Proposed Tax On Million Dollar Living Spaces Serving As Second Home

“For properties valued between $5 million and $6 million, a 0.5 percent surcharge would be added on the value over $5 million. Fees and a higher surcharge would apply to homes that sold for more than $6 million, topping out at a $370,000 fee and a 4 percent surcharge for homes valued at more than $25 million.”

This would be huge in NYC where so many high end living spaces remain empty for they are just investments.

Would be great for a subway system revamp, and any leftover for remedying the housing crisis there.

www.nytimes.com/2019/03/11/nyregion/mta-subways-pied-a-terre-tax.html

To Vote or Not to Vote?

voteOne weekend about a month ago, on MSNBC’s weekend roundtable show “Up with Steve Kornacki”, Mr. Kornacki interviewed former liberal Representative from Massachusetts Barney Frank. They were discussing the difference between the liberal “Occupy” movement vs. the conservative “Tea Party” movement and their affect on Washington. During the discussion Rep. Frank  stated something I found profound:

“The Left march, the Right votes.”

This statement shook me because I have never voted. I feel that no politician has yet to earn my vote. Both the Democrats and the GOP offer no real, meaningful solutions to our societal problems. They do not offer serious proposals for change, such as addressing the state of inequality between the rich and poor here in the U.S. and around the globe, or the problem of minority discrimination, or general issues of injustice. They are identical in this problem.

So what to do? The Tea Party has had success in affecting change within the narrow confines of power between two extremely similar ideologies in Washington. But so what? Should we then just take what we can and vote for Democratic candidates?

Today I want to propose the first Sparking The Left poll for our readers to participate in and we would love to read your comments on the issue, too: Should we vote for liberal candidates or not at all until a real voice for change can bare a real chance at winning office?

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“Breaking The Silence” of Occupation

Israeli soldiers arrest Palestinian protest against Jewish settlementIn The Guardian yesterday there was a piece on striking testimonies from Israeli soldiers recounting their own violence against the people of occupied Palestine.

The Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence has been collecting these testimonies for it’s ten years of existence and conducted a reading in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square on Friday: the anniversary of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land in 1967.

They are all horror stories that recount the brutal nature of the occupation down to small incidents detailing differing types of atrocities against innocent Palestinian citizens. And it shows that even Israelis, themselves, feel guilt over their little part of the internationally condemned occupation.

Here is just one of the recounted incidents found in the article linked here:

SERGEANT, ANONYMOUS
Paratrooper, 2002, Nablus
We took over a central house, set up positions, and one of the sharpshooters identified a man on a roof, two roofs away, I think he was between 50 and 70 metres away, not armed. I looked at the man through the night vision – he wasn’t armed. It was two in the morning. A man without arms, walking on the roof, just walking around. We reported it to the company commander. The company commander said: “Take him down.” [The sharpshooter] fired, took him down. The company commander basically ordered, decided via radio, the death sentence for that man. A man who wasn’t armed.

I saw with my own eyes that the guy wasn’t armed. The report also said: “A man without arms on the roof.” The company commander declared him a lookout, meaning he understood that the guy was no threat to us, and he gave the order to kill him and we shot him. I myself didn’t shoot, my friend shot and killed him. And basically you think, you see in the United States there’s the death penalty, for every death sentence there are like a thousand appeals and convictions, and they take it very seriously, and there are judges and learned people, and there are protests and whatever. And here a 26-year-old guy, my company commander, sentenced an unarmed man to death.

 

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Kill Credit Suisse!

leadIn a great op-ed in The Atlantic by James Kwak, Kwak argues that Credit Suisse, a Swiss bank that plead guilty to helping rich Americans evade income taxes for years in terms of billions of dollars, should be punished by revoking it’s license rather than getting the slap on the wrist it is currently receiving.

He argues that this is not a “too big to fail” situation for Credit Suisse for it is a solvent entity.

This is his three step plan to accomplish such an end:

First, Credit Suisse could simply be allowed to operate for, say, three years—enough time to sell off its assets and close its positions without having to take “fire sale” prices. Second, the bank could create a new, licensed subsidiary. That subsidiary could take over all of Credit Suisse’s current positions that can’t be closed easily, and then authorized to operate solely in runoff mode. Third, the government could create a new entity (roughly like the Resolution Trust Corporation) that would buy Credit Suisse’s more complicated assets and positions and then unwind them over as long a period as necessary, eliminating the pressure to sell quickly at a loss.

After 2008, we cannot allow big financial institutions operate with impunity when they are breaking the law with so much on the line. This insightful argument by Kwak could lead to a new blueprint for dealing with the corruption of Wall Street.

Read Here.

 

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Potential Jurors in Occupy Activist Trial

Cecily McMillan arrives at courtCecily McMillan on trial in a New York courtroom accused of assaulting a police officer with her arm during an Occupy Wall St. rally. She claims that someone had grabbed her breast from behind causing a reflex motion leading to the supposed assault. She could face seven years in prison.

Not only is this a cockamamie charge against Ms. McMillan, but the potential sentence is far too extreme.

But let’s put that all aside.

What is interesting in a below linked report from The Guardian are the events taking place during the jury selection process. Here New Yorkers are showing some of their true colors regarding Occupy and they’re rightist views of Wall Street in general.

Read Here.

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Raising the Minimum Wage: An Issue of Morality

McDonald's workersGood piece in The Guardian by Heidi Moore about how a raise in the minimum wage is both an economic and moral issue.

Read Here.

Why the GOP is Obsessed with Israel

IsraelA good article at Alternet that explores some interesting, though not all I agree with, views on why the American right-wing is obsessed with Israel and their unwavering support. All this is told through the prism of the Sen. Hagel nomination debate.

Read Here.

Rich Don’t Even Believe in Upward Mobility Anymore

A good piece in The Guardian by Naomi Wolf professing that, with the release of the secret tapes of Mitt Romney discussing the “47 percent,” not even conservatives believe one can find success in America any longer if being born with the wrong socioeconomic status. The Horatio Alger-story like, “pulling oneself up by your own bootstraps” days are long gone.

Read Here.

The Myth of Voter Fraud & Those Taking Advantage of the Lies

A great article in the NYT on True the Vote, a national group focused on voter fraud, and their actions in many minority voting districts in swing states. It also covers how True the Vote and similar groups have no proof of the massive voter fraud they claim is rampant across the nation. They are just their to prevent and intimidate the minority vote.

Read Here

 

On the Occupy Movement and Lehman Brothers Collapse On Year Later

Another good NYT op-ed by Joe Nocera on the upcoming anniversary (9/17/2011) of the fall of Lehman Bros. and the beginning of the Occupy movement.

Read Here.