"We should recognize that the erosion of fundamental rights is going very far. So far that we're actually regressing to the period before the 13th century." -Noam Chomsky, 2013
Below you will see Attorney General still ignoring the massive fraud that created this massive national debt. We all know by now that if we do not shout loudly and demand justice.....no matter how long it takes.....we will see our quality of life fall further and further to third world levels......and that includes today's middle-class
IT WAS THIS FRAUD THAT IS THE PROBLEM......NOT TAXPAYERS WRITING OFF WALL STREET DEBT!!!! YOUR WAGES ARE FALLING BECAUSE OF SUSPENDED RULE OF LAW!!!
THIS ATTORNEY GENERAL IS AS CROOKED AS THEY COME. AFTER WHAT EVERYONE SAID WAS A PARKING TICKET SETTLEMENT OF $25 BILLION WE ARE HEARING NOTHING OF THE $600-800 BILLION IN MORTGAGE FRAUD THAT IS STILL IN THE HANDS OF TAXPAYERS AND DAMAGES FROM THE FRAUD BEING FELT BY HOMEOWNERS UNDERWATER. THIS GUY IS RUNNING FOR MARYLAND'S GOVERNOR....THAT IS HOW CORRUPT MARYLAND POLITICS IS RIGHT NOW.
What Doug Gansler is saying is that because he along with Obama and Eric Holder did not require the banks to write-down all of the fraudulent and bad mortgage loans sold to Freddie/Fannie as part of the fraud settlement that is still awaiting justice, Gansler et al want the taxpayer AKA Fannie/Freddie to write down the principal. We are no lovers of the current head of Freddie, but we do know a snow-job when we read it whether the Baltimore Sun wants to explain it or not.
If the US had Rule of Law in place after the economic collapse the first thing that justice departments across the country would have done to retrieve trillions of dollars in mortgage fraud is require all bad/fraudulent loans be written off by the banks. It is that simple. Since taxpayer Freddie/Fannie were planned as the dumping site for these loans once they made their billions and were ready to crash it is important to this massive fraud scheme that the public pay the debt brought by fraud. The housing bubble and the costs to homeowners in inflated mortgage costs are direct damages of the fraud. In a Rule of Law nation people have the right to criminal and civil justice neither of which has happened with the Justice politicians we have today.
These next elections as regards Attorney General and Gov are very important in getting that justice..Gansler protects Wall Street!
Gansler wants new Fannie, Freddie leadership
By Steve Kilar The Baltimore Sun 10:12 a.m. EDT, March 20, 2013
Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and nine other attorneys general sent a letter Monday to President Obama and the U.S. Senate’s leaders demanding new management at the government entity that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The housing finance firms, which have been controlled by the federal government since 2008, have become an “obstruction” to economic recovery, said the letter signed by Gansler and the attorneys general of Massachusetts, New York, California, Delaware, Illinois, Nevada and Oregon.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie and Freddie, should offer mortgage principal reductions to homeowners struggling to pay off their loans, the attorneys general said. Other financial institutions have brought relief to homeowners with reductions, they said.
“Simply put, by refusing to allow for principal writedowns that would result in more loan modifications, FHFA stands as a direct impediment to our economic recovery,” the letter said.
The attorneys general are asking Obama to replace Acting FHFA Director Edward DeMarco with a manager who will allow Fannie and Freddie to offer principal reductions.
DeMarco has said offering principal reductions would threaten the financial stability of Fannie and Freddie. That, the attorneys general said, is “not supported by reality.”
“The FHFA’s current policy actually reduces the value of its holdings portfolio,” their letter said. “It is far more profitable for any financial institution to hold a portfolio of performing $200,000 mortgages that keeps families in their homes than a portfolio of non-performing $250,000 mortgages headed toward default.”
“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are refusing to assist thousands … thus holding back the economic recovery for everyone,” Gansler said in a statement. OH REALLY DOUG? THAT'S THE PROBLEM?
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The story with the Dogwood Restaurant has a much larger story that Dan would not share but that is critical to the future of Baltimore. We are watching Baltimore's small business owners whether restaurant, feed store, or convenience store closing at alarming speed as developers make national chains the only businesses that come with community upgrades. The 1% in Maryland obviously have stock in these chains as they force all local businesses to close. O'Malley has brought more tourism/hospitality business to the state from restaurants and more restaurants, to gambling and hotels all owned by the same 1/2 dozen of US mega corporations. All the lowest of wages.
I spoke with Myers Seed at much loved Fells Point business located there since 1950s told there block would become a parking lot. We see all of the convenience stores which were the only takers in a poor community being shut down as national chains take the grocery and alcohol sales. The small businesses I see.....young people trying to create a newspaper or Tool Library from small investments requiring years of working for free and others working for free. WHERE ARE THE SMALL BUSINESS LOANS? We have innovation centers now that defray costs until development is successful and can be bought by ... you guessed it...a mega-corporation.
Citizens do not want this kind of development and will change pols to change this!
Dan Rodricks does a good job in addressing issues that are progressive without addressing the real problems created by the city's public policies. THAT IS WHY HE REPLACED MARC STEINER!!
"Baltimore, which is loaded with generous people trying to fix their fellow humans."
If the above was true then why are there so many corrupt politicians and lawyers who just cheat and hurt people every day?
And, yes, Galen and Bridget were good, kind people, the food was wonderful, and they will be missed!
Dogwood made good food and a difference in lives Owners helped people in recovery from addiction, prison, homelessness
In full blossom, Bridget and Galen Sampson's charming Hampden restaurant is serious about its commitment to sustainability and community development. For diners, Galen Sampson's classic preparations of American cuisine make doing the right thing a pleasure.
Dan Rodricks 7:05 p.m. EDT, March 20, 2013
Has it been mentioned anywhere that the couple who ran the Dogwood Restaurant in Hampden tried to change the lives of desperate people while serving good food and drink?
There aren't a lot of businesses willing to hire ex-offenders and recovering drug addicts. It's a bother. It comes with risks, and there are plenty of attorneys to warn clients about "negligence in hiring," and the liability that brings.
But the Dogwood believed in giving second chances, so attention must be paid, however late the notice.
The Dogwood closed last weekend, with owner Galen Sampson telling The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic, Richard Gorelick, that business went south over the last three weeks. Sampson paid his staff and closed the doors.
By most measures, that means the Dogwood was a failure.
But, by another measure — making a difference in the lives of people — it was a relatively short, sweet success.
Five years ago, when I was writing frequently about joblessness among ex-offenders — men and women coming out of prison with no clear plan for re-entry — people who cared about that problem pointed toward the Dogwood, Sampson and his wife, Bridget.
These were special people, even by the standards of Baltimore, which is loaded with generous people trying to fix their fellow humans.
Galen Sampson had been an acclaimed chef at the upscale Harbor Court Hotel. He developed the idea for a culinary training program for people in recovery while a community fellow with the Open Society Institute.
Every year, OSI awards grants to social entrepreneurs with great ideas for improving Baltimore, one step at a time, with particular emphasis on reducing the drug addiction, violence, poverty and family dysfunction that has festered in the poorest neighborhoods for so long.
So, with a grant from OSI, Galen Sampson launched his program, calling it Chefs in the Making and paying people as they learned how to prepare and cook food.
Bridget was right there with him. A writer and social activist, she'd been the recipient of a 2003 OSI grant to tutor incarcerated mothers and their children in reading. She'd also been involved in an outreach program for women coming out of prison.
"Two people with hearts of gold," Diana Morris, the director of OSI-Baltimore, says of them.
Starting in 2007, the Sampsons took on the double challenge of running a restaurant — never an easy thing — and training people in recovery from drugs, prison and/or homelessness.
"You need to make a difference to your community," Galen Sampson said.
A few years ago, we reported on the success of some of the people who escaped addiction and relapse through the Dogwood kitchen.
One was a fellow named Tyrone Lewis, the lead apprentice in Chefs in the Making at the time. Though he had been hooked on heroin for 15 years, Lewis managed to get and keep a series of short-order cooking jobs. By 2008, he had been clean for four years and working as the Dogwood's kitchen manager.
I don't know where Lewis is these days, and Galen Sampson could not be reached Wednesday.
But that's OK. Attention must be paid, just the same.
Here's a man who, with his wife, created an enterprise with the whole community in mind. They bought organic and seasonal produce from local farmers, pushing the idea of using sustainable, regional food sources. They offered a great product presented smartly. They planted their business in an old neighborhood with new promise. And they were willing to expend the extra energy required for Chefs in the Making.
"They made a difference," says Morris. "They did a lot for people and did it with dignity. They took the time to develop a program so people could improve themselves with better pay and stable jobs — in the kitchen and out front. Galen taught the people he trained every aspect of the restaurant so they could have a good future and climb the culinary ladder."
Of course, the recession hit soon after the Dogwood opened, and the restaurant closed and reopened a couple of times. Some people never took to its below-level dining space and the lack of natural light.
"At The Dogwood, we tried to do something innovative and risky, and the city and its people always supported us," Galen Sampson wrote in his farewell message on the restaurant's website. He thanked his staff, customers and investors, then said he was headed to an organic farm in Virginia for the growing season while his wife returned to her love: writing fiction.
"However, nothing will ever bring us the joy and the heartache, the fun and the challenge that the Dogwood did," he closed. "The Dogwood pursued the ideal of being a good restaurant that also helped people who were trying to change their lives. We hold in our hearts individuals with transformed lives and the moments of profound community we shared celebrating food and wine. We consider those some of the greatest successes one can have in life."
If anyone follows the labor wages and rights issues in Maryland they will see a deeply RED state that works hard in keeping and creating the cheapest labor possible. You also see on this list all states that claim to be democratic and progressive as the ones who impoverish just as they do in Louisiana. THESE ARE THIRD WAY CORPORATE AND WEALTH STATES WHO RUN POLS AS DEMOCRATS JUST SO THEY CAN KEEP LABOR AND JUSTICE AT A DISADVANTAGE.
Robert J. Garagiola
Delores G. Kelley
Allan H. Kittleman
Katherine A. Klausmeier
James N. Mathias, Jr.
E. J. Pipkin
Catherine E. Pugh
Victor R. Ramirez
All we need to do is vote these corporate pols out of office and RUN AND ELECT LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATES.
Minimum wage bill fails in committee
Erin Cox The Baltimore Sun 7:14 p.m. EDT, March 20, 2013
A bill to raise Maryland's minimum wage to $10 an hour failed in a Senate committee vote Wednesday, its sponsor said.
The Raise Maryland campaign, part of a national effort, sought to increase the state's minimum per-hour wage from $7.25 to one of the highest rates in the country. The organization said had the minimum wage been raised with inflation over the past 40 years, it would be $10.67.
The Senate Finance Committee voted unfavorably on the measure. One committee member said it failed in an 8-3 vote.
A companion bill has been introduced in the House of Delegates, but a committee vote has not been scheduled.
"I see better hopes for next year," Sen. Rob Garagiola, a Montgomery County Democrat who sponsored the bill, said in a message, adding that "the groundwork had been laid."
The National Employment Law Project has this year launched campaigns to raise the minimum wage in Maryland, New York, New Mexico, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusettes, Minnesota, Hawaii, California and Illinois.
WE ARE SEEING THIS PLAN IN THE MAYOR'S RECENT BUDGET. IT HAS THE REQUIREMENT OF POLICE AND FIREFIGHTERS AS HAVING TO GET 4 YEAR DEGREES BUT AT THE SAME TIME THEY ARE MOVING FROM THE 40 HOUR WORK WEEK TO ONE OF 60......ELIMINATING 1/2 A PERSON ON THE BACKS OF LONGER WORK HOURS.
THIS IS HAPPENING ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY AS LABOR IS SEEN TO BE A COST SAVINGS IN PRIVATE BUSINESS AND NOW PUBLIC SECTOR. IN BALTIMORE THE CITY OWNS HOTELS BOTH OF WHICH ARE PROTESTING BECAUSE THE WAGES ARE SO BAD......YET THE CITY PROFITS FROM THAT.
HOW CAN GOVERNMENT PROTECT AND SERVE WHEN IT IS THE SOURCE OF ABUSE? IT CANNOT!!!!
Baltimore Fire Chief Wants Firefighters To Work 14 More Hours Per Week; Union Cool To Idea
March 27th, 2012 BALTIMORE, MD – Baltimore Fire Chief James Clack floated a plan Thursday to reduce the ranks by 25 percent and extend firefighters’ workweeks by 14 hours, which he says could save the city $10 million annually.
Clack said that shifts for city firefighters, the lowest-paid in the state, would be extended from 42 hours a week to 56 hours, boosting their net pay 20 percent. While he said his goal for the next year is to negotiate the plan with union officials, he acknowledged that there was not “wide acceptance.”
“They see it as going backward,” Clack told Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at a budget briefing at City Hall. “We may end up at some midpoint. We’ll spend this calendar year talking about the options and ideas on how to make [the plan] palatable and save money.”
Union president Rick Hoffman said the plan wasn’t just being resisted; he called it “out of the question.”
“The Baltimore firefighters and Baltimore fire officers are not interested in working 56 hours,” Hoffman said.
Disclosure of the proposed plan came as fire officials briefed Rawlings-Blake on the anticipated closure of three fire companies, part of an effort to close a $48 million shortfall in the city’s $3 billion budget.
A fire company is made up of either a truck or an engine and the staff assigned to it, and officials said the closures come from stations that house at least two companies. For the past two years, the Fire Department has been closing three companies on a rotating basis.
“Rotating closures are a temporary solution, maybe for a year, or six months,” Clack said. “This is not a temporary issue.”
In addition to the closures, Clack’s budget for the next fiscal year calls for the elimination of 66 vacant positions.
Clack pointed out that despite department changes, fire deaths were the lowest on record last year and that only one person has died in a fire this year. Moreover, firefighters respond to the scene of a fire within four minutes in 85 percent of calls, a number he believes can be improved upon with new technology that he hopes to implement.
He also stressed that no fire stations would be shuttered with the company closures.
But Hoffman, the union president, said morale is crumbling and Clack has failed to show leadership.
This month, the fire union in Anne Arundel County voted no confidence in Chief John Ray. Hoffman said such a move won’t be necessary in Baltimore: “Chief Clack knows there’s not a firefighter in the city who has any confidence in him. We don’t need to vote on that,” Hoffman said.
He said that firefighters are not receiving pay raises as their health care costs increase and that the Fire Department seems to be absorbing disproportionate cuts.
“It seems like we’re to blame for everybody’s budget woes,” Hoffman said. “All we’re asking for is to be treated fairly. We want a decent hourly wage, and to come to work, retire and live happily. Are we under siege? You better believe it.”
Any plan to alter work hours and pay would need approval from the union or go to binding arbitration. Clack said the union has not made any counterproposals, but he said he remains optimistic.
Clack said a 56-hour workweek is common in “any big city west of the Appalachian Mountains or south of Washington, D.C.” He said it is being proposed in the District of Columbia as well as Anne Arundel County and Philadelphia.
While Clack said pay would increase 20 percent, he acknowledged that the hourly rate would go down. Still, he said firefighters have told him that they want to earn more pay and his plan would accomplish that.
The reduction in the workforce would come over time through attrition, not layoffs, Clack told city officials.
“I’m trying to find them a way to get a raise and still manage the Fire Department,” Clack said. “There just isn’t money available unless we can figure out a way to make our budget stretch forward. The only way I can think of is less people and have them make more money.”
WE SAW THE MINIMUM WAGE BILL DIE AND NOW THE WORKERS RIGHTS BILL REGARDING BASIC SICK LEAVE DIE.
IT'S TIME TO SEND CORPORATE THIRD WAY DEMOCRATS PACKING AND RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE!!!!
While Paid Sick Leave bill died in House Economic Matters committee, leaders like Emmanuel McCray will keep fighting.
Our media team recorded his testimony, it is something to remember: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2mmbK_4ob0&list=UUfkHaUOfPBwwnjlt7PcgJJQ
WE NEED OUR BALTIMORE PARENTS, TEACHERS, AND CITIZENS TO STOP THE PRIVATIZATION OF BALTIMORE'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS.....IT IS NOT ONLY ABOUT GENTRIFICATION FOLKS.
THESE ARE PROFESSIONALS WHO SHOULD BE PAID MORE AND ALLOWED TO SPEND MORE TIME ON THE STUDENTS!
Teachers, school staff continue strike in Cleveland, Ohio suburb
"Teachers are entering the third week on strike in Strongsville, Ohio, a more affluent suburb outside of Cleveland, as a federal mediator held talks Sunday, the first since the strike began March 4. The talks began as the school district continued hiring replacement workers and two strikers were arrested on the picket line.
The old contract for 383 teachers and other educational staff expired last June at the same time Republican governor John Kasich signed House Bill 153, the state budget for the next two fiscal years. The final version of the bill cut close to $3 billion in funding for public education, and called for a sharp expansion of charter schools and voucher programs. Post-secondary education was cut by $440 million.
The gutting of seniority rights and pensions, while not included in HB 153, are part of the demands of the Strongsville Board of Education. By getting rid of seniority in favor of so-called “pay for performance,” or “value added measures,” the district can get rid of the most experienced and highest paid teachers. Teachers would be fired based on evaluations, with 50 percent of the evaluation based on student test scores.
This aligns with one of the central tenets of the Obama Administrations attack on public education, the Race to the Top program, which seeks to eliminate teacher tenure. By tying federal funding to performance on standardized tests, charter school permits, and cost-cutting—such as the eradication of pension plans—the Obama administration and its state-level counterparts have compelled local school districts to carry out an all-out assault on the living standards of teachers, leading to a decline in the quality of classroom instruction.
The stand taken by striking teachers has won support from current and prior students and parents, as shown at a vigil last Thursday in Strongsville where 150 people came together to support the teachers. Several children held signs reading, “I love my teachers.”
The SEA has repeatedly gone out of its way to stress its readiness to negotiate an end to the walkout. According to the Northeast Ohio Sun News, Strongsville Education Association President Tracy Linscott said, “the board members showing up to the negotiating session was a deal maker to reaching an agreement.”
Since there was no progress reached in either of the two “exploratory meetings,” Sun News reported , “the SEA invited the board members to a March 16 negotiation session at the North Eastern Ohio Education Association offices in Garfield Heights”. The school board refused and stated they were only willing to attend a meeting called by a mediator. The meeting held Sunday is in response to the board’s request.
This comes on the heels of the arrest of two teachers on the picket line allegedly for blocking strikebreakers from entering school buildings. The district has been hiring about 20 new replacement workers every day through Huffmaster, a notorious strikebreaking firm contracted by the district months before the contract ended on March 8.
The Northeast Sun News reported one teacher was released after being cited with one count of “reckless operation of a motor vehicle”. The other was charged with disorderly conduct, after being identified by the police the day before as a militant and outspoken striker.
A comment by a Sun News reader eight months ago noted that the district paid over half a million dollars to Pepple and Waggoner, “a law firm that has built a reputation around being antagonistic during labor negotiations, claiming it will help school boards ‘take back’ their school from unions.” The reader concluded that the district was determined to provoke a strike.
In the face of this assault, the Strongsville teachers have been left isolated by the Ohio Education Association and National Education Association (NEA), the parent organizations of the SEA. The NEA was one of the first unions to endorse Obama’s reelection, levying $10 from each of its 3.2 million members to provide the president with a $32 million infusion."
18 March 2013
Strongsville teachers strike - jpg