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sabrina 1

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Member since: Sun Mar 30, 2008, 05:51 AM
Number of posts: 46,028

Journal Archives

Rolling Jubilee: A Bailout by The People for The People. $15, 000,000 bought and disposed of!

I think it would be hard to disagree that this is one of the most brilliant programs so far. Too bad that Congress saw fit to force the people to bail out the Wall St Bankers and left the People to fend for themselves.


Maybe they just couldn't figure out a way to help the victims of those they bailed out. They are hopefully paying attention to OWS' Strike Debt which, according to Andrew Ross, a member of Strike Debt, was intended to be a 'public education' program regarding something known as the 'secondary debt market':

Occupy Wall St. Activists Buy $15 Million Personal Debt

"Our purpose in doing this, aside from helping some people along the way – there's certainly many, many people who are very thankful that their debts are abolished – our primary purpose was to spread information about the workings of this secondary debt market."

So far, and according to Rolling Jubilee, they bought all that debt for 'pennies on the dollar' and have relieved over 2,600 people of crushing debt. The cost to them for doing this was approximately $400,000. Imagine the profit there is in this secondary debt market. I'm there is insurance involved also, to cover the creditors.

Apparently buying people's debt really is big business.

The group has focussed on buying medical debt, and has acquired the $14.7m in three separate purchases, most recently purchasing the value of $13.5m on medical debt owed by 2,693 people across 45 states and Puerto Rico, Rolling Jubilee said in a press release.

“No one should have to go into debt or bankruptcy because they get sick,” said Laura Hanna, an organiser with the group. Hanna said 62% of all personal bankruptcies have medical debt as a contributing factor.

The way it works apparently, when people do not or cannot pay their debts, companies sell the debt VERY CHEAPLY to a 'secondary debt market'. Much more cheaply, according to Ross, than even he realized. The purchasers of the debt then attempt to collect all of it from the debtors, pressuring them with calls and threats etc.

Rolling Jubilee buys the debt, but rather than try to collect it, they forgive it, contacting the debtors to let them know 'you are off the hook'. Imagine the joy for people when they learn their debt has been paid?

Here's the reaction of one of those people:

Occupy Activists Buy Up People's Personal Debt

Washington — For a year and a half, 80-year-old Kentucky resident Shirley Logsdon received repeated calls from a debt collection agency over an unpaid medical bill.

Then one day, out of the blue, she received a letter saying the $983 debt had been handled -- purchased by Rolling Jubilee, a group linked to the Occupy Wall Street movement.

"I was dumbfounded but delighted, of course," Logsdon, who is retired along with her husband of 62 years, told AFP.

"We got a letter saying that everything had been resolved -- finally it is over, you don't have to worry, you don't owe us anything. (...) I didn't know these people. It was a godsend."

If a bunch of OWS activists could be this creative in finding a way to bail out the people, surely Congress, if they put their minds to it, could come up with something at least as creative. And although, as Strike Debt admits, what they have done so far is simply a drop in the bucket in terms of helping people like this, imagine what Congress could do with all the money and power THEY have?

There is something very wrong with a country when being sick plunges you into massive debt or trying to get an education. And when this happens, that predatory profiteers can extract huge profits by buying that debt and then persecuting people already mired in problems they cannot handle.

And worse, how differently the corrupt Wall St Bankers' debt is handled by contrast.

Thanks Occupiers, for removing the notion that 'nothing can be done' for the people. And for providing those burdened with debt with information on how cheaply their debt has been purchased. As Andrew Ross says:

“So when you get called up by the debt collector, and you're being asked to pay the full amount of your debt, you now know that the debt collector has bought your debt very, very cheaply. As cheaply as we bought it. And that gives you moral ammunition to have a different conversation with the debt collector."

Btw, Rolling Jubilee got the money to purchase the debt from donors. So thanks to all those great people who actually DO care. People can donate at the first link, I believe, if they can.

Occupy Madison To Permanently Occupy For Homeless. Right Wingers Not Happy.

You can always count on Right Wingers to become enraged when anyone tries to do something for the less fortunate. There's just something in the psyche of the far right that makes it impossible for them to have any empathy for their fellow human beings.

I'm not sure if anyone has been following Occupy Madison over the past year or so but Brenda Konkel, a former Madison Council Woman and OWS member has been working hard trying to provide shelter for the Homeless.

Many homeless people joined Occupy encampments across the country and when the crackdown broke up their encampments and State Officials provided nothing for them, OWS did not desert them.

Occupy Madison, eg, has become a non profit, with the intention of buying property to build 'tiny houses' so that the Homeless can feel more secure than they are in shelters or in other temporary places.

After visiting other 'tiny house' villages for the Homeless, in Ore and Washington eg, Brenda Konkel felt this could be a solution for Madison's homeless:

Homeless Advocates Hope Tiny Houses Villages Can Work For Madison Homeless

One impression Konkel says she is taking away from the tour is the role of fences. “Fences are important — it gives the community a sense of security and personal responsibility — and that gives people the right to govern what goes on there,” she wrote.

Konkel also remarks that “people have been able to make the model very successful with minimal intervention from the outside and it has resulted in very few problems in the surrounding community.”

So now, OMBuild Inc. (OccupyMadisonBuild) has raised enough money to make an offer on a piece of land where they would place 11 tiny houses. The homeless will help build them themselves:

Occupy Madison picks east side site for village of little houses

Occupy Madison is preparing to build a village of “little houses” for homeless people on the site of an auto body shop at the intersection of East Johnson and Third Streets. Plans call for the shop to be converted to a workshop where houses would be built and parked on the surrounding property.

Occupy Madison, which has organized as a nonprofit corporation, had an offer to purchase the property for $110,000 accepted, said Brenda Konkel, a member of the Occupy board of directors and well-known affordable housing and homeless services advocate. The property, at 2046-2050 E. Johnson Street, is currently home to Sanchez Motors.

“It’s almost perfect for our use,” Konkel said Wednesday.

Click on the comments after the article to see the reaction to this project.

There are issues that have to be resolved, but for the Far Right, attack, criticize and insult those who try to do some good, is all they know. Imagine if they were willing to help, to find alternatives if they don't like this one, to work WITH people who are trying to do some good. But all they can do is criticize.

One of them stupidly challenged Ms. Konkel to invite the Homeless into her own home if she wants to help them. She explained that she HAS had the Homeless in her home for over a year. No response to that from the smart ass.

Anyhow, she is doing great work along with all those who are working with her and I hope they can get started as soon as possible. People are wonderful sometimes, and OWS proves it every day!

There is a video of one of the houses already built but not on permanent property at this link. They really are a blessing for people who need to get off the street, to be warm and safe.

Group Builds Tiny Homes For Local Homeless

Michael (faster please) Ledeen on 11/10/13: 'It's Not Easy To Make A Deal With Iran ... '

Remember him? War mongering Neocon who advocated turning the ME into a 'sheet of glass' as fast as possible?

Member of Cheney's shadow government, war criminal, liar, and according to some 'one of the stupidest men in history'.

And, a huge fan of Machiavelli!

Every once in a while I look around to see where all the war criminals are hiding since their 'glory days' when you could not turn on your TV without having to listen to them lie to the American public for whom they had nothing but disdain.

I found this one still prattling away on his own blog where he describes himself in glorious terms and in case anyone is interested, he's available to speak to the media, for a price I'm sure.

I wanted to see what he thought of the Iran peace talks, being that he wanted to turn the entire ME into a glass parking lot.

From last week when it looked like there might not be a deal:

What Happened in Geneva, What Does it Mean

It’s not easy to make a deal with Iran (and even when you think you’ve made one, you might be wrong). The failure of the Geneva talks is just another in a long series of such failures. Even the public events are part of the well-established pattern: the secretary of state jumps on a plane and flies to meet with the Iranians. But when he gets there, he finds it’s not quite a done deal. And in the wee hours of the morning two days later, there’s no deal at all.

Remember that something very similar happened in September 2006, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice jumped on a plane in Washington and flew to New York, expecting to sign a deal at the United Nations with Iran’s Ali Larijani. The deal had been negotiated in secret over several months, and both sides had agreed to the final language. But Larijani never showed up. This time the deal had again been negotiated in secret over several months, and, unlike 2006, the Iranians actually showed up, smiling broadly and brandishing their signing pens. But it turned out that there was no deal. What went wrong?

Maybe the Iranians knew they were not dealing with trustworthy people in 2006? Just a thought.

He goes on to say this:

But whatever the answers to all these questions, one thing is luminously clear: the Obama administration certainly misspoke when it whispered to journalists that the deal was done, and that Kerry was just showing up to get his fair share of the champagne. As usual, too much (misleading) talk from Obama & Co, and too much amateurism in doing the real deal.

Reminds me of Obamacare, somehow.

Too bad he decided to add that last paragraph, he might have been able to extricate himself from the rest of the article. Those Right Wingers can't resist getting personal.

I know this is not too news worthy, other than to know the war criminals are STILL hovering around, trying to control what goes on in this country.

But it does feel good to see them make such fools of themselves, especially this arrogant moron.

Don't expect him to apologize, his blog is filled with negative garbage about Iran.

Too bad we didn't get him under oath in a Court of Law to answer for the tragic lies he told that got so many innocents killed, and all the other abuses of power he was such a big part of.

But for now, I hope he's having a really bad few days thinking about his irrelevance and prospect of what he wants least of all, PEACE in the ME!

Freedom Scholar! (yes I know but that's what he calls himself!)

And Thank You to President Obama and SOS Kerry!

Have a great day Michael! Lol!

The Crazy Left

Just want to check in as a Proud Member.

From time to time we have to do this as the Moral Equivalency meme makes its way to DU. You know the one, it takes various forms of this:

'We Democrats have our own version of the Crazy Right Teabaggers, it's called the Crazy Left'.

The 'Crazy Left' it appears are those who support the prosecution of Criminals, no matter how wealthy or connected they are.

It's a Crazy Left radical idea, apparently, to want the Law applied equally to all Americans.

If you have any 'Crazy Left' ideas such as 'Prosecute War Criminals' or an even crazier idea than that, eg: 'Prosecute Wall St. Criminals',feel free to post them here.

It's easy to forget what we stand for as Democrats these days, what with all the 'pragmatism' around.

So, I would love some reminders of our Principles so we don't forget what the goals are.

One of my favorite Crazy Left ideas is:

Hands Off Social Security!

One of my favorite Democratic Presidents is this guy:

Which also ensures my place on the 'crazy left' list I have been told.

And I am more than proud to be there.

Moral Equivalency = Not-so-subtle attack on Democrats.

Social Security has ZERO to do with the Deficit.

Cuts to SS, using Chained CPIs or any other cuts, using any other kind of deceptive language, will do NOTHING to bring down the Deficit.

Why? Because the SS Fund is not part of the Federal Budget.

And the Government has no right to touch it without the permission of those who own it. None, whatsoever!

SS is a fund OWNED BY those who paid into it during their working years, an INSURANCE fund that provides a safety net for retirees and now for the disabled and orphaned children.

Raiding this Insurance Fund has become a habit of Warmongers and the Wealthy who want to keep THEIR taxes as low as possible.

When they raid the SS Fund they have to provide US Govt Bonds to ensure that what they borrowed will be paid back.

They don't WANT to pay it back! They want to Privatize it and gamble with on Wall St. We know what has happened to Pension Funds when they were placed in the hands of the Wall St. Gamblers.

This must never happen to the SS Fund.

You will hear lies claiming that the fund is 'empty' and needs 'fixing'.

If that is the case, then every creditor of the US Govt holding those bonds, including China, need to worry that those Bonds have no value.

The US Government CAN NOT default on its creditors, INCLUDING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE who are among those creditors, without dire consequences to this country.

As one of those creditors, the SS Fund receives interest on the Bonds it holds every year.

Even during the recission the SS Fund continued to show a surplus.

The Fund has an over 2 Trillion dollar surplus.

The Bonds it holds are backed by the Full Faith and Credit of the US Government.

The Fund is NOT empty, it is owed trillions by the US Government.

Money that is safe so long as the US Govt honors its debt to its Creditors.

You might see some attempts, even here on DU, to use the CBO report to try to create the impression that SS Benefits need to 'cut' in order to help with the DEFICIT.

Nothing could be further from the truth.


Therefore cutting benefits will have ZERO EFFECT ON THE DEFICIT.

Raise the Cap on SS and focus on creating jobs and the SS Fund will be good for another 100 years.

Anyone saying otherwise has one giant ulterior motive.

Thanks FDR for the Social Safety Nets that have saved the lives of countless numbers of Americans.

NO DEMOCRAT should ever participate in doing anything that would jeopardize those protections for the least among us.

Just thought this needs to be said periodically, even here on DU.

Hands OFF Social Security!

Pay for your wars and your Tax Cuts for the Wealthy with your own money!

There Is a Process in Place for Dealing with War Crimes.

It's called 'The Rule of Law'.

We have the mechanisms in place on an International level. We signed on to various agreements with the civilized world on how to deal with accusations of War Crimes.

It works like this:

Once an accusation is made and there is some seemingly credible evidence to back it up Neutral Investigators are sent to the country in question to verify the claims, or not, as the case may be.

IF they determine, after spending sufficient time there, that there is evidence of crimes against the people, they return with that evidence and present it to the International Court.

There is no fear that presenting this evidence publicly will jeopardize anyone's 'National Security eg. So that excuse for NOT being willing to show the world the evidence, is eliminated.

Once there is agreement that in fact there is enough evidence to prove in court that War Crimes have been committed, indictments are handed down. It's hard to imagine that any civilized nation would not be on board to stop a War Criminal after the evidence has been seen and assessed to be true.

The accused then becomes an International Pariah and the accusations alone, WITH PROOF, cause others to fear being too supportive of his/her crimes in the future. Not only will that person be indicted but all those who aid and abet him/her in the commission of the crimes.

Eventually there will be an arrest or several arrests.

It works, without killing any more innocent people or becoming part of the killing generated by the criminals.

Here's an example of a War Criminal who was tried, convicted and sentenced for his crimes at the Hague not so long ago. The first one since WW11.

Isn't it time to begin to repeat this successful method of removing such people from positions of power where they can cause so much harm?

Charles Taylor sentenced to 50 years for war crimes

The first former head of state to be convicted of war crimes since World War II was sentenced to 50 years in prison Wednesday by an international court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone convicted former Liberian president Charles Taylor last month of supplying and encouraging rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone in a campaign of terror, involving murder, rape, sexual slavery and the conscription children younger than 15.

The brutal dictator didn't look so tough anymore as he was forced to answer for his crimes in a civilized court of law:

Isn't it time to begin to repeat this successful method of removing such people from positions of power where they can cause so much harm?

This seems to be the obvious way to get World support for dealing with War Criminals.

The world is failing to see how a 90 day bombing campaign will not result in even more death and destruction.

The doubts about the evidence CAN be wiped away if that evidence is made available for a thorough investigation.

Also possible if we use the Rule of Law, is the investigation of all the allegations on all sides and if the allegations against the 'rebels' turn out to be true, they too can be held accountable. And anyone who is supporting them with arms and finances will be less likely to do so once they are indicted for war crimes.

Then the International Community can act to begin the same process that put Taylor away for 50 years.

What a concept! And why stop at one War Criminal? Why not rid the world of all War Criminals this way? It certainly would have a lot more support than our current ignoring of war crimes when it suits us.

The Rule of Law!

The preferred method of dealing with crime by civilized nations everywhere.

Why have we abandoned it?

So the DOJ acknowledges that the Bush War Criminals are guilty of crimes!

And apparently they do not feel confident that they can defend them.

So rather than present a defense, they move to grant them immunity and, using the Westfall Act, move to shift the responsibility for the indefensible to the US Government:

DOJ pursues immunity for Bush and six others for Iraq war crimes

The “Westfall Act certification,” submitted pursuant to the Westfall Act of 1988, permits the Attorney General, at his or her discretion, to substitute the United States as the defendant and essentially grant absolute immunity to government employees for actions taken within the scope of their employment.

According to the DOJ, he was just following orders, he was working for the US Government!

That's quite an admission.

But it does explain a lot!

It explains a whole lot.

The DOJ claims that in planning and waging the Iraq War, ex-President Bush and key members of his Administration were acting within the legitimate scope of their employment and are thus immune from suit,” chief counsel Inder Comar of Comar Law said.

So for the first time that I remember, the US Government has, publicly, not only admitted that crimes were committed by the Bush Administration, but worse, that they were WORKING FOR THE US GOVERNMENT.

That doesn't sound like 'no, they did not commit crimes. It sounds like 'look, they did commit crimes, but they were working for US'! They were just following orders! That didn't work at Nuremberg, but whatever

And doesn't that shift the blame for the crimes to all of us? It certainly isn't an argument that no crimes were committed.

"A Government of, for, and by the people"

I object strenuously to being implicated in that horrific crime. I opposed it from the beginning.

The US Government IS the American people. So, without our consent, they are forcing the responsibility for Bush/Cheney's massive crimes and lies on to the American people.

I reject that completely. Bush supporters, yes, they were complicit, but Democrats never signed on to that war and never believed the lies.

Perhaps now that we have an admission of guilt, Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, who filed the suit can refile it.

This time filing it as:

Saleh V The US Government!

The Whistle Blower gets 35 years. When do we get to the War Criminals he exposed?

It's interesting how even some Democrats find it necessary to point out that Manning 'stole' and therefore committed a crime, but never mention the crimes he witnessed and tried to stop.

Most of his leaks were from the Bush era. I always wonder why any Democrat would want to defend the Bush administration.

While the Whistle Blower goes to jail, the chief War Criminal is 'honored at the WH'.

The message has been sent to journalists and Whistle Blowers everywhere.

And to make sure there are no 'renegades' in the Independent Media, Diane Feinstein is proposing legislation to 'define' what a Journalist is.

This is a sad day for America.

Bradley Manning, hero!

Thanks for trying, Bradley. It was worse than any of us thought. Now we know.

'Frequently Told Lies' about Glenn Greenwald, by Glenn Greenwald.

As you probably have observed there is an ongoing smear campaign aimed at Journalist Glenn Greenwald. It consists of a few 'talking points' which by now we are all familiar with.

This should not surprise anyone who followed the Anonymous Exposure of 'Security Contratctor', HBGary's internal emails.

What we found out from those leaked emails was what these Security Contractors view as their job of taking care of the 'security' of this country. Apparently it is very important for our security to silence Left Wing Bloggers, like Glenn Greenwald.

At the time, GG was a blogger, someone who, like thousands of other bloggers, Right, Left and Independent, Libertarian among others, expressed his opinions on his own blog.

He wasn't even that well known enough to strike such fear into our Security Contractors.

Yet, for some reason, Glenn Greenwald was singled out from among all those other bloggers by HBGary, seeking money in a bid for a contract, with a proposal for a SMEAR CAMPAIGN against him, according to the emails, to 'discredit him'.

Why? Because he was so anti-Bush policies? I think so. Not that he was the only one, we were ALL anti-Bush policies weren't we??

Why would they not go after, say, Andrew Breitbart, or Drudge?

Why a Leftist Blogger who had spent the Bush years since he became a blogger, telling the truth about Bush's Wars, his Anti-Constitutional Policies and relentlessly criticizing his administration for their Torture Policies?

Apparently Right Wing Bloggers do not warrant a smear campaign. No smear campaigns proposed for THEM.

But we are treated on a daily basis to attacks on a Left Wing blogger. Why?

Glenn Greenwald has provided facts about himself to counter the lies and smears so he doesn't need to address them each time they surface.

So rather than go into every thread trying to correct these distortions, this is a public service OP so that people can read the facts for themselves, spoken by the person most likely to know them:

Frequently told lies (FTLs)

He addresses pretty much all of the SIX commonly used smears we are now so accustomed to seeing:

1. I work/worked for the Cato Institute
2. I'm a right-wing libertarian
3. I supported the Iraq War and/or George Bush
4. I moved to Brazil to protest US laws on gay marriage
5. Because I live in Brazil, I have no "skin in the game" for US politics
6. I was sanctioned or otherwise punished for ethical violations in my law practice

Number six is a particularly egregious claim and so patently false and so easily proven to be false, you have to wonder why anyone would continue to try to pass it off as a fact.

If you have an interest in the facts, you can judge these smears against the facts. If not, then skip this OP.

If you see any of these smears and you will, I suppose you could respond with a link to Greenwald's own words, and of course his years of blogging on the issues is still available proving them false even without this.

FTLs = Frequently Told Lies.

It's important to correct wrong information, especially when there is a good chance it is coming from one of those Security Contractors who most likely got the Contract to Smear Greemwald, lost by HBGary after they were exposed by Anonymous, as far as we know.

Something I Noticed regarding the Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

Remember when Bush was occupying the White House and every day we learned of some new, anti-Constitutional policy he was pushing through Congress, like the Patriot Act eg, the Iraq War, or defending Torture, not to mention his economic policies, his Private Security Corporations, his attempt to Privatize SS (that was one of his failures, thankfully). You can add to the list if you like, it is long and those were nightmare years where we seemed to lose every battle.

I used to check Right Wing forums at the time, and watch in horrified awe at the blind support those Bush loyalists gave to each and every bad policy he implemented.

Democrats opposed most of his policies, marching against his wars, calling, emailing and writing, some going in person to DC to speak to their Reps to register their opposition to Bush's policies.

We railed against Republicans for their blind support, made jokes that no matter what Bush did, 'if he ate a puppy on the White House lawn' eg, his supporters would cheer for him.

As we came close to the 2008 Election, after eight nightmare years of Constitution-destroying legislation and brutal, illegal wars that we had failed to stop, Democrats finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel.

And we won, everything.

I was confident at first that our Party would begin to dismantle the 'security state', infrastructure built by Bush and his fellow War Criminals. And I was equally confident that our side would never blindly follow those WE elected, unlike those Freepers, IF they did not uphold the promises they made.

Now I know we were right, that we on the Left will speak out about bad policies even if our own Party is responsible.

Lately I have noticed on DU that a majority of Democrats support our elected leaders when they are standing up for the people who elected them, but they will not ignore any divergence from what our Party is supposed to represent.

This is why I love DU. It is a microcosm of the larger world of Democrats.

I am so glad to see that rather than remain silent about, or worse, blindly support bad policies, a vast majority of DUers have been doing exactly as I expected Democrats to do, standing up for the issues we elected our Representatives to stand for, and criticizing our elected officials when they are wrong.

Thank you for that!

This will make our party stronger.

Not a weak imitation of the other party which has been so wrong for so long on so many issues.

The last thing this country needs is to keep Republican/Bush policies in place. And it is gratifying to see so many Democrats here on DU speak out against Bush policies, as they always have.

So thank you DU Democrats, for confirming what I once told some Right Wing adversaries, 'we are not a party of lock-steppers like yours, if we see something wrong we will speak out against it regardless of who is in power'.

And we are. And will continue to do so. And thankfully we have many elected Democrats who are doing their jobs and abiding by the oath they all took, to defend and protect the US Constitution.

Just wanted to say that I noticed this ....

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