Friday, December 30, 2011

Jason Salzman: The 99 Percent: Income Inequality by the Numbers

Jason Salzman: The 99 Percent: Income Inequality by the Numbers

So, here's a crib sheet for anyone writing about Occupy in 2012.

Income Inequality: Occupy by the Numbers

Percentage of our nation's wealth owned by the top 1% of earners: 33.8%

Percentage of U.S. wealth owned by the bottom 50% of Americans: 2.5%.

Percentage of investment assets (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.) owned by top 1%: over 50%

Percentage of investment assets owned by the bottom half: 0.5%

Percentage of the nation's personal debt owed by the top 1% in the US: 5%

Percentage of the nation's personal debt owed by the bottom 90% of Americans: 73%


75 Years Ago Today, the First Occupy

Great story. Working people have had to fight for every right we enjoy today.

75 Years Ago Today, the First Occupy - The Huffington Post

Don Cheadle Says President Obama Should Have Been More 'Gangsta,' Clarifies Comments

He's disappointed like so many loyal supporters who believed Obama's promises.

Don Cheadle Says President Obama Should Have Been More 'Gangsta,' Clarifies Comments - The Huffington Post

Cable Television Bills Have Nearly Tripled In The Past 10 Years

Occupy Philly Is Alive and Well

Written by Joan E. Dowlin (Huffington Post):

I was in town pet sitting for a friend when I went online to find out what is happening with the Occupy movement in Philadelphia. I saw that there was an Assembly Meeting at the Friends Center Thursday evening so I decided to check it out.

I am so glad I did. Previously I had written twice in The Huffington Post about Occupy Philly this past fall describing my trips to Dilworth Plaza and my interviews with various people connected to the movement. I remember coming away inspired and full of hope for the future.

This assembly was an even deeper experience of insightful, spiritual activism. Even though the tents are gone, one occupier shared that "the organic whole of the movement still exists." I would guess there were about 40 people there. There were representatives of all ages and races. It began with business items first: schedules, court dates, the website, and announcements. I almost felt like I was at a church meeting. Occupy is planning a New Year's Eve party and being a part of the Mummer's parade.
Full article

Romney takes the high road as Christie targets Obama

The main reason Christie is campaigning with Romney is in preparation to make him a running mate for the likely winner of the GOP primaries. Christie thought about running for President. He felt he was unprepared. Being VP for 4 or more years would prepare him for an eventual run for the White House. Christie is also popular with Republicans and is more well known than any other potential running mate. He also makes an interesting contrast with Romney. The only drawback? He is a Northerner. But it wouldn't matter for Romney. The South votes Republican, with a few exceptions. Christie is the logical choice:

Undeterred by the cold or by a steady drizzle, some 600 Iowans came out this morning to hear Mitt Romney, along with his surrogate and enforcer, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, rally the troops before Tuesday's Iowa caucus begins the 2012 primary campaign in earnest.

Romney, as he has done all week in Iowa, set the stakes for 2012 high, telling the crowd the race was not about just changing occupants of the oval office, but also about "saving the soul of America."

No one wages that fight better than Christie, said Romney; the New Jersey governor returned the favor.

"As we always do every four years, America's watching Iowa and Iowa's gonna be, gonna be the folks who are gonna help to start this process to get us going to make sure that the Republican Party nominates the very best person to take on President Obama in November," Christie told the shivering crowd. "Now when you look at that stage in these debates, I think you've gotta come to the conclusion I've come to: there is no person better qualified by his experience and his character to take on Barack Obama and to lead the United States of America than Gov. Mitt Romney"

Christie also jokingly warned the crowd that there would be consequences if they did not support Romney at Tuesday's caucuses. Christie said that he would return to Iowa "Jersey Style," a statement with different, but equally terrifying meaning, to fans of "The Sopranos" and "Jersey Shore" alike.
Full article

Bank CEOs Make Big Money 2011

Shouldn't there be a relationship between stock performance and CEO pay? Not in today's corporate environment. The DOW went up .3 percent in 2011. And the wages of American workers didn't do any better. So how is it that those responsible see their personal gain skyrocketing:

Here’s a tough pill to swallow for big bank investors: Your stock was slammed in 2011 but the CEO running the company is making out just fine.

According to data from bank analyst Dick Bove bank CEOs are out-earning their employees and shareholders even as shares of their respective companies dropped this year.

Bove found that while earnings per share increased about 13% at the 23 financial institutions he follows stock prices dropped more than 30%, and CEO salary was more than 65 times than the average employee salary.
Full article

Bank Fees Predicted To Rise In 2012, As Banks Try To Boost Revenue

Because bank profits are not high enough:

Squeezed by regulations under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, banks are looking to find new ways to wring fees from customers. In 2012, expect to see higher minimum balance requirements and an ongoing push to increase customers' credit card spending, according to a "2012 U.S. Banking Sector Outlook" report from Trepp, an analytics company that provides information to the banking industry.

Other industry analysts predict that some banks could raise overdraft fees from $35 to a new high of $40 and that more institutions will increase monthly maintenance fees on basic checking accounts to between $12 and $15.

Over the past three years, various new regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act and the Credit Card Act have reined in certain aggressive fee practices. More regulations in 2012 are expected to further hamper banks' ability to make big profits off the basic banking activities of consumers.

Yet banks' losses from Dodd-Frank and other regulations haven't been as dramatic as portrayed. In 2007, the percentage of revenue that came from fees was more than 40 percent, according to Trepp. In 2011, that percentage dropped just 4 points to 36 percent.
Full article

It was an off year for the banks. You might even see some CEOs being laid-off:
So is Dodd-Frank “killing” the industry? In fact, “bank profits rose substantially” in the first quarter of the year, with banks showing the biggest profits since before the recession. Things were sunny in the second quarter as well:

    – Profits at JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s second largest bank, were up 13 percent.

    – Third-largest Citigroup’s profits soared 23 percent.

    – Fourth-largest Wells Fargo’s profits shot up 29 percent.

    – Fifth-largest Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, “disappointed investors” when it merely “more than doubled its profits.”

    –Sixth-largest Morgan Stanley’s profits were up an impressive 17 percent.

The only top-tier bank to have a rough second quarter was the nation’s largest, Bank of America, which has been dragged down in part by its acquisition of investment house Merril Lynch — a move that, ironically, would not have been allowed under the Glass–Steagall Act, the repeal of which Gingrich spearheaded as House Speaker in the 90s.

Video: Are the GOP Presidential Candidates part of the 99%

Watch this video and see whether you think the GOP candidates running for President sympathize with your plight. If you think they are then you'll find this video quite amusing:

Hundreds of thousands in Syria protest gov't

We must support the war on tyranny. Let's not forget how America came to be. And we would not have won against the British without support from other nations. Let's keep the heat on Assad just as we did with the tyrants in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, etc. If we don't succeed then we are all in danger:

 Hundreds of thousands of Syrians poured into the streets across the nation Friday in the largest protests in months, shouting for the downfall of the regime in a defiant display invigorated by the presence of Arab observers, activists said.

Despite the presence of the monitors, activists said Syrian forces killed at least 19 people, most of them shot during anti-government protests.

Rami Abdul-Raham, who heads the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the crowds were largest Friday in Idlib and Hama provinces, with 250,000 people each. Other massive rallies were held in Daraa province and the Damascus suburb of Douma, he said.
Full article

Video: Mitt Romney Was Outraged By Money In Politics In 1994

This video is without a doubt the best argument for getting money out of politics. Thanks to BuzzFeed and Stanscates for the info:

WHO 'Deeply Concerned' by Deadly flu Research

"Scientists altered a deadly virus to make it even more contagious"

The World Health Organization issued a stern warning on Friday to scientists who have engineered a highly pathogenic form of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus , saying their work carries significant risks and must be tightly controlled.
Full article

Egyptian Police Raid Pro-Democracy Groups: Should U.S. Cut Aid to Egypt?

You mean we haven't cut aid to the Egyptian military?

Egyptian police raided 17 offices of pro-democracy and human rights groups Thursday over speculation that those groups are taking foreign money. Out of the 17 groups, three are supported by the United States.

With $1.3 billion of U.S. aid going to the ruling Egyptian military a year, this event is a clear violation of U.S. interests in the region. If the U.S. appears to be supporting autocratic regimes at a time where so many are seeking the democratic values the U.S. advocates, the America could possess the image of being on the wrong side of history regarding the Arab Spring.
Full article

Recession 'to return' to Europe, say Economists

A recession in Europe would be disastrous for the U.S. It might lead to a collapse of the overvalued stock market in America. And if it happens in 2012 Obama is finished. And so would all of us:

The vast majority of leading economists polled by the BBC believe recession will return to Europe next year.

One fifth said the eurozone would not exist in its current 17-member form, while the majority put the possibility of a eurozone break-up at 30%-40%.

The poll also found that most economists expect UK interest rates to remain at 0.5% throughout next year.

It was conducted among 34 UK and European economists who regularly advise the Bank of England.

Of the 27 who responded, 25 forecast recession for Europe next year.
Full article

Team Obama Lays out Electoral Map Strategy

Source: LA Times:

The Obama campaign likes to start with the states that John Kerry won in the 2004 election, on the theory that these rock-solid blue states are a lock for the Democratic nominee. Building on the 251 electoral votes that Kerry received, the Obama campaign believes that it can win a second term if any of the following strategies pans out.

The West. The Obama campaign says that one way to get over the top is to win Colorado and Nevada, states that Obama carried in 2008. “We believe if we register more voters, start putting teams in place that can start talking to voters, we can win these states,’’ Messina said.

[...]Beyond.  No one in Obama’s campaign leadership expects him to have an easier time of it in 2012 than in ’08. Unemployment is high, Congress is gridlocked and voters are disillusioned with Washington. Still, anything can happen in an election year, and the Obama campaign hopes to pick up certain states that went Republican in ’08. The most promising is Arizona, Messina said. Arizona is the home state of the 2008 Republican nominee, John McCain, so Obama didn't compete there last time. In this election, though, Arizona may be in play. “There are hundreds of thousands of eligible voters who are unregistered in Arizona,’’ Messina said. “We’re excited about our opportunities there.’’

Sears lists 79 closings, gets Fitch downgrade

White House Domestic Policy Chief Exits

Russia: Nuclear Submarine Fire Finally Out

Suspect confesses to biggest China corruption case

Virus sickens 110,000 in Vietnam, kills 166

Jerry Brown On Occupy Oakland: Governor Vows To Help Prevent Port Shutdown