“Blackstone was a huge winner coming out of the global financial crisis, and I think something similar is going to happen,” said the private equity firm’s billionaire CEO Stephen Schwarzman as millions brace for eviction.
Diane Yentel of the National Low Income Housing Coalition said that the consequences of congressional inaction on housing relief “will be deadly and costly—for children and families, for communities, and for our country’s ability to contain the pandemic.” Stephen Schwarzman photo: World Economic Forum/flickr/CC
As the December 31 expiration date on the CDC’s federal eviction moratorium nears in the midst of the surging Covid-19 pandemic and freezing weather, an estimated 30 to 40 million working-class households in the United States are bracing for the possibility of eviction—but at least one Wall Street investor looking to capitalize on the crisis is bragging about what he sees as a golden opportunity to expand his real estate empire.
“You always have winners and losers—Blackstone was a huge winner coming out of the global financial crisis, and I think something similar is going to happen,” said the billionaire CEO Stephen Schwarzman. Continue reading →
Many prophetic scenes depicted in a series of Mayan codices written in the early days of the Spanish colony, and translated and compiled in El Libro de los Libros del Chilam Balam, describe a world foreign to its original authors. But, one which was barreling down on them and their civilization even as the Mayan high priests recorded their visions for each stop on their cyclical calendar system.
The metaphors they leaned on to describe these new Western values and systems were accurate, despite having nothing comparable in their own cosmology or parallels in their relationship with the earth. In one of the most striking prophecies, the interpreting shaman warns of the days of “the golden club,” subtly alluding to the new paradigm of wealth and commercial imperatives being imposed on their world. Continue reading →
More than half a million Oregonians have been forced to flee their homes, as wildfires continue to ravage the West Coast of the United States. Amid record-breaking temperatures, the wildfires, which have charred one million acres of land, have caused the sky to turn a terrifying shade of red, with many comparing it to Mars, hell, or the apocalypse. Air quality in Portland, the state’s largest city, is currently the lowest in the world, below even that of infamously polluted cities like Delhi and Beijing.
American voters now support sweeping changes to policing; 83 percent want a ban on racial profiling, 92 percent want police to be required to wear body cameras and White Americans’ concern over police violence has increased by 50 percent since 2019.
Just four weeks of protest have radically altered Americans’ views on the police and what their role in society should be. Once almost exclusively the domain of activist groups, moves to comprehensively change, defund or even abolish the police are rapidly gaining momentum with the public.
A new study published this week by Data for Progress shows that voters overwhelmingly (58 percent to 24 percent) support the creation of a new agency of first responders to deal with problems in the community – an agency that would explicitly undermine the police’s purview. The public would like to see the service, whose agents would resemble social workers more than police officers, take over a great number of situations police currently deal with, including mental health crises, drug addiction problems (including overdoses), and issues regarding homelessness. Significant numbers of people want to see the new agency tackle issues like spousal abuse and all non-violent crimes as well. “For elected officials looking to strengthen their communities and take action in the face of mass protest on police brutality, creating a non police first-responder agency proves to be a popular option that deserves their attention,” the report concludes. Continue reading →
The Trump administration continued its attack on LGBTQ rights Friday with a new rule that gives federally funded programs permission to discriminate against LGBTQ people. (Photo: Ted Eytan/Flickr/cc)
From taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies to programs that serve individuals struggling with substance abuse and youth homelessness, grantees of the Department of Health and Human Services got a green light from the Trump administration Friday to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
HHS awards hundreds of billions of dollars in grants annually. The department claimed that the proposed rule (pdf), which took effect immediately, “would better align its grants regulations with federal statutes, eliminating regulatory burden, including burden on the free exercise of religion.” Continue reading →
The Maria Isabel Housing project, in the Bronx. Photo: Jim Henderson (public domain)
Using the federal agency that oversees public housing to wage its latest attack on immigrants, the Trump administration has proposed a rule that critics warn would result in tens of thousands of children being evicted from their homes.
Weeks after announcing it would tighten restrictions on undocumented immigrants who live in public housing, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) unveiled a proposal on Friday which would take away all housing aid from families with at least one member who is an undocumented immigrant. Continue reading →
Infuriated by a scathing United Nations report estimating that over 18 million Americans are living in “extreme poverty” and accusing the Trump administration of “deliberately” making such destitution worse with its tax cuts for the rich, the White House insisted in its June response to the U.N. analysis that the United States is overflowing with “prosperity” and that claims of widespread poverty are “exaggerated.”
But internal State Department emails and documents obtained by Foreign Policy and the non-profit journalism website Coda Story show that the Trump administration ignored advice of White House economic analysts and knowingly lied to the public about the severity of American poverty, which the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston described as “shocking.” Continue reading →
“The United Nations says that when people are denied the access to basic human services—like electric power, like water, like food, like appropriate medical care—it is like a violation of human rights.”
Rally for Puerto Rico hurricane relief at the Capitol. Screenshot: YouTube
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz tore into the Trump administration’s response to the ongoing catastrophe on Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and denounced the president’s “total neglect.”
Her comments to MSNBC on Sunday follow a Harvard study estimating that the death toll as a result of the storm was in the range of 793 to 8,498 and deeming the original official estimate of 64 excess deaths “a substantial underestimate.” Continue reading →
Food Not Bombs volunteers hold up a banner in a city park in Tampa, Florida. (Photo: Tampa Food Not Bombs/Facebook)
Seven activists with the peace group Food Not Bombs were arrested for feeding homeless people on Saturday in a public park in Tampa, Florida.
The group is undaunted and maintains it will return to the park on Tuesday to serve anyone in need of food. “We intend to expose the city’s cruelty in the face of thousands in our community who are struggling with issues of food insecurity, mental and medical health issues, poverty, and homelessness,” a spokesperson for Food Not Bombs toldMcClatchy.Continue reading →
Houston, TX — Local activists attempting to hand out food and gifts were shocked on Thursday afternoon when Houston police forced the homeless to throw away the donations. Around 1 pm on Thursday, several individuals met in downtown Houston to distribute plates of hot food, blankets, and other supplies to the city’s growing homeless population. Soon after, Houston police arrived on the scene of two different intersections where the homeless advocates were giving out gifts and food.
According to witness testimony posted on Facebook, the police instructed the homeless to throw away everything they had been given. “Not only were the police called, but they brought a large waste management truck and are forcing the homeless to throw away their food, pillows and other items,” reads one post. Continue reading →