Category Archives: Housing

Trump Seeks to Take Wrecking Ball to Division Between Church and State

Draft executive order ‘reads like the administration was challenged to see how many violations of the Bill of Rights can be contained in one policy change’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-2-2017

A 2016 poll found two-thirds of Americans say churches and other houses of worship should not come out in favor of one candidate over another during political elections—but President Donald Trump wants to “destroy” the amendment that keeps it that way. (Photo: Peter Miller/flickr/cc)

President Donald Trump appears intent on demolishing the wall between church and state, telling an audience on Thursday that he will “totally destroy” an amendment that bars religious tax-exempt organizations from engaging in political activity—while his administration reportedly circulates a far-reaching draft executive order on “religious freedom” that effectively legalizes discrimination.

Trump told attendees at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday that he “will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.” Continue reading

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‘Dangerous’ and ‘Dumb’: Trump Signs Executive Order Torching Regulations

“It will fundamentally change our government’s role from one of protecting the public to protecting corporate profits”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-30-2017

A demonstrator in Washington, D.C. holds a sign on Jan. 27, 2017. (Photo: Lorie Shaull/flickr/cc)

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday that aims to slash regulations—an action, advocacy groups say, that puts lives at risk.

The order—the latest of a flurry since he took office—states that “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination,” fulfilling a campaign promise he made.

“For fiscal year 2017, which is in progress, the heads of all agencies are directed that the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including repealed regulations, to be finalized this year shall be no greater than zero,” it adds. Continue reading

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A Message to Donald J. Trump

Inauguration (left,) vs Women’s March (right). Photo: Mashable (composite of EarthCam screengrabs)

You are now President of the United States of America.

We, the People, have already noticed a few things, and we’d like to tell you what you apparently are not being told by your “advisors.”

Your removal of the term “Civil Rights” from the White House website implies that these are no longer a concern to a man that was elected to serve ALL Americans, not just those that “look” like you.

Your removal of all information regarding Health Care from the same website implies that the health care of the people of this country is not important enough to you to even indicate what you plan to do now that measures have already been taken to effectively terminate coverage under the ACA.

Your removal of all discussion of Climate Change is a clear example that you are not willing to listen to science and reason when it comes to protecting America’s valuable resources for generations to come.

You attack through tweeting those that offend you, as though it makes you look “presidential.” It instead reveals the immature, narcissistic individual you are, one that must have instant gratification whenever a pimple in life appears on your ugly face of divisiveness.

You brag about assaulting women, and insult the victims of your misogyny.

You indicate you want the equivalent to a “Christian caliphate” in this country: emulating what the enemy is demanding makes one weak, not strong. Even 1st graders know that, Mr. President. It also validates what ISIS is doing.

You asked for military style parades during your inauguration, while veterans that have served go without medical care, homes or jobs. You have stated you intend to fly war planes over our cities to remind us that our military is great, while we feed homeless veterans living in our parks, the planes drowning out our conversations with them.

America is a nation of law. We are not governed by corporate organizational structures. You won’t get your way all the time, and you can’t scream “You’re Fired!” at everyone that sees things differently.

Your first act was to claw back a relief package for low to middle income mortgage holders that would have saved them on average $500 a year. That doesn’t sound like much money to you, but to the American people you are supposed to serve, it can make the difference between having a home and not having a home. You proved to these people your heartlessness right from the beginning of your term.

You claim to have a mandate. Let us remind you that you were elected by 46% of the vote, from which only 30% of the population even chose to participate in. This means, in fact, you hold office because only 14% of eligible voters in this country decided to vote for you, and many did so simply in objection to your opponent. This is not a mandate.

A MANDATE is what happened the day AFTER your inauguration, when the entire world sent you a rejection notice.

I expect you won’t like what I’ve said here, and so much so that you will try to shut this website down. That doesn’t matter, because you see, where I am is a place all of America is. You seem to think you hold the power to shut down the MINDS and CONSCIOUSNESS of every American, you DON’T. We won’t stop.

You seem to think that attacking media for reporting things you don’t like is your right. You appear to think that executive power includes control of the nation’s press. As an American and a journalist, let me remind you that your oath of office is to protect the US Constitution. You apparently are not familiar with that document, so here is the 1st Amendment to it, protecting the media from what you threaten them with. To act against the 1st Amendment is a violation of your oath and is an impeachable offense.

“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.”

Shape up, or we will ship you out as easily as you were shipped in.

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America Has Unofficially Declared War on the Homeless

By Josie Wales. Published 12-23-2016 by The Anti-Media

Photo: Ed Yourdon from New York City, USA (Helping the homeless Uploaded by Gary Dee) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Police departments across the country have been ramping up raids on the homeless, stealing coats, blankets, and other personal items and leaving those on the street with no protection from the cold and rain.

The Homelessness San Diego Facebook page recently posted a video of city workers conducting an “encampment sweep” that was recorded by homeless advocate Michael McConnell. According to CW6, “the city says it routinely posts clean-up notices downtown as part of its regular weekly abatement schedule.

The Denver Police Department released a statement last Thursday evening defending police officers caught on video taking blankets, sleeping bags, and tents from homeless people and issuing some citations. Freezing temperatures didn’t stop the cold-hearted cops from confiscating the items “as evidence of the violations.”

The video taken by a bystander went viral after being shared by the ACLU of Colorado’s Facebook page. It was swiftly followed up by an open letter to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver City Council, and city officials. The letter, which expresses horror at the willingness of the local government officials to endanger the lives of the homeless, “demands that the City immediately (1) direct its police officers to cease confiscation of blankets and other survival gear possessed by people experiencing homelessness, (2) suspend enforcement of the Denver Urban Camping Ban through the winter months, using that time to explore alternative approaches to homelessness that do not criminalize people for having nowhere they can afford to live and (3) end the coordinated sweeps of people experiencing homelessness, whether they are conducted through police, public works, private security, all of the above, or any other means.”

This is not the first time Colorado authorities have come under fire for their brutal treatment of the homeless. In February of this year, Denver Law School released a report called Too High A Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness Costs Colorado, which examined the economic and social cost of the anti-homeless laws. According to the paper, “Laws that criminalize panhandling, begging, camping, sitting or lying in public, and vagrancy target and disproportionately impact homeless residents for activities they must perform in the course of daily living.”

Los Angeles deployed an entire task force to crack down on homeless people, imposing their own “encampment sweeps” in September. The ironically named “Homeless Outreach and Proactive Engagement” teams are supposed to help reduce the number of people living on the street, but they appear to be doing nothing more than turning those who are less fortunate into criminals.

The ACLU declared a small victory over the summer when it successfully defended the rights of a man charged with trespassing after trying to gain access to emergency shelter. According to Jessie Rossman, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Massachusetts:

“Today’s landmark, unanimous ruling has affirmed, e.in the state high court’s own words that ‘our law does not permit the punishment of the homeless simply for being homeless.’”

Anti-homeless laws are cruel, unconstitutional, and create more hardship for those targeted, making it harder for them to get back on their feet. It is unthinkable to believe that stealing blankets and clothing from people living on the street is justifiable by any legislation, and it is terrifying to see law enforcement follow orders to do so without blinking an eye.

This article is republished under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license

 

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Escalating the War on Low-Income Families

By Paul Buchheit. Published 8-22-2016 by Common Dreams

For the nation's poor, things are not getting better. They are getting worse. (Photo: Pixabay/CC0)

For the nation’s poor, things are not getting better. They are getting worse. (Photo: Pixabay/CC0)

Illinois Governor Rauner recently cut “Meals on Wheels” for seniors and at-risk youth services. Chicago residents were hit with a nearly 13% property tax increase. Some Chicago public schools could face 2017 cutbacks of an incredible 20 percent.

But six of Illinois’ largest corporations together paid ALMOST ZERO state income taxes this year. Full payment of their taxes would have exceeded the $1.1 billion Chicago Public School deficit. Continue reading

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Superbugs, Sewage, and Scandal: Are Rio Olympics Poised for Disaster?

Companies at center of grafting scheme construct Olympic Village, raw sewage pours into Rio de Janeiro, and protests sweep nation

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-1-2016

Thousands of dead fish float in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, where the Olympics rowing and canoeing competitions will take place, in 2015. (Photo: Marcelo Sayao/EPA)

Thousands of dead fish float in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, where the Olympics rowing and canoeing competitions will take place, in 2015. (Photo: Marcelo Sayao/EPA)

A biology professor has simple advice for athletes and tourists descending on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Olympics’ start on Friday: “Don’t put your head underwater.”

Dr. Valerie Harwood, chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida, remarked on the dangers posed by Rio’s water to AP, which reported Monday that a 16-months-long study revealed that “the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria.” Continue reading

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Transforming the poverty industry

When governments place maximizing revenue over serving those in need, the vulnerable are harmed. And when the vulnerable are harmed, so are we all.

By Daniel L. Hatcher. Published 6-21-2016 by openDemocracy

openDemocracy oD-UK oDR oD 50.50 Transformation Activism Economics Intersectionality Nonviolence Culture Love and Spirit Environment Care OurBeeb More Transforming the poverty industry DANIEL L. HATCHER 21 June 2016 When governments place maximizing revenue over serving those in need, the vulnerable are harmed. And when the vulnerable are harmed, so are we all. Headquarters of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington DC. Credit: Wikimedia/Matthew G. Bisanz, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Headquarters of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington DC. Credit: Wikimedia/Matthew G. Bisanz, CC BY-SA 3.0.

In an effort to shore-up its budget, New Jersey is taking federal government assistance away from school children from poor families. The state has hired a private contractor called the Public Consulting Group to access more school-based federal Medicaid funds. This money is intended to help schools serve special education needs more effectively, but New Jersey has diverted over 80 percent of the funds to its general coffers for other uses—effectively taking tens of millions of dollars from school children every year. Meanwhile, in the face of insufficient funding, schools in the state have resorted to selling ads on school buses. Continue reading

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So, You Thought Bank of America Would be Punished for Role in 2008 Crisis? Think Again

By Claire Bernish. Published 5-23-2016 by The Anti-Media

United States — In a reversal of the smidgen of accountability forced on Bank of America for its role in the 2008 financial crisis, a U.S. appeals court threw out a jury’s verdict — and with it, the $1.27 billion fine BoA would have paid for mortgage fraud.

Though the Department of Justice had alleged Countrywide Financial Corp., which was purchased by Bank of America in 2008, had sold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac thousands of bad loans through its “Hustle” mortgage program, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York found insufficient evidence to back charges of fraud. Continue reading

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Breaking News: ‘There Is No Migrant Crisis’

In fact, the world is facing ‘a crisis of global injustice caused by war, poverty, and inequality,’ says Global Justice Now

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-9-2016

"Rich countries, with the help of the highly profitable security industry, have tried their best to use cruel migration controls, fences, walls and even guns to force people to accept lives of violence and destitution. This is not the solution." (Image: Global Justice Now/Jacob V joyce)

“Rich countries, with the help of the highly profitable security industry, have tried their best to use cruel migration controls, fences, walls and even guns to force people to accept lives of violence and destitution. This is not the solution.” (Image: Global Justice Now/Jacob V joyce)

Search the Internet for articles on the so-called “migrant crisis,” and half a million results pop up in a matter of seconds.

There’s just one problem: There is no such crisis.

“What we call a ‘migrant crisis,’ is actually a crisis of global injustice caused by war, poverty, and inequality,” said Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden, introducing a new briefing that draws attention to the multiple crises that are actually forcing people to relocate and calls for “free movement for everyone.” Continue reading

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‘Did You Have Your Eyes Stitched Closed?’ Warren Blasts Former Fed Official

At a hearing aimed at gutting financial reforms, Sen. Elizabeth Warren says ‘hands-off regulatory approach’ led to 2008 financial crisis

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-6-2016

"My question is, given your track record at the Fed, why should anyone take you seriously now?" Sen. Elizabeth Warren asked former Federal Reserve official Leonard Chanin on Tuesday. (Photo: Screenshot)

“My question is, given your track record at the Fed, why should anyone take you seriously now?” Sen. Elizabeth Warren asked former Federal Reserve official Leonard Chanin on Tuesday. (Photo: Screenshot)

At a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday—which was described as “little more than another attempt to rail against Wall Street regulation”—U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren spent seven minutes tearing into former Federal Reserve deputy director Leonard Chanin, a man she said “might have one of the worst track records in history on this issue.”

The hearing, Warren said on her Facebook page, was called by Republicans “to talk about why we should roll back the rules on mortgages and credit cards because they’re just too costly for the banks.” Continue reading

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