Posts filed under ‘We the People’
A jury Friday awarded an Oregon woman $18.6 million after she spent two years unsuccessfully trying to get Equifax Information Services to fix major mistakes on her credit report.
The judgement [sic], likely to be appealed, appears to be one of the largest awarded to a consumer in a case against one of the nation’s major credit bureaus.
Julie Miller of Marion County, who was awarded $18.4 million in punitive and $180,000 in compensatory damages, contacted Equifax eight times between 2009 and 2011 in an effort to correct inaccuracies, including erroneous accounts and collection attempts, as well as a wrong Social Security number and birthday. Yet over and over, the lawsuit alleged, the Atlanta-based company failed to correct its mistakes.
A Federal Trade Commission study earlier this year of 1,001 consumers who reviewed 2,968 of their credit reports found 21 percent contained errors.
There’s some fury from the jury in this judgment. Oh, and it’s “likely to be appealed?” You bet it is. Equifax has lawyers on staff who do nothing but. No way will Equifax pay the sum the jury ordered. (They don’t believe in that quaint saying: The jury has spoken.)
Too bad there aren’t really high “statutory fines”* for screwing over We the People like Equifax did here, kinda like there are really low “statutory fines” for companies like Halliburton who destroy evidence and get an imperceptable slap on the pinky.
* Nobody’s advocating for We the People anymore because the folks who make the laws and decide what the “statutory fines” should be are owned by gosh, golly, gee: the corporatocarcy!
Woohoo. USA! USA! USA!
This is one amazing woman and I can only imagine how sick and tired she is of having to say this:
July 15th, 2013 – 92 year-old Moral Monday arresstee and Civil Rights Veteran Rosa Nell Eaton speaks at the 11th Wave Moral Monday rally at the North Carolina General Assembly.
Marching down the I-10 freeway in Los Angeles (@ 6:30 p.m. Pacific time) in memory of Trayvon Martin:
Hey all, check out the great new interactive website, Inequality.is. It’s fun and informative (and I love the colors!)
Again, go here.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Regulation No. 7 of the “Building Regulations” for the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., issued June 13, 2013:
No person shall engage in a demonstration within the Supreme Court building and grounds. The term “demonstration” includes demonstrations, picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding vigils or religious services and all other like forms of conduct that involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to draw a crowd or onlookers. The term does not include casual use by visitors or tourists that is not reasonably likely to attract a crowd or onlookers.
After a quick perusal of this chart, it looks like one “only” has to work 63 hours at minimum wage in Arkansas in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment whereas in Hawaii someone would have to work 175 hours.
Any way you look at it, making minimum wage isn’t enough for someone to build a life on. But hey, corporations love it so that’s why it’s so low! Whatever they want, they get.
See a larger version of the chart here (pdf).
This depressing thing happened today:
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced unless Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require federal monitoring of elections.
The justices said in 5-4 vote that the law Congress most recently renewed in 2006 relies on 40-year-old data that does not reflect racial progress and changes in U.S. society.
The court did not strike down the advance approval requirement of the law that has been used, mainly in the South, to open up polling places to minority voters in the nearly half century since it was first enacted in 1965. But the justices did say lawmakers must update the formula for determining which parts of the country must seek Washington’s approval, in advance, for election changes.
Chief Justice John Roberts said for the conservative majority that Congress “may draft another formula based on current conditions.”
John Roberts must be having a great day. The thing he’s been dreaming about for 30 years has happened:
Here’s a shorter version of what Roberts ruled: Hey, the black guy won so we don’t need this stinkin’ provision anymore. I declare racism officially over.
This happened today under Constitutional lawyer, community organizer Barack Obama’s watch:
The US government is collecting the phone records of millions of US customers of Verizon under a top secret court order.
Read the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order here.
And there’s this: NSA collecting phone records of millions of Americans daily.
I’m a kid of the 60s and 70s and this would have been shocking and totally unacceptable back then. The government wouldn’t have dared do it.
There was a time when — even the president — needed a warrant to get phone records. It’s appalling that We the People have let our government run so amuck.
Can’t wait for congressional Democrats to stand up for us on this. (Yeah. Right. I’m cracking myself up.)
If you’re a lobbyist with a bunch of money, you saunter into the Oval Office on a regular basis. If you aren’t, you do this:
First Lady Michelle Obama was interrupted by gay rights protesters during a private event at a home in Washington, DC.
The protesters were demanding that the President issue an executive order banning job discrimination by federal contracts against gay and trans people. In essence, enacting the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) as an executive order for federal contractors. (ENDA itself would make it a violation of federal law to discriminate in employment against gay and trans people.)
I listened to an interview with author Alice Walker this morning on DemocracyNow! She talked about how this planet is ours — We the People’s — and those who think they have a right to own everything go so against what is meant to be:
Well, I see myself in all the people in the world who are suffering and who are very badly treated and who are often made to feel that they have no place on this Earth. And this Earth actually belongs to all of us. The universe belongs to all of us. And we mustn’t forget it, you know. And I know firsthand how it feels when people tell you and make you think that, you know, they can have everything, they can have as much as they want, they can buy everything they desire, and you are supposed to have nothing. Well, this is not—it’s not right, and we must not accept it.
With that in mind, this is what’s happening in Greece:
Standing up to Golden Dawn in Greece
The economic crisis in Greece has led to a rise in support for the far-right Golden Dawn and an increase in racist attacks. Jamal Osman talks to one man who is fighting back.
Michael Chege and his friends patrol their neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, most nights. After many encounters with the neo-Nazi group, Golden Dawn, they set up their own brigade, nicknamed the Black Panthers.They want to protect themselves from the fascists who are targeting people who are not ethnic Greeks.
Since the economic crisis tore Greece apart, people have been trying to find someone to blame. Some blame immigrants for the high unemployment and crime. Racist attacks against immigrants have been rising steadily. In the last year alone, more than 150 racist attacks were recorded by police, but most go unreported.
Greece is a gateway to Europe and many immigrants travel there as an entry point in the hope of reaching the richer nations on the continent.
Newly arrived immigrants, who do not speak the language or have proper documentation, live in fear. But Michael and his friends are taking on the extremists.
‘We will exterminate them’
“I’m not afraid of this neo-Nazi, stupid, idiotic group,” he told me. “In WW2, they were crushed. In WW3, we will exterminate them out of the face of the earth.
“I am a member of the Black Panthers and everybody knows that. So I am giving them (Golden Dawn) a straight warning – don’t mess with black people, anyhow. And I mean it.”
This Earth belongs to all of us but some of us are trying to take it all for themselves.
Let us not forget. This isn’t a Republican / Democratic thing. This is about the 1% versus We the Little People and it’s a global war. It’s happening all over the planet.
This is a mind blowing chart. Don’t miss it — the USA is waaay over there on the right with zero mandatory paid vacation days or holidays.
The corporate lobby wins again!
There by the grace of God…
I. Am. Loving. This:
Ayotte Faces Backlash Over Gun Vote
Gun show background checks are pretty universally popular in New Hampshire…and Kelly Ayotte is facing some serious backlash from voters in the state for voting against them last week.
Ayotte now has a negative approval rating with 44% of voters giving her good marks and 46% disapproving. That’s down a net 15 points from the last time we polled on her, in October, when she had a 48% approval with 35% disapproving. 75% of New Hampshire voters- including 95% of Democrats, 74% of independents, and 56% of Republicans- say they support background checks. And 50% of voters in the state say Ayotte’s ‘no’ vote will make them less likely to support her in a future election, compared to just 23% who consider it to be a positive.
Ayotte won her seat in 2010 by 23 points. But in a very early hypothetical match up between her and new Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan, she trails by a 46/44 margin. This issue is really giving her some trouble.
“The issue is really giving her some trouble?” Good. Very good. I think the reason people are so furious about this is because polling shows that something like 87% of all Americans want some sort of background check but the senate blew them off which so clearly shows how special interests control D.C. We thought they were there to represent We the People? Silly us.
I mean, since when did 87% of all Americans want something done about anything? I don’t remember a time, other than this but what did we get? The proverbial big, fat middle finger. It just screams as to how dysfunctional our “democracy” is and folks like Ayotte are the poster child for that now.
My friend (I worked with him on Outfoxed), the intrepid Robert Greenwald, is out with a new documentary called: War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and The National Security State:
The corporate media tells us whistleblowers are troublemakers and/or attention-seekers who should be shunned, or worse — jailed or even executed.
Hardly. As a matter of fact, we need them:
In a Democracy, citizens are entitled to the freedom of information and the freedom of the press, but what happens when that democratic government turns its back on the truth and begins to punish those who stand up to falsehood, secrecy, and deception? In Robert Greenwald’s latest film for Brave New Foundation, we reveal the war targeted at the people who put the US constitution before everything. We reveal the War on Whistleblowers.
Here’s the trailer:
My Tweet of the Day:
I just came across this great quote:
When a government becomes invisible, it becomes unaccountable. To expose its lies, errors, and illegal acts is not treason, it is a moral responsibility. Leaks become the lifeblood of the Republic.
– Daniel Ellsberg and John Perry Barlow
The article from which this quote comes is about the White House’s “White Paper” on targeted killings and drones but its wisdom applies across the board. As the government becomes more and more secretive (as in the kill list, drone strikes* and its deliberation on approving (or not) the Keystone XL pipeline, for example), the less, obviously we know. And as those things happen under the ever-creeping tendency of our government to side with the corporatocracy and against the people, leaks become more and more important. We have a right to know what our government is doing because after all, it works for us and if it won’t tell us so we can hold it accountable, we need leakers who will.
Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, John Bolton, Lindsay Graham and Erick Erickson Praise Obama’s Drone Plan/Kill list
They’re all warmongers so if they love it, I don’t!
To wild GOP crowd cheers, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachman vehemently defend Obama’s assassination policy.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will offer a resolution next week commending President Barack Obama’s use of drones and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.
We no longer have to transport ourselves to a magical alternate reality to ponder what a love child between Richard Nixon and Dick Cheney would look like. Given a Justice Department memo obtained by NBC News, we can conclude that child would look like none other than President Barack Obama.
“Just kill the terrorists before they kill us.” Land of the free and home of the brave? No. When I saw folks tearing up at the Super Bowl over those words I gagged.
We’re a scared bunch of sheeple. We stood by while almost 60,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam because our leaders told us the commies were coming to get us. Ten years ago yesterday, Colin Powell lied his face off in front of the United Nations Security Council and as a result, we invaded Iraq because they (I’m gagging again) supposedly had WMD and were ready to send a mushroom cloud over the U.S.
None of that was true.
Yet, again, we’re so scared of the lies we’ve told ourselves, all in the name of kill them before they kill us.
Defense spending — our tax dollars! — has doubled since 2001.
Ten years ago there was no such thing as the Department of Homeland Security but now we’re dumping untold billions dollars into that agency because it’s supposedly keeping us “safe.
And now we have drones — millions going to defense contractors for their new toys that we’re paying for — AGAIN, out of our tax dollars that — and President Obama’s kill list predicated on his supposed authority to kill Americans without their Constitutional right to be charged and tried by a jury of their piers.
They tell us these drone strikes are keeping us safe. But they aren’t: “Drone attacks are doing nothing but inciting more hatred” say Pakistani protesters. Google it yourself. There’s a whole bunch of info out there about how drone attacks are actually making us less after
So when will be again become the land of the free and the HOME OF THE BRAVE and when will we stop being scared little people who sacrifice their future for defense contractors and politicians who want to enrich them?
So what else is new America? As usual We the People are to blame for everything:
Under “anti-business” Obama,
Corporate profits have soared:
Tom Donohue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, last week said higher taxes and a “flood of new regulations” will damage an already subpar economy. “In many ways, we’re going backwards,” he said.
There’s no end to the greed.
Such complaints, echoed by corporate executives throughout President Barack Obama’s first term, obscure one fact: American business has never had it so good.
U.S. corporations’ after-tax profits have grown by 171 percent under Obama, more than under any president since World War II, and are now at their highest level relative to the size of the economy since the government began keeping records in 1947, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
And the Dow Jones Industrial average is up 5,550 points since he took office.
The business world has done very, very well. On the other hand, we the people? Not so much.
Remember this? (Look at how cavalier and arrogant that cop looks.)
Twenty-one students and alumni filed a federal lawsuit on February 22, 2012 against UC Davis over the University’s treatment of protesters during a Nov. 18, 2011 demonstration in which campus police were caught on video dousing seated protesters with pepper spray.
Bravo! What the campus cops did was outrageous.
The lawsuit charged that UC Davis administration officials set in motion a series of events that they should have known would result in constitutional violations against the demonstrators, and that they and the campus police department failed to properly train and supervise officers.
A settlement was announced on September 26, 2012. The University agreed to pay $1million, including $730,000 to the named plaintiffs and others who were arrested or pepper-sprayed on November 18. Additionally, the case has been expanded to a class action lawsuit, and a portion of the total award will be set aside to compensate individuals other than the named plaintiffs who were pepper-sprayed or wrongfully arrested on November 18, 2011.
On January 9, 2013 a federal judge approved the settlement.
God I hope the University doesn’t appeal, though they might just to set a “precedent.” $1 million isn’t all that punitive. They should shut up, walk away, and be happy they weren’t ordered to pay more.
Yesterday we heard AIG was considering suing
the federal government We the People because the $182 billion bailout we sprang for in 2008 had some glitches in it they’ve decided they don’t like.
Understandably, and rightly, there was a huge outcry. I particularly like this letter to AIG from Democratic Reps. Peter Welch of Vermont and Michael Capuano of Massachusetts:
According to The New York Times, AIG is actively considering suing the U.S. government for monetary damages after American taxpayers rescued your company from its reckless conduct with a $182 billion bailout.
Don’t do it.
Don’t even think about it.
AIG became the poster company for Wall Street greed, fiscal mismanagement, and executive bonuses – the taxpayer and economy be damned.
Now, AIG apparently seeks to become the poster company for corporate ingratitude and chutzpah.
Taxpayers are still furious that they rescued a company whose own conduct brought it down. Don’t rub salt in the wounds with yet another reckless decision that is on par with the reckless decisions that led to the bailout in the first place.
Anyway, to make a long story short, AIG has decided not to sue.
Hey guys, GOOD THINKIN’ for once.
Aside from Republicans in Washington hating on everything and everyone, this is the big news today:
Ten Banks Settle Foreclosure Charges for $8.5 Billion
Ten major U.S. banks and mortgage companies will pay $8.5 billion to settle complaints that they improperly foreclosed on some homeowners, federal regulators announced Monday.
The settlement package includes $3.3 billion in direct payments to eligible owners and $5.2 billion in loan modifications, forgiveness of deficiency judgments and other assistance, according to announcements by the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).
Eligible homeowners who should have been allowed to stay in their homes will receive compensation ranging from hundreds of dollars to as high as $125,000, depending on the type of possible mortgage servicing error.
More than 3.8 million borrowers whose home loans at these 10 banks were foreclosed on in 2009 and 2010 will receive some compensation in a timely manner, regulators said.
A payment agent will be appointed to administer payments. The agent is expected to contact eligible borrowers by the end of March with payment details, regulators said. Borrowers will not have to take any further action.
The settlement includes Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, PNC, Sovereign, Sun Trust, U.S. Bank and Aurora. The financial firms have operated under what is known as enforcement actions since April 2011. Federal regulators ordered the enforcement actions after they found evidence the banks mishandled paperwork or improperly sped up foreclosures by bypassing required procedures.
I heard someone on the CBS radio news this morning say that in order for this settlement to reflect the damage done by these banks it would have to be more in the range of $40 billion, not $8.5. And on his show today Thom Hartmann said he heard that the Obama administration was afraid these banks would collapse if they pushed it that far. (Fine, let them freaking collapse already!)
Not only that, I can only imagine what a fiasco dispensing this money is going to be.
Yeah, I know that’s a bit of a shocker of a headline but look at this:
W A R
Amid violence and chaos in Syria, four hundred US troops have been deployed to Turkey with Patriot missile batteries to bolster defenses along the border. NBC’s Annabel Roberts reports.
The way this gets out of control — and fast — is, we send troops to “defend” Turkey. One U.S. soldier gets killed and suddenly we need reinforcements because that soldier shouldn’t die in vain. And then another soldier dies and we need even more troops because now we’ve lost two people and we have to justify their deaths. Then we send helicopters and tanks and we set-up camps and voila, we’ve got 5,000, 10,000, 40,000 troops there.
Syria’s President Assad is a monster and what he’s doing to his people is horrific. I get that. My problem is that suddenly we’re sliding into something that might cost us millions if not billions of dollars while the discussion on the table at home is about austerity and cutting “entitlements,” more honestly known as earned benefits working Americans have paid into.
Let’s put sending troops to Turkey on the table too. Can we afford it? How are we going to pay for another potential war? Democrats don’t want to look like they’re “weak” on defense and Republicans would love it if we ran the budget up even more because then hey, their 30-year dream of slashing those “entitlements” in order to balance the budget might finally come true.
Let’s say no for a sec until we have a national discussion about how we’re going to pay for this. I mean, do We the People have a say in this since we’re the ones who’re going to pay for it?
If we thought the news coming out of Washington in 2012 was maddeningly, pull-your-hair-out bad, it looks like we’re in for even more fun this year:
President Obama signed the “fiscal cliff” deal developed by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, averting across-the-board spending cuts for two months, raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and averting a number of other tax increases. But the Washington Post notes that the deal assures additional budget fights in the coming months.
“The next big deadline is likely to come around the end of February, when the Treasury Department will exhaust the measures now in place to extend the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling… Republicans hope to use that moment to force Obama and congressional Democrats to agree to major spending cuts in return for the increase.”
Next, “in early March would come another deadline: the $110 billion cut in spending, half from the Pentagon, delayed as part of this deal. A month or so later — on March 27 — a short-term measure that funds government agencies will lapse. Without a renewal, the government will shut down.”
It’s a good thing there isn’t anything else that needs to get done.
I guess I was wrong about the hopelessness of reaching a bipartisanship agreement on much of anything in Washington because alas, both parties came together today to royally screw the American people:
The Senate on Friday reauthorized for five years broad electronic eavesdropping powers that legalized and expanded the President George W. Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.
The FISA Amendments Act, (.pdf) which was expiring Monday at midnight, allows the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is believed outside the United States. [The potential for abuse here is enormous.] The communications may be intercepted “to acquire foreign intelligence information.”
The House approved the measure in September. President Barack Obama, who said the spy powers were a national security priority, is expected to quickly sign the package before the law Congress codified in 2008 expires in the coming days.
The American Civil Liberties Union immediately blasted the vote.
“The Bush administration’s program of warrantless wiretapping, once considered a radical threat to the Fourth Amendment, has become institutionalized for another five years,” said Michelle Richardson, the ACLU’s legislative counsel.
Amendments senators refused to enact included extending the measure for just three years, another one requiring the government to account for how many times Americans’ communications have been intercepted, and one by Wyden prohibiting U.S. spy agencies from reviewing the communications of Americans ensnared in the program.
As a former paralegal, I know warrants aren’t hard to get. All a law enforcement agency has to do to get one is show probable cause (lots of doubt can remain) that a individual is doing something illegal. It is outrageous that that check, minimal as it was, is now gone and that a ah, Constitutional lawyer will sign a bill to extend it another five years.
This has already become so entrenched in our society that there will undoubtedly come a time when extending it for another five years and another five years (and on and on) won’t even make the news.
That sort guy in the blue shirt on the conservative side represents the people I see at the food bank. Some of them don’t stand a chance but Republicans would have us believe “all” they have to do is “work hard and play by the rules” and they’ll be millionaires.
This is outrageous: We the People own the land these United States sit on. Should mining companies be able to extract the riches and reap the profits from those riches without paying royalties to ah, again, We the People? I don’t think so:
While the U.S. government reaps billions of dollars in royalties each year from fossil fuels extracted from federal lands and waters, it does not collect any such royalties from gold, uranium or other metals mined from the same places, congressional auditors reported Wednesday.
The federal government doesn’t even know how much these so-called “hard rock” mines produce from federal public lands in the 12 western states where most of the mining occurs, the Government Accountability Office report found.
And there is no federal law requiring the disclosure of production figures from individual mines.
Two Democratic lawmakers are hoping public concerns over the economy and the looming “fiscal cliff” will reinvigorate a movement on Capitol Hill to reform the General Mining Act of 1872, which exempted mining companies from paying royalties for profiting from U.S. public lands.
They want miners to pay the same 12.5 percent in royalties as oil companies, a move that could bring hundreds of millions of dollars in new annual revenue.
This is a no brainer. Why don’t all corporations who make a profit off of federal land (i.e., our land) automatically pay a fee? Do we really need to debate this? The resources don’t belong to them. They belong to us!
The big story here — according to the “liberal media” — is how this could inconvenience holiday travelers. The big story to me is that these folks are getting paid a pitiful $8 an hour to do yeoman’s work:
Security guards at New York’s JFK Airport are threatening to strike just before Christmas, demanding significant improvements to their working conditions.
About 300 workers will vote tomorrow to authorize the strike, which would begin December 20. They are also considering unionization.
The workers, who are employed by two private companies, Air Serv and Global Elite Group, are responsible for inspecting planes for explosives and contraband before takeoff, and checking airport staff who have access to aircraft.
They are also in charge of directing terminal traffic, according the the New York Post.
The guards are currently paid $8 an hour without benefits
“We want to be issued enough of the proper equipment to be able to do our job and keep the public safe,” Prince Jackson, an Air Serv employee, told Crain’s. “We want more money and benefits.”
Michael Allen, a spokesman for the Service Employees International Union, which is advising the guards, told The Post:
These security officers feel responsible for the safety and security at JFK Airport. They feel it is their duty to bring attention to these gaping holes in preparedness and safety standards.
I find it outrageous that folks who are responsible for keeping BOMBS OFF OF AIRPLANES are paid $8 an hour and they’re working without adequate equipment. I presume that somewhere along the line, money from the Department of Homeland Security trickles down to these people directly or to the companies they work for.
The president has asked congress to authorize $68.9 billion (BILLION) for that agency in his 2013 budget.
Surely we can come up with proper equipment and more than $8 an hour for these people, particularly if we respect and value what they’re doing. If we don’t, then let’s stop playing games and admit we don’t — that keeping bombs off planes isn’t really all that important.