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Who’s Really Looting America?As hundreds of thousands take to...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/06/2020 - 6:19am in

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Who’s Really Looting America?As hundreds of thousands take to the streets to protest ruthless police killings of Black Americans and centuries of systemic racism, Donald Trump and his enablers have been quick to cast the protesters as violent “looters” – and distract from the real looters of America.

So far, over 10,000 Americans have been arrested during the wave of protests. Yet a decade ago, after Wall Street bankers looted America through predatory lending and securities fraud – often preying upon people of color and causing American households to lose roughly $19 trillion in total wealth – not a single top Wall Street executive went to prison. Instead, they received billions in taxpayer bailouts, and executives took home massive bonuses.

Now, during the coronavirus pandemic and an unprecedented economic crisis, America’s billionaires have seen their wealth soar by $434 billion. How? Their corporations lobbied for and got $500 billion in bailouts and they got $135 billion in tax breaks. And the Treasury Department and the Fed are erasing the corporate debt they amassed over the last few years so their corporations could buy back their shares of stock. Meanwhile, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Walmart, and other corporate giants are using their vast market power to rack up record profits.

The corporate looting doesn’t stop there. Just look at the epidemic of wage theft through misclassifying employees as independent contractors and denying workers the overtime pay they are due. Every year, American employers steal a combined $15 billion in income from their workers, whether white, black or brown.

The most profitable corporations in America are also looting America of billions in taxes through loopholes, write-offs, and special exemptions they’ve successfully lobbied for. Amazon paid just a 1.2 percent tax rate on $13 billion in profit in 2019. Other companies, including Chevron, Halliburton, and Netflix, haven’t paid a dime in federal taxes in recent years. The United States loses nearly $70 billion a year in tax revenue because corporations loot America by shifting their profits to tax havens overseas.

Meanwhile, entire industries loot Black and brown communities. Predatory payday lenders, focusing on communities of color, offer loans with sky-high interest rates and hidden fees that trap borrowers in a never-ending cycle of poverty. The bail bond industry profits from mass incarceration and the failed war on drugs, as does America’s prison-industrial complex – keeping over 2 million Americans behind bars, disproportionately black and brown. All these corporations have platoons of lobbyists that keep their looting going.

Here’s what Donald Trump and his corporate cronies will never admit: The worst looting in America isn’t breaking windows at Target or Wells Fargo. It’s billions of dollars in wage theft, unjustifiable tax breaks for the top 1 percent, corporate tax havens, predatory loans, bail bonds, mass incarceration, and crooked Wall Street bankers who have never been accountable to anything but their bottom line. 

By pitting us against each other – blaming immigrants, blaming liberals, and especially blaming people of color, and Black people in particular – they’ve divided us, and gotten away with it.

This needs to end. Stand together, and know the truth about the real looters in America.

Who’s Really Looting America?As hundreds of thousands take to...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/06/2020 - 6:19am in

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Video

Who’s Really Looting America?As hundreds of thousands take to the streets to protest ruthless police killings of Black Americans and centuries of systemic racism, Donald Trump and his enablers have been quick to cast the protesters as violent “looters” – and distract from the real looters of America.

So far, over 10,000 Americans have been arrested during the wave of protests. Yet a decade ago, after Wall Street bankers looted America through predatory lending and securities fraud – often preying upon people of color and causing American households to lose roughly $19 trillion in total wealth – not a single top Wall Street executive went to prison. Instead, they received billions in taxpayer bailouts, and executives took home massive bonuses.

Now, during the coronavirus pandemic and an unprecedented economic crisis, America’s billionaires have seen their wealth soar by $434 billion. How? Their corporations lobbied for and got $500 billion in bailouts and they got $135 billion in tax breaks. And the Treasury Department and the Fed are erasing the corporate debt they amassed over the last few years so their corporations could buy back their shares of stock. Meanwhile, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Walmart, and other corporate giants are using their vast market power to rack up record profits.

The corporate looting doesn’t stop there. Just look at the epidemic of wage theft through misclassifying employees as independent contractors and denying workers the overtime pay they are due. Every year, American employers steal a combined $15 billion in income from their workers, whether white, black or brown.

The most profitable corporations in America are also looting America of billions in taxes through loopholes, write-offs, and special exemptions they’ve successfully lobbied for. Amazon paid just a 1.2 percent tax rate on $13 billion in profit in 2019. Other companies, including Chevron, Halliburton, and Netflix, haven’t paid a dime in federal taxes in recent years. The United States loses nearly $70 billion a year in tax revenue because corporations loot America by shifting their profits to tax havens overseas.

Meanwhile, entire industries loot Black and brown communities. Predatory payday lenders, focusing on communities of color, offer loans with sky-high interest rates and hidden fees that trap borrowers in a never-ending cycle of poverty. The bail bond industry profits from mass incarceration and the failed war on drugs, as does America’s prison-industrial complex – keeping over 2 million Americans behind bars, disproportionately black and brown. All these corporations have platoons of lobbyists that keep their looting going.

Here’s what Donald Trump and his corporate cronies will never admit: The worst looting in America isn’t breaking windows at Target or Wells Fargo. It’s billions of dollars in wage theft, unjustifiable tax breaks for the top 1 percent, corporate tax havens, predatory loans, bail bonds, mass incarceration, and crooked Wall Street bankers who have never been accountable to anything but their bottom line. 

By pitting us against each other – blaming immigrants, blaming liberals, and especially blaming people of color, and Black people in particular – they’ve divided us, and gotten away with it.

This needs to end. Stand together, and know the truth about the real looters in America.

7 Ways 2020 Has Exposed AmericaIf we learn nothing else from...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/06/2020 - 6:11am in

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7 Ways 2020 Has Exposed America

If we learn nothing else from these dark times, here are 7 lessons we should take away from 2020:

1. Workers keep America going, not billionaires. American workers are forced to put their lives on the line to provide essential services, even as their employers fail to provide them with adequate protective gear. Meanwhile, America’s billionaires have retreated to their mansions, yachts and estates.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos returned to his 165,000-acre West Texas ranch while Amazon’s warehouse workers toil in close proximity to each other, often without masks, gloves, or  sanitizer. The company has already scrapped the measly $2 an hour hazard pay increase it gave warehouse workers, even as Bezos’ wealth has jumped by a staggering $23.6 billion since the start of the pandemic.

2. Systemic racism is literally killing black and brown Americans. African Americans account for 42 percent of coronavirus deaths so far, despite representing only 21 percent of the population. As they bear the brunt of this pandemic, African Americans are forced to fight for their humanity in another regard — taking to the streets across the country to protest decades of unjust police killings of their community members, only to be met with more police violence. 

And among Native American communities, the coronavirus figures are even more horrifying. The Navajo Nation has a higher per-capita infection rate than any state but can’t adequately care for the sick, thanks to years of federal underfunding and neglect of its healthcare system. 

Decades of segregated housing, pollution, lack of access to medical care, and poverty have left communities of color vulnerable to the worst of this virus, and the worst of America.

3. If we can afford to bail out corporations and Wall Street, we sure as hell can afford to invest in the American people. I’m sick and tired of hearing we can’t afford Medicare for All, or a Green New Deal or eliminating student debt – in the same breath that Congress hands out billions to big banks, corporations, and the wealthy. 

At the insistence of Senate Republicans and the Trump administration, coronavirus relief legislation has doled out at least $243 million to big corporations, including $72 million to oil and gas companies and $25 million to the airline industry. Millionaires have received $82 billion in tax cuts. The GOP couldn’t care less about “fiscal responsibility” even during a national crisis. It’s a question of priorities, not what we can afford.

4. Governors and mayors are running the country, not Trump. While Trump spews lies and attacks the media, local and state leaders have had no choice but to step up and tackle the pandemic on their own. They have struck deals with foreign nations to obtain tests and medical equipment, and developed inter-state pacts to coordinate purchases and regional guidelines for when and how to reopen. 

The Trump administration hasn’t just sat on the sidelines and left it up to the states — it’s actively thrown obstacles in their way. Trump and his lackeys have refused to help states secure ventilators, ordered FEMA to seize states’ shipments of personal protective equipment, threatened to sue states that maintain lockdown orders, and even suggested holding states hostage to federal aid until they end sanctuary cities. Meanwhile, Trump says he plans to send our precious supply of ventilators to his dear friend, Vladimir Putin. Funny how that works.

5. Health care must be made a right in America. In the wealthiest country on earth, it is a moral outrage that Americans can’t even receive the care they need during a pandemic. 

Even before this crisis struck, an estimated 27 million Americans didn’t have health insurance. And according to a recent report, an additional 43 million could soon lose employer-provided coverage because they’ve lost their job. Without insurance, a hospital stay to treat COVID-19 could cost as much as $73,000. Remember this the next time you hear pundits saying Medicare for All is too radical.

6. Our social safety nets are woefully broken. No other advanced nation was as unprepared for the pandemic as was the United States. We don’t provide universal health care. We’re one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t provide all workers some form of paid sick leave. 

Other industrialized nations kept their unemployment rates low by guaranteeing paychecks during the pandemic. Here, as of mid-May, 36.5 million Americans have filed for unemployment and received just a one-time $1,200 check to hold them over. And this number is probably underestimated – unemployment offices have been so overwhelmed that many claims can’t even be filed.

7. Government matters. For decades, conservatives have told us that government is the problem and that we should let the free market run its course. Rubbish. The coronavirus pandemic has shown, yet again, that the unfettered free market won’t save us. After 40 years of Reaganism, it’s never been clearer: Government is in fact necessary to protect the public.

It’s tragic that it took record unemployment, graphic videos of Black Americans being murdered, and millions of people taking to the streets for many of us to grasp how broken, backwards, and racist our system really is. 

We cannot cling to the idea of “going back to normal” because “normal” is what got us here. We can no longer accept piecemeal reforms of our broken systems. We need to reimagine a political and economic system that values humanity and builds prosperity for every American. Let’s get to work.

7 Ways 2020 Has Exposed AmericaIf we learn nothing else from...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/06/2020 - 6:11am in

Tags 

Video

7 Ways 2020 Has Exposed America

If we learn nothing else from these dark times, here are 7 lessons we should take away from 2020:

1. Workers keep America going, not billionaires. American workers are forced to put their lives on the line to provide essential services, even as their employers fail to provide them with adequate protective gear. Meanwhile, America’s billionaires have retreated to their mansions, yachts and estates.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos returned to his 165,000-acre West Texas ranch while Amazon’s warehouse workers toil in close proximity to each other, often without masks, gloves, or  sanitizer. The company has already scrapped the measly $2 an hour hazard pay increase it gave warehouse workers, even as Bezos’ wealth has jumped by a staggering $23.6 billion since the start of the pandemic.

2. Systemic racism is literally killing black and brown Americans. African Americans account for 42 percent of coronavirus deaths so far, despite representing only 21 percent of the population. As they bear the brunt of this pandemic, African Americans are forced to fight for their humanity in another regard — taking to the streets across the country to protest decades of unjust police killings of their community members, only to be met with more police violence. 

And among Native American communities, the coronavirus figures are even more horrifying. The Navajo Nation has a higher per-capita infection rate than any state but can’t adequately care for the sick, thanks to years of federal underfunding and neglect of its healthcare system. 

Decades of segregated housing, pollution, lack of access to medical care, and poverty have left communities of color vulnerable to the worst of this virus, and the worst of America.

3. If we can afford to bail out corporations and Wall Street, we sure as hell can afford to invest in the American people. I’m sick and tired of hearing we can’t afford Medicare for All, or a Green New Deal or eliminating student debt – in the same breath that Congress hands out billions to big banks, corporations, and the wealthy. 

At the insistence of Senate Republicans and the Trump administration, coronavirus relief legislation has doled out at least $243 million to big corporations, including $72 million to oil and gas companies and $25 million to the airline industry. Millionaires have received $82 billion in tax cuts. The GOP couldn’t care less about “fiscal responsibility” even during a national crisis. It’s a question of priorities, not what we can afford.

4. Governors and mayors are running the country, not Trump. While Trump spews lies and attacks the media, local and state leaders have had no choice but to step up and tackle the pandemic on their own. They have struck deals with foreign nations to obtain tests and medical equipment, and developed inter-state pacts to coordinate purchases and regional guidelines for when and how to reopen. 

The Trump administration hasn’t just sat on the sidelines and left it up to the states — it’s actively thrown obstacles in their way. Trump and his lackeys have refused to help states secure ventilators, ordered FEMA to seize states’ shipments of personal protective equipment, threatened to sue states that maintain lockdown orders, and even suggested holding states hostage to federal aid until they end sanctuary cities. Meanwhile, Trump says he plans to send our precious supply of ventilators to his dear friend, Vladimir Putin. Funny how that works.

5. Health care must be made a right in America. In the wealthiest country on earth, it is a moral outrage that Americans can’t even receive the care they need during a pandemic. 

Even before this crisis struck, an estimated 27 million Americans didn’t have health insurance. And according to a recent report, an additional 43 million could soon lose employer-provided coverage because they’ve lost their job. Without insurance, a hospital stay to treat COVID-19 could cost as much as $73,000. Remember this the next time you hear pundits saying Medicare for All is too radical.

6. Our social safety nets are woefully broken. No other advanced nation was as unprepared for the pandemic as was the United States. We don’t provide universal health care. We’re one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t provide all workers some form of paid sick leave. 

Other industrialized nations kept their unemployment rates low by guaranteeing paychecks during the pandemic. Here, as of mid-May, 36.5 million Americans have filed for unemployment and received just a one-time $1,200 check to hold them over. And this number is probably underestimated – unemployment offices have been so overwhelmed that many claims can’t even be filed.

7. Government matters. For decades, conservatives have told us that government is the problem and that we should let the free market run its course. Rubbish. The coronavirus pandemic has shown, yet again, that the unfettered free market won’t save us. After 40 years of Reaganism, it’s never been clearer: Government is in fact necessary to protect the public.

It’s tragic that it took record unemployment, graphic videos of Black Americans being murdered, and millions of people taking to the streets for many of us to grasp how broken, backwards, and racist our system really is. 

We cannot cling to the idea of “going back to normal” because “normal” is what got us here. We can no longer accept piecemeal reforms of our broken systems. We need to reimagine a political and economic system that values humanity and builds prosperity for every American. Let’s get to work.

Συζητώντας για θέατρο, δημοσιογραφία και λοιπές διαστροφές με τον Κωνσταντίνο Πουλή. ΚΑΤΑΣΤΑΣΗ ΠΟΛΙΟΡΚΙΑΣ 13/6, ΜέΡΑ-TV

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 17/06/2020 - 2:26am in

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Σε μια συζήτηση που ξεκίνησε με τα παιδικά του χρόνια, πέρασε στο θέατρο και κατέληξε στον αγαπημένο φίλο Κώστα Εφήμερο και το ThePressProject, ο Κωνσταντίνος Πουλής με τίμησε με μια ανοικτή, από ψυχής, συνέντευξη.

Anish Kapoor on India, Israel, life in the UK and, of course, art, art and art. On DiEM-TV’s ANOTHER NOW, 15th June 2020

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 17/06/2020 - 2:09am in

I spent Monday night, 15th of June, chatting with Anish Kapoor for an hour. I began by asking him about life in 1950s India as the child of a Punjabi Hindu Admiral and a Bagdadi Jewish mother. Our conversation moved on to a Kibbutz in Israel before landing in Blighty and in particular Hornsby Art School, where he encountered a kind of freedom that art schools lack today. It shifted to form and poetry, to his various phases as a sculptor and multi-faceted artist. Thatcherism, commodification, the joys of solidarity and the need for progressive internationalism entered our conversation almost uninvited. It was a joy and an honour to spend those sixty minutes with him. Highly recommended viewing, even if I am saying so myself!

Economic Update: Dark Times, Hard Truths

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/06/2020 - 10:24pm in

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A weekly show focusing on the economic dimensions of everyday life and alternative ways to organize our economy and politics, with Prof. Richard D. Wolff.

Jitsi on Reclaim Cloud

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 15/06/2020 - 9:04pm in

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Open Source, Video

Zoom’s privacy record has been spotty at best for a while now, but recent news pointing to their shutting down activist’s accounts at the behest of the Chinese government is yet another reason to think twice before using that video conferencing service. As Zoom has taken pole position in the edtech industry along side the learning management system as schools seem unable to imagine teaching asynchronously, the idea of an open source alternative to Zoom seems welcome. BigBlueButton is an existing option that folks at the OpenETC use and seem quite happy with. Another I’ve heard a lot about more recently is Jitsi Meet, and it just so happens that Reclaim Cloud has a one-click installer for Jitsi so I spun one up for myself.


Blurring the background for that 3-D motion effect

Not only is Jitsi encrypted end-to-end, but it is also as intuitive and seamless as Zoom. It allows screen sharing, in-app sharing of YouTube videos, chat, hand raising, and full screen or tile view.

There are also speaker stats for clocking who talked for how long, as well as bandwidth indicators for each participant in order to help identify where any connection issues are originating.

There are also integrations with other applications, such as for communal editing of documents in Etherpad or connecting your Google calendar:

Rooms you create on the fly can quickly be secured by the host with a password to prevent Zoom-bombing, and as host you can set these parameters much like in Zoom.

Over the past two weeks we have used Jitsi internally at Reclaim Hosting and it has been seamless. We’ve had no issues with groups of 7 or 8, and one-click install in Reclaim Cloud can support up to 75 users, but if more spaces are needed the instance can be vertically scaled.*

Also, it is worth noting I was able to map the instance on a custom domain, and I now have yet another tool within the complex of my Domain that I can use as needed. Pretty slick.

One thing that is not possible with Jitsi on Reclaim Cloud just yet is recording the sessions within the instance. That is something we are currently exploring, and once that is possible I will be hard pressed to see the advantages of Zoom over Jitsi in any regard.

__________________________________

*Jitsi scales resources up and down based on usage (think of scaling light using a light dimmer) which means you only pay for what you use. What’s more, you can also turn off the instance when it’s not in use to save even more on resource usage, which is true of any application on Reclaim Cloud. Even when idle applications like Jitsi use a certain amount of server resources (what are termed Cloudlets), so turning off the instance until next usage is like turning off the lights in a room you won’t be occupying for a while to save energy and money.

The Extradition of Julian Assange – Video by Novara Media

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 13/06/2020 - 7:05pm in

Subscribe to Novara Media ⇛ https://novara.media/youtube

Πότε θα παραδεχθεί το Μνημονιακό Τόξο ότι το φιάσκο με Νετανιάχου, Χαφτάρ, και Σια ενισχύει τον Ερντογάν και υπονομεύει τα συμφέροντα της χώρας;

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/06/2020 - 4:21pm in

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Μας έλεγε ο κ. Τσίπρας, τότε που άρχισε τα χαριεντίσματα με τον στυγνό κ. Νετανιάχου, την Exxon, τον Τραμπ, και την Total, ότι έτσι περιθωριοποιείται η Τουρκία και αποκτά ερείσματα η Ελλάδα. Το ΜέΡΑ25 του απαντούσαμε ότι μόνο τον κ. Ερντογάν ενισχύει αυτή η νέα υποταγή του Μνημονιακού Τόξου, αυτή τη φορά μέσω της πρόσδεσης της χώρας στο άρμα Νετανιάχου-Exxon-Τραμπ.

Προειδοποιούσαμε ότι η προσπάθεια περικύκλωσης της Τουρκίας με ΑΟΖ, για πετρέλαια και φυσικά αέρια που η λογική απαιτεί να μείνουν στα έγκατα της γης, δίνει στην Άγκυρα ευκαιρία να προβάλει την ισχύ της σε όλη την Ανατολική Μεσόγειο και να δημιουργήσει εντάσεις στο Αιγαίο.

Έτσι κι έγινε. Η Τουρκία έκανε τον αντιπερισπασμό της μέσω Λιβύης.

Και τότε ο νέος Πρωθυπουργός του ίδιου Μνημονιακού Τόξου έκανε τον δικό του δήθεν αντιπερισπασμό: Κάλεσε στην Αθήνα τον Λίβυο πολέμαρχο Χαφτάρ ελπίζοντας στη νίκη του στον Λιβυκό Εμφύλιο ώστε να εμποδίσει την προβολή της Τουρκικής ισχύος νότια της Κρήτης.

Το ΜέΡΑ25 εγκαλέσαμε τον κ. Μητσοτάκη ότι έφερε μέσα το ελληνικό Κοινοβούλιο έναν νέο Κάραζιτς: έναν αιματοβαμμένο πολέμαρχο που, μάλιστα, θα αποτύχει και στρατιωτικά.

Έτσι κι έγινε. Η τουρκική στρατιωτική παρέμβαση απεδείχθη ικανή να κατατροπώσει τον Χαφτάρ.

Πότε θα παραδεχθεί το Μνημονιακό Τόξο ότι αυτό που τους λέει και ξαναλέει το ΜέΡΑ25 είναι η μόνη, η αυταπόδεικτη αλήθεια; Ότι μακριά από εμάς τα παιχνίδια με μισάνθρωπους όπως οι Νετανιάχου, Χαφτάρ και Σία; Ότι η χώρα μας πρέπει να πρωτοστατήσει στην ΕΕ και διεθνώς ώστε ο βυθός της Αν. Μεσογείου να μείνει άθικτος από τρυπάνια και οι θάλασσές μας να γίνουν μια τεράστια λίμνη συνεργασίας και πράσινης ανάπτυξης;

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