News Articles By Mary Bottari

Chicago to Wall Street: Pay US Back!

While the Occupy Wall Street movement is sweeping the country and peaceful arrests are mounting, Chicagoans took to the streets this week to hold the big banks accountable for crashing the economy and to demand city, state and federal policies that work for working families.

For many, the goal was stopping the foreclosure mill and telling the big banks it was time to Pay US Back! for the $4.7 trillion bailout. For others, the demands focused on the fallout from the financial crisis including contentious contract negotiations with the administration of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel.

For most, the range of issues were inextricably linked.

The Occupation Is On The Move, Find a Big Bank Protest Near You

U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone used to say "sometimes you have to pick a fight to win one."

Now Occupy Wall Street has picked one, right in Jamie Dimon's backyard.

But it won't stay contained in Zuccotti Park. While Brookfield Properties called the park a "public sanctuary" in 2005, they have apparently changed their minds. Mr. Zuccotti wants his park back and the police are preparing to clear it with new rules barring camping, sleeping and breathing.

They are too late. The train has left the station and the Occupation is on the move. From Manhattan to Hawaii big bank protests are planned. Everyone who cares about creating an economy that works for working people should get on board.

Darrell Issa Goes Postal, Job-Killing Retiree Bill Moves to the States

Save America's Postal Service Darrell Issa is going postal. In the name of "Saving the Post Office," the head of the House Government Oversight Committee is ready to knock off 200,000 jobs and put the U.S. Postal Service, founded in 1775, on the path to oblivion. President Obama's rescue plan is only slightly better -- 80,000 people might lose their jobs.

The bipartisan eagerness to sink the Postal Service has Ben Franklin, the first Postmaster General under the Continental Congress, rolling in his grave.

Is Scott Walker John Doe?

AnonymousWisconsin was riveted the week of September 20 by reports that more of Governor Scott Walker's top aides may be implicated in an ongoing "John Doe" investigation into potentially illegal campaign practices related to Walker's 2010 gubernatorial race. Although the investigation, first reported on by Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has been underway for at least a year, a recent FBI raid on the home of Walker's chief lieutenant, Cynthia "Cindy" Archer, has the state abuzz with speculation about who may be the target of the investigation.

On Lehman Day, Elizabeth Warren Runs Against “Wall Street’s Favorite”

Consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren announced that she was running against Scott Brown for a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts on the eve of the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse. For many, Lehman's unthinkable bankruptcy September 15th, 2008 marks the day when the wheels came off the bus and the U.S. economy went over a cliff.

With 30 million Americans unemployed and underemployed, Social Security, Medicare and public workers under attack, Warren's video announcement got straight to the point.

"Middle-class families have been chipped at, hacked at, squeezed and hammered for a generation now, and I don't think Washington gets it. Washington is rigged for big corporations that hire armies of lobbyists," she continued. "A big company like GE pays nothing in taxes and we're asking college students to take on even more debt to get an education, we're telling seniors they may have to learn to live on less? It isn't right, and it's the reason I'm running for the U.S. Senate."

Wisconsin Worker Fired for Email on Free Voter IDs

Protesting Chris Larson's firingA Wisconsin worker was fired Thursday for reminding fellow workers that photo IDs required for voting are free under Wisconsin law.

A man identifying himself as Chris Larson called into "Sly in the Morning," a popular Madison radio program on WTDY-AM, and said he had been fired and escorted out of his workplace earlier in the day for sending out an email to remind employees to tell the public that they can obtain a state license for free. Larson said he worked for the Department of Safety and Professional Services, which is under Secretary Dave Ross.

The man was reacting to recent news stories that the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles may be hiding the fact that the IDs, which are newly required for voting in Wisconsin, are free. Hours after his dismissal, a small crowd gathered in front of his place of employment to protest his firing.

Nurses to Obama: Heal America, Tax Wall Street!

Nurses Say Tax Wall StreetAs President Obama gets ready for his big jobs speech Thursday, America's nurses have a message for him. "Heal America, Tax Wall Street!" the signs read as nurses rallied in front of 61 Congressional offices this week. The nurses are proposing a bold alternative to the "cut, cut, cut" rhetoric emanating from Washington, D.C.

Their proposal? "It's time for the Wall Street financiers who created this crisis and continue to hold much of the nation's wealth to start contributing to rebuild this country and for the American people to regain their future," explained Rosanne DeMoro, Executive Director of National Nurses Union (NNU), in a press release. The nurses are joining groups across the nation and around the world who are calling for a financial transaction fee on high-volume, high-speed Wall Street trades, to tamp down dangerous speculation and to raise revenue for heath care, jobs and other critical needs.

Recall Walker? It's Up to Feingold

Popular T-shirts in WisconsinFor the first time in the state's history, Wisconsin recalled two sitting state senators simultaneously. While it was a difficult and historic achievement in two districts that voted for Scott Walker in 2010, it fell short of the three seats needed to flip the Senate from Republican to Democratic control and put the brakes on Governor Scott Walker's radical agenda.

While Walker's collective bargaining bill sparked the recalls, voters were also worried about the state budgetary moves which cut $800 million from local schools while giving out $200 million in tax breaks for big corporations. No jobs plan (other than tax breaks) has been proposed and, contrary to spin from the Governor, joblessness is growing in this state at twice the rate of the federal level.

Money Still Owed In Federal Bailout: $1.5 Trillion Still Owed to Treasury, Federal Reserve

A new study released today by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) shows that, despite rosy statements about the bailout's impending successful conclusion from federal government officials, $1.5 trillion of the $4.8 trillion in federal bailout funds are still outstanding.

The analysis, presented in charts and an online table and program profiles, is based entirely on government records. This comprehensive assessment of the bailout goes beyond the relatively small Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) program to look at the rest of the Treasury and Federal Reserve's multi-trillion dollar response to the financial crisis. It shows that while the TARP bailout of Wall Street (not including the bailout of the auto industry) amounted to $330 billion, the government also quietly spent $4.4 trillion more in efforts to stave off the collapse of the financial and mortgage lending sectors. The majority of these funds ($3.9 trillion) came from the Federal Reserve, which undertook the actions citing an obscure section of its charter.

Consumer Bureau Launches in Shark-Infested Waters

Dangerous waters lay ahead for the Consumer Financial Protection BureauThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) throws open its doors to consumers this week, officially starting its mission to safeguard Americans from overly complex financial products and malignant banking practices. The bureau is the culmination of a national grassroots effort to hold the big banks accountable for the 2008 economic collapse caused by Wall Street's insatiable appetite for dangerous mortgage products. Millions of Americans signed petitions to create the bureau and new polling shows that 74% of Americans think it is a terrific idea.

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