Thursday, April 26, 2018

The latest attack on the working class

Tracy Jan (WASHINGTON POST) reports some shockingly bad news:
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Wednesday proposed raising the amount that low-income families are expected to pay for rent — tripling it for the poorest households — as well as making it easier for property owners to demand work requirements for those receiving federal housing subsidies.
The move to overhaul how rental subsidies are calculated would affect 4.7 million families relying on federal housing assistance. The proposal legislation would require congressional approval.
Uh, excuse me, Ben Carson, we just covered this topic at THIRD “HUD” and noted the report by Shelley Connor (WSWS):

A team of researchers from Princeton University, led by sociologist Matt Desmond, has begun compiling a database of evictions throughout the United States. The first of its kind, the database found that at least 2.3 million evictions were filed in 2016, a rate of 4 evictions per minute, underscoring the heightening housing crisis in the United States a decade after the collapse of the housing market.
Desmond’s project, Eviction Lab, has thus far collected 83 million records from 48 states and the District of Columbia. “We’re in the middle of a housing crisis, and that means more and more people are giving more and more of their income to rent and utilities. Our hope is that we can take this problem that’s been in the dark and bring it into the light,” Desmond recently told NPR.
This scourge of evictions, Desmond reports, is rooted in the stagnation of wages combined with escalating housing prices. “Incomes have remained flat for many Americans over the last two decades,” Desmond explained, “but housing costs have soared… between 1995 and today, median asking rents have increased by 70 percent, adjusting for inflation.” As a result, he notes, there is a “shrinking gap” between families’ income and their rent expenses.
Desmond’s assertion is borne out by research done by other organizations. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), workers earning the federal minimum wage ($7.25 hourly) would have to work an average of 94.5 hours weekly in order to afford a basic, one-bedroom apartment. The NLIHC’s annual report on low income housing, released in March, states that about 8 million people nationwide pay greater than 50 percent of their income for rent.
“The problem is not that low-income people aren’t working hard enough. The problem, rather, is that many jobs don’t pay enough for low-income people to afford to pay the rent,” Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the NLIHC told City Lab.

No, Ben Carson, your ‘answer’ is not an answer it is punishing the low-income.
Also note this from THE WASHINGTON POST article, “Seniors over the age of 65 and individuals with disabilities would be exempt from the rental increases for the first six years. They would also be exempt from any work requirements.”  Ben Carson is wrong.  He is flat out wrong.   Six years and then what does he think happens to those over 65?  Are they supposed to die?  How the hell are they supposed to meet rental increases?  Is he going to hike Medicare?  This is nonsense.  Ben Carson is hideous.   I didn’t give a damn about his overly decorated office done on our dime.  But I do care about this. 

As we noted at THIRD, more needs to be done for economic justice, not less.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Can someone explain why our troops are in Iraq and Afghanistan? 🤷🏽‍♀️

An Australian asks the right question.  It's a question we should be asking in the US?  Those in the United Kingdom and Canada are among the citizens of other countries who should be asking the question.

In the US, we can't ask the question apparently.  We're too busy with stupidity like this.

why does it matter public editor position eliminated? bc it was the looming threat back in 2004 that the NYT public editor was going to publish major evaluation of the paper's botched WMD coverage that forced editors to finally address issue themselves;

As usual, Eric doesn't know what he's talking about.  But then, little Eric isn't mentioned in Daniel Okrent's book.  I am (and have known that since the book came out, PUBLIC EDITOR #1, but we haven't noted him in the time since so there was no need to make that disclosure).  Okrent did a good piece but it was not a major piece.  (Compare it to the similar piece by Howard Kurtz for THE WASHINGTON POST -- Kurtz had cooperation with his paper's employees.)  Okrent wrote that piece because of a community member.  He had been called out by the member.  When he first started as the paper's public editor (ombudsperson), he noted he would not go into Iraq or any other past events.  He broke that when he covered the Tonys before the paper did.  He went back to their previous coverage (he felt it had been too much) and did so before the latest nominees were announced.  Having done that, he was confronted with an e-mail about the hypocrisy of his stand.  Because of that -- he may not have agreed with the point but he did see how it could be seen as a double standard -- Daniel Okrent did a column on the Iraq War.

This did force the paper to do a limited review -- with the promise of more that never came -- of their coverage leading up to the Iraq War -- which they rushed out ahead of the column Okrent did.

That's what happened.  Again, Eric was doing nothing of value back then.  That's sort of the story of his career, isn't it?  And those thinking Big Brave Eric is so wonderful for sticking up for Hillary Clinton for the last two or so years should remember that Eric did nothing to call out the very real sexism that Hillary experienced on a daily basis in 2008.  He's always worthless.

For example, this go round, he links to the NYT editors' piece but not Okrant piece.

I'd tell Eric to go f**k himself but, let's face it, he's never stopped doing that. Which is why he can only stare into the past and can't deal with Iraq and NYT today.  Sinan Atoon's  "How NYT took part in the plunder of Iraq" (ALJAZEERA) addresses a very real issue that's current, one that Eric might get around to in twenty or so years.  Or not.

Staying with criticism, SOFREP reports criticism the central government out of Baghdad is making regarding a decision by the US government:

Once again the United States is stepping up to handle the salaries of the Peshmerga despite Iraqi criticism and their apparent inability or unwillingness to do it themselves. The United States will be giving the Ministry of Peshmerga approximately $365 million this year over several installments. The ministry confirmed they have received the first on and will be using it this week to fund Peshmerga wages. This is not the first time the United States has had to step in and provide wages for Kurdistan’s forces because of Iraqi central government negligence.
An Iraqi Minister of Parliament, Firdaws al-Awadi, has expressed that the United States providing financial aid to the Peshmerga will insight rebellion in Kurdistan. Firdaws al-Awadi is part of the State of Law Coalition which is run by Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki is the former prime minister and  current Iraqi vice president. Awadi said, “Delivering financial aid for the Peshmerga from a bank account in the US shows disrespect to the sovereignty of Iraq and is an encouragement for the Peshmerga to rebel against the Iraqi government. Delivering this money to an armed national force in Iraq without knowledge of the Iraqi government is a big problem.” Her implication is that the United States is potentially funding an armed coup.
There are many who will argue that this should have been done all along.  But certainly the fact that the Peshmerga isn't being funded post 2008 is an issue with historical implications that thug Nouri's partner Firdaws al-Awadi elects to ignore.  Sawa, SOI (and DOI), "Awakenings."  Remember them?  Sunni fighters.  Largely Sunni -- we covered the David Petreaus hearing where he said there was more than Sunnis in the group, "there are now over 91,000 Sons of Iraq -- Shia as well as Sunni -- under contract to help Coalition and Iraqi Forces protect their neighborhoods and secure infrastructure and roads. These volunteers have contributed significantly in various areas, and the savings in vehicles not lost because of reduced violence -- not to mention the priceless lives saved -- have far outweighed the cost of their monthly contracts."

That snapshot also noted then-Senator Barbara Boxer's comments and questions including that the US government was paying the Awakenings -- $18 million a month.  Boxer: "I asked you why they couldn't pay for it. . . . I don't want to argue a point. . . I'm just asking you why we would object to asking them to pay for that entire program giving all that we are giving them in blood and everything else?"

The Iraqi government was fine with the US paying for that.  But after Boxer's questions, the US pushed the cost off on Iraq.

Or said they had.

But they hadn't because Iraq wouldn't pick up the cost.  When the US finally quit paying?  The Sahwa didn't get paid.

With that in mind, the decision to pay the Peshmerga may have been made.

Nouri lets the Sahwa collapse at the same time he persecuted Sunnis which led to the rise of ISIS.  The fear might have been if the Peshmerga wasn't paid while the Kurds were targeted by the central government out of Baghdad, something similar might take place again.

The US Defense Dept is quick to announce the following:

Although hard work remains following defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s tyrannical self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria, there are encouraging signs that life is returning to normal, the spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve told Pentagon reporters today.

Oh, another turned corner!!!!

They do love to lie and spin as they start yet another wave of Operation Happy Talk.  Dropping back to Sunday:

The US press tradition is to lie and then lie again.  Over and over.  Elections are scheduled to be held May 12th in Iraq so that's the only story that the US press can manage.

If they weren't so busy selling the myth of 'liberation' and 'democracy' in Iraq, the might be able to tell you just how bad things are getting.

For example, in eastern Baghdad today a corpse was discovered dumped in the streets.

Why does that matter?

Whenever dead bodies start showing up on the streets of Baghdad, that's a sign things are getting worse, much worse.

If anyone is paying attention, this is something to be alarmed by.

That was Sunday.  Yet the Defense Dept continues to spin.  It's worth quoting then-Senator Hillary Clinton from the same April, 2008 snapshot:  "For the past five years, we have continuously heard from the administration that things are getting better, that we're about to turn a corner." 

That was in 2008.  Ten years later, it's still the same story.  Hillary concluded those remarks calling for an orderly withdrawal.  Yet US troops remain in Iraq today.

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