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

Media Post: Why Flee El Salvador, and The French ‘Yellow Vests.”

A short post today with two important video reports from The Guardian and The New York Times showing why Salvadoran migrants are leaving their homes to apply for asylum here in the U.S. (hint: Washington’s crimes), and the latest on the French “yellow vests” movement

“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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Critical Bergdahl Comrades Republican Agents

Afghanistan Captured SoldierI am still in a dizzy regarding my reaction to the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captivity and all the accusations and critical shots being taken at the White House, Bergdahl’s Father, and Bergdahl himself in it’s wake. So I’m awaiting the facts before making any bold decisions in the form of a post. But I will say that the politics being played around this event by the Right is striking.

 

Let’s first look at the accusations against Bergdahl through quotes from a NYT article from June 2nd:

The furious search for Sergeant Bergdahl, his critics say, led to the deaths of at least two soldiers and possibly six others in the area.

Yet…

Pentagon officials say those charges are unsubstantiated and are not supported by a review of a database of casualties in the Afghan war.

A second former senior military officer, who also was briefed on the Bergdahl investigation, said there was no direct evidence that diversion of surveillance aircraft or troops to search for Sergeant Bergdahl encouraged the Taliban attacks, or left other American troops vulnerable. “This was a dangerous region in Afghanistan in the middle of the ‘fighting season,’ ” the officer said in an email, adding that although the search “could have created some opportunities for the enemy,” it is “difficult to establish a direct cause and effect.”

And…

A review of the database of casualties in the Afghan war suggests that Sergeant Bergdahl’s critics appear to be blaming him for every American soldier killed in Paktika Province in the four-month period that followed his disappearance.

Now, I am not calling anyone a liar and I’m sure that these men in uniform believe what they believe, but the most troubling Republican antic is this:

Two of Bergdahl’s former comrades – Joshua Cornelison and Cody Full – gave interviews to the Wall Street Journal, Fox News and the Daily Mail suggesting the soldier had endangered the lives of fellow soldiers by voluntarily leaving his base.

They pair also spoke to the New York Times, which disclosed the interviews had been “arranged by Republican strategists”….

The series of interviews was facilitated by Capitol Media Parters, a PR firm owned by Richard Grennell, Mitt Romney’s former foreign policy spokesman.

This was from The Guardian yesterday. 

 

 

 

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Hillary Attacks Gun Culture

1e1e828f-c6fb-4842-8667-fffca5de21fd-460x276A report in The Guardian on a recent speaking engagement featuring former Sec. of State, and potential Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton at the National Council for Behavioural Health conference in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in which she stated that gun culture in the U.S. is “way out of balance”.

She argued that the idea that “anybody can have a gun, anywhere, anytime” needs to be reined in while our Second Amendment rights could still be recognized.

Read Here.

Also, at The Guardian’s website you can find great info and cool graphs outlining individual gun laws state-by-state (link below). But the information was published in January, 2013, and, therefore, may be outdated regarding some States.

See Here

 

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Piketty On The “American Dream”

thomas-piketty-economist-will-huttonA great op-ed in The Guardian by Heidi Moore on Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the 21st Century” which has made Piketty a “rock-star economist”.

It argues that the “American Dream” and meritocracy are not the rule but the exception in Western history among other things that are sure to bring us all down.

The op-ed lists more points made in the book and gives a good summary than that is simplistically listed here. So go read it and, in the interest of full disclosure, I just got through the introduction of the book and it is pretty f’n good.

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America Is Not in Retreat

John Kerry, Sergey LavrovAn op-ed in The Guardian by Michael Cohen argues that America is not in “retreat” around the globe but rather is just not invading other countries and starting World War III without due course.

He refutes individual arguments by mostly right-wing critics and makes the case that changing tactics is not a sign of backing off the global stage.

Read Here.

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Venezuela’s Pres. Maduro Interview and Article

Venezuelan President Nicolas MaduroA great piece in The Guardian on recent Venezuelan unrest with a print and video interview with Pres. Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro claims that the U.S. is almost directly involved with the middle- to upper-class revolt their in an effort to procure Venezuela’s vast oil reserves.

I am not backing that assessment but the U.S. has had a century of destabilizing activity in Latin America. The evidence is clear.

But what is important to take away from this piece, and the protests in general, is that it’s the revolution of the rich. U.S. political assessments of it are wrong. It is not a “Spring” revolt.

Now there are problems in Venezuela, and The Guardian lists them, but they are getting better as The Guardian also reports. It’s like Maduro said in the interview: “What country doesn’t have problems?”

There is no justification in these protests which are a coup attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government without major crime.

Read Here.

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Censoring Free Speech is Wrong

Gleen_Greenwald-140In an earlier post, some time ago, I argued that the curbing of media messages railing against a successful revolution is justified due to the outside influences which may be too strong for that revolution to sustain. I was speaking about, in specifics, the situations in Venezuela and Cuba.

But I was wrong. The freedom of speech should never be quelled due to the fact that the marketplace of ideas is where revolutions should have to stand at their tallest.

This piece by The Guardians Glenn Greenwald really opened my eyes.

(I tweeted this piece yesterday first on our Twitter feed, if interested)

Read Here.

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Obama Announces NSA Bulk Data-Collection Reform

Barack ObamaAn article in The Guardian, who first published whistle blower Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA bulk-information collection, reports on Pres. Obama’s announced reforms on data-collection policy.

Read Here.

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