Following similar raids in St. Louis and Oakland, hordes of NYPD officials this morning forcibly cleared Zuccotti Park in Manhattan of all protesters; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg took “credit” for this decision. That led to this description of today’s events from an Occupy Wall Street media spokesman, as reported bySalon‘s Justin Elliott:
A military style raid on peaceful protesters camped out in the shadow of Wall Street, ordered by a cold ruthless billionaire who bought his way into the mayor’s office.
If you think about it, that short sentence is a perfect description of both the essence of America’s political culture and the fuel that gave rise to the #OWS movement in the first place.
Protesters are moving to Foley Square after Zuccotti Park is cleared using tear gas and sonic cannons.
Another brilliant idea from a one-percenter who believes in downsizing, off-shoring, privatizing and other strategies to drastically lower the quality of life for those of us who aren’t wealthy. More here.
Protesters disrupted a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event on health care today, interrupting speaker Scott Serota, the CEO of Blue Cross & Blue Shield. Chanting “we are the 99 percent,” the protesters stood at the luncheon event and used a “human microphone” technique to read a statement about how the “the one percent in the health care industry” is only interested in profit “at the expense of human suffering and preventable death.” The protesters decried the influence that the health insurance industry wielded in the debate over the Affordable Care Act, and called for “Medicare for all” or a “single payer health system.”
WASHINGTON — With a little over a week left to reach a deal, members of the Congressional deficit reduction panel are looking for an escape hatch that would let them strike an accord on revenue levels but delay until next year tough decisions about exactly how to raise taxes.
Under this approach, the panel would decide on the amount of new revenue to be raised but would leave it to the tax-writing committees of Congress to fill in details next year, well beyond the Nov. 23 deadline for the panel itself to reach an agreement. That would put off painful political decisions but ensure that the debate over deficit reduction stretched into the election year.
“There could be a two-step process that would hopefully give us pro-growth tax reform,” Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the top Republican on the panel, said Sunday on the CNN program “State of the Union.”
The government’s announcement on Tuesday that the economy grew even faster than expected makes the current ”jobless recovery” even more puzzling. To give some perspective, unemployment normally falls significantly in such economic boom times. The last time growth was this good, in 1983, unemployment fell 2.5 percentage points and another full percentage point the next year. That’s what happens in a typical recovery. So why not this time? Because we have more to recover from than we’ve been told.
The reality is that we didn’t have a mild recession. Jobs-wise, we had a deep one.
The government reported that annual unemployment during this recession peaked at only around 6 percent, compared with more than 7 percent in 1992 and more than 9 percent in 1982. But the unemployment rate has been low only because government programs, especially Social Security disability, have effectively been buying people off the unemployment rolls and reclassifying them as ”not in the labor force.”
In other words, the government has cooked the books. It has been a more subtle manipulation than the one during the Reagan administration, when people serving in the military were reclassified from ”not in the labor force” to ”employed” in order to reduce the unemployment rate. Nonetheless, the impact has been the same.
And now, in 2011, we’re told the unemployment rate is about 8.8%, while it’s really somewhere around 22%. The economic policies pushed by that same Austan Goolsbee helped get us there! Funny, how that works.
Newly elected Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas M. Nocella credits U.S. Rep. Bob Brady – Philadelphia’s Democratic Party boss – for intervening with ward leaders to put him on the ticket.
“He is the one in control,” said Nocella, 67, rated qualified for the bench by the Philadelphia Bar Association, despite having been sanctioned by the city Ethics Commission in 2009.
He pointed out that he had done years of free legal work for the party and said the judgeship was his reward. “That’s the way it’s done in Pennsylvania,” he said.
On Jan. 2, he will begin drawing a $165,000 judicial salary. Nocella welcomes the new income because there is a $358,000 IRS lien against him, the state says he ignored local taxes for years, and he has more than $1 million in debts listed in a bankruptcy case.
He is also embroiled in a Common Pleas Court lawsuit accusing him of fraud and deceit in 2005, when he helped sell off property for $507,500 that was owned by a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Manayunk. The property, overlooking the Schuylkill and large enough to hold 10 townhouses, is four blocks up the hill from Manayunk’s main shopping area.
Testifying under oath in a deposition, Nocella admitted that he pocketed $60,000 as a consequence of signing a title-company document stating he was the secretary of Straughter-Carter Post 6627 – although he acknowledged that he was never a VFW member and was not authorized to act as secretary.
He called it an “accommodation” and said that without his signature, the deal would not have gone through.
His lawyer, Samuel C. Stretton, said that Nocella’s role in the property sale “was one of the stupider things he did” and that he would probably have to cough up some money as restitution to the VFW.