Arabia’s government has used its position on the Human Rights Council to shield itself from accountability. That’s why Saudi Arabia should be suspended from the Council. Donate and support our work pressuring UN member states to take action.

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2016 Regional ConferencesThe 2016 Regional Conferences promise to be some of the best we’ve ever had.No matter which AIUSA region you call home, you’ll have an incredible time hearing from inspiring speakers, networking with other activists, learning about the most pressing human rights issues of our time, developing your organizer skill set and shaping AIUSA policy.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity. Stay in the loop by saving the date and learning more about your regional conference on our website.