Juniper Towers is a public housing complex in Park Forest, Illinois. As such, there is a regular staff, and those wishing to enter without a specific destination must adhere to certain standards, letting staff members know they are present.
Because this is public housing, candidates for public office are not permitted to enter and wander aimlessly, moving from floor to floor, door to door.
Turning Left has learned from several reliable sources that one mayoral candidate in Park Forest, Illinois — and a current public official in that town — has been doing precisely that. Mr. JeRome Brown, a second-run mayoral candidate in Park Forest, IL, has been described by sources as entering Juniper Towers, walking floor to floor, going door to door, but only after staff for Juniper Towers have left for the day. Only after hours.
Obviously, Mr. Brown has someone on the inside who is opening the front door for him, or he waits surreptitiously for someone to exit so he can enter.
We have to ask: why not enter when staff is present? Why wait until staff have gone home for the day to begin his surreptitious campaigning?
We have learned, to our amusement, that Mr. Brown raffled off a turkey before Christmas. The winner was the first person who could prove he or she had a voter registration card.
Why give a turkey only to someone already registered to vote? Why raffle a turkey at all, unless he is engaging in an all-out campaign to buy votes.
A few years ago, a mayoral candidate in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, also attempted to buy votes, this time from seniors. This candidate promised, and delivered, a box of chocolates and seven dollars cash — yes, cash — to any senior who promised to vote for him, and he promised to provide them a ride to the polls.
The seniors took the chocolate, pocketed the $7.00 cash, and voted in droves for his opponent.
His opponent won. Handily.
Mr. Brown appears to believe that seniors and other members of public housing in Park Forest, Illinois, are simple, gullible folks, ready to cave and give their votes to someone obviously pandering for their attention, for their votes.
Turning Left must ask, is turkey the only thing of substance Mr. Brown has to offer?
Low-Wage Workers ‘Movement’ Flexes Its Muscles Nationwide
Employees of the fast-food industry demand $15 minimum wage and better workplace protections as actions expected in 150 cities across the country
Fast-food workers are out in force nationwide on Thursday as they participate in a day of action designed to highlight the scourge of low-wages and push a series of demands to combat the persistent poverty endured by those who form the backbone of the profitable multi-billion dollar industry.
Led by organizers at FightFor15—and supported in their call by the Service Employees Union International (SEIU), grassroots organizers, and other workers’ rights groups—the fast-food employees say that singular actions that first started in New York City in 2012 and then spread to other cities have now become a national movement. Pushing for a $15 per hour “living wage” for all workers is the central but not sole demand of the workers and those who back them.
Organizers are expecting worker strikes and solidarity protests in 150 U.S. cities as employees of Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and other chains demand a dramatic increase to the minimum wage, better workplace protections, and the right to organize and join a union.
In Kansas City, Missouri, workers are expected to walk out of 60 restaurants. Latoya Caldwell, a Wendy’s worker, is one of dozens of fast food employees in Kansas City who plan to sit down in a city intersection, lock arms and get arrested.
“We’re a movement now,” Caldwell said on Wednesday before starting a shift at Wendy’s. She and several co-workers said that 25 of the more than 30 non-management employees in their restaurant have pledged to strike. “We know this is going to be a long fight, but we’re going to fight it till we win,” said Caldwell, 31, who is raising four children alone on $7.50 an hour and was living in a homeless shelter until earlier this year.
The strikers cite frustration about their continued struggle to survive at the bottom of the labor market even as the broader economic news seems positive. “They say the economy is getting better, but we’re still making $7.50,” said Caldwell. “Nobody should work 40 hours a week and find themselves homeless, without enough money to buy them and their kids food, needing public assistance.”
Early reporting in the day documented actions in Detroit, Chicago, New York, Charlotte, New Orleans and elsewhere.
In Detroit, protesters protesting outside a McDonald’s early on Thursday were arrested after they locked arms and sat down in the street, blocking local traffic.
Kaya Moody, a 20-year-old single mother who works at a different McDonald’s location in Detroit, has taken part in several protests and she admits it hasn’t been an easy sell.
“We always get the ‘Do you really think you deserve $15 an hour as a fast food worker?’ We get that a lot and I just feel like, who doesn’t deserve $15 an hour, you know? It’s a living wage. No one can survive off of $8.15 an hour, it’s almost impossible,” Moody told WWJ’s Ron Dewey.
The protests have been going on for about two years, but organizers have kept the campaign in the spotlight by switching their tactics every few months. In the past, supporters have showed up at a McDonald’s shareholder meeting and held strikes. The idea of civil disobedience arose in July when 1,300 workers held a convention in Chicago.
Kendall Fells, an organizing director for Fast Food Forward, said workers in a couple of dozen cities were trained to peacefully engage in civil disobedience ahead of the planned protests.
Dispatches and photos from other actions are being shared on Twitter under the#StrikeFastFood hashtag:
So what’s so bad about Paul Ryan’s thinking about poverty?
First, there’s nothing new in it. He offers block grants, cuts to programs, new work requirements, school vouchers, regulatory repeal, more money to faith-based initiatives, and privatizing social services, presenting us with little more than fresh marketing for tired ideas that — when tried in the past — made people’s lives worse, not better. Even the proposals that might seem promising are badly designed — like his way of expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit. With the possible exception of his proposals to reduce some mandatory minimum sentences — which advocates of all stripes have been agitating for for decades — it’s old wine in old bottles. Why should we treat it as newsworthy or innovative?
Another week, another communications controversy for Pope Francis?
That’s how it was looking after a three-word tweet from Pope Francis — in Latin — about inequality left some conservatives dazed and confused over Catholic teachings on economics. They were still digesting last week’s news about the pontiff’s call to an Argentine woman that left them wondering whether Rome was going wobbly on the sanctity of marriage.
The latest dust-up began routinely enough, with a Monday morning post to Francis’ Twitter feed that said: "Iniquitas radix malorum."?
"Inequality is the root of social evil" is how the English translation ran, and that tracked closely with other language versions.
Honestly, have these people read the prophet Amos? How about the teachings of Jesus Christ?
Try Matthew 19:21 –
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect,* go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Adding that because many of these "conservatives" call themselves Christians.
The program will be fully operational by 2017, and will be funded through Medicare, Medicaid, federal money for the ACA given to Vermont, and a slight increase in taxes. In exchange, there will be no more premiums, deductibles, copay’s, hospital bills or anything else aimed at making insurance companies a profit. Further, all hospitals and healthcare providers will now be nonprofit.
This system will provide an instant boost the state economy. On the one side, you have workers that no longer have to worry about paying medical costs or a monthly premium and are able to use that money for other things. On the other side, you have the burden of paying insurance taken off of the employers side, who will be able to use the saved money to provide a better wage and/or reinvest in their company through updated infrastructure and added jobs. It is a win-win solution.
This, by the way, is precisely the way Canada moved to a single-payer health care system: state by state.
Yes, you’ve read that right. Things have gotten so bad in America that even our Olympic athletes are receiving “poverty stipends” in order to help them make ends meet as they struggle to represent our country in the Olympics while putting food on the table.
In this very telling video, Emily Scott, representing the United States in Olympic speedskating, fights back the tears as she recalls having to apply for food stamps due to her Olympic stipend being cut from $1950 per month to only $600 per month, less than the minimum wage.
The economy is improving, and has been for years under President Obama.
It’s just been sluggish, and there are plenty of people out of work still. There are even more who are underemployed (above graphic is from June 2013). According to Forbes, the "official" underemployment rate does not count discouraged workers who have settled for part-time jobs, or have just given up. These people, properly tracked under what’s called the "U-6" rate, showed underemployment at 14.3% in June 2013.
So, what exactly are we to infer from the revised estimate, reported today by the New York Times, that third quarter estimates for the economy showed 4.3% growth? The NYTimes reports:
The United States economy grew at an astonishing 4.1 percent annual rate, the federal government said Friday in its third and final revision of gross domestic product for the third quarter.
The rate was the fastest in almost two years.
The Commerce Department said business spending was stronger than it originally thought, leading to the revision up from 3.6 percent. Economists had expected the final estimate of growth to be unchanged from that 3.6 percent.
According to the Times, the growth rate for quarter two was 2.5%.
So, this is good news, right?
Not so certain, given the underemployment rate and other factors. Those of us in the middle and lower are making less, therefore spending less.
Consider the rise in companies buying back their own shares of stock, to the tune of $211 billion.
Enter Robert Reich from December 17, via Facebook (emphasis added):
A big reason why CEOs are about to rake in big year-end bonuses even though their sales are lousy (after all, America’s vast middle class and poor aren’t earning enough to buy much) is CEOs been using their companies’ cash, plus whatever they can borrow at rock-bottom interest rates engineered by the Fed, to buy back their own shares of stock. This maneuver raises the price of the remaining shares, thereby giving the CEOs – whose pay is tied to share prices – huge rewards. This year, the 30 companies listed on the Dow Jones industrial average authorized $211 billion in buybacks, lifting the Dow (and CEO pay) to record heights.
This $211 billion could have gone instead to American workers in the form of higher wages – which would have come back to companies in the form of higher sales. McDonald’s, for example, spent $6 billion on share repurchases and dividends last year, the equivalent of $14,286 per restaurant worker employed by the company.
It’s a vicious cycle as long as CEO incentives are directed toward raising share prices rather than sales, and as long as the economy is organized around the stock market rather than good jobs.
Since many of our pensions were shifted to the stock market via crapshoot 401Ks, we have learned that the stock market is not a safe environment for our retirement funds to exist. Know anyone who was unable to retire because his or her 401K lost half its value or more — just when that person was planning to exit the work force?
I do. Too many, in fact.
So, yes, a 4.1% growth in the economy is good news. However, as long as the corporations are defining growth based on the stock market as opposed to job growth, most of us in America will have to wait — and work — for a paradigm shift in the outlooks of corporations.
Or, we will have to fight for it, just like we did in the early 20th century.
A Navy SEAL team targeted a senior leader of the Shabab militant group in a raid on his seaside villa in the Somali town of Baraawe on Saturday, American officials said, in response to a deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall for which the group had claimed responsibility.
The SEAL team stealthily approached the beachfront house by sea, firing on the unidentified target in a predawn gunbattle that was the most significant raid by American troops on Somali soil since commandos killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Qaeda mastermind, near the same town four years ago.
The Shabab leader was believed to have been killed in the firefight, but the SEALS were forced to withdraw before that could be confirmed, a senior American official said. Such operations by American forces are rare because they carry a high risk, and indicate that the target was considered a high priority. Baraawe, a small port town south of Mogadishu, the Somali capital, is known as a gathering place for the Shabab’s foreign fighters.