Category Archives: Taxes

Obama gives $500 million to climate fund over GOP objections

Obama-bribes

One. More. Day.

From Yahoo: With just three days (at the time of publication of this article) left in office, the Obama administration has doubled an initial $500 million commitment to a fund that helps developing nations fight climate change and adapt to its consequences.

The incoming Trump administration and some Republicans oppose the program.

The State Department’s announcement Tuesday brings U.S. contributions to the Green Climate Fund to $1 billion since 2016. The fund helps poor countries reduce carbon emissions by promoting clean energy and spurring private investment in the field.

“This administration has committed to this fund, in fact helped stand it up, establish it,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “And it is entirely in keeping with the work that we’ve been doing across the interagency to try to look for ways to stem the effects of climate change, and this fund helps other economies, other countries develop their own initiatives and help them deal with this.”

Obama promised a total of $3 billion to the fund in 2014 as part of the Paris climate change accord, but it is far from certain that full amount will be pledged.

President-elect Donald Trump and a number of GOP lawmakers have complained that support for the fund wasn’t specifically approved by Congress. The administration argues the current fiscal year’s budget allows it to take the money from an unobligated portion of a total of $4.3 billion in economic support fund assistance. The previous $500 million installment was made in the same way.

DCG

General Motors to Invest $1 Billion, Add 1,000 Jobs in U.S.

maga

From NBC News: General Motors, one of several automakers criticized for building vehicles in Mexico and shipping them to the U.S., plans to add more than a thousand jobs in the U.S., according to sources who shared the plans with CNBC. The jobs are part of a $1 billion investment the automaker is making into GM facilities in the U.S.

“These are investments and decisions that are good for the business and have been in the works for some time,” a GM spokesperson told NBC News, but the announcement shows the automaker is becoming more vocal in publicizing how many Americans it employs.

Despite employing more than 50,000 hourly workers in the U.S., the automaker has been criticized by President-elect Trump for importing Chevy Cruze hatchbacks from an assembly plant in Mexico.

Two weeks ago Trump targeted GM by tweeting, “General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers – tax free across border. Make in U.S.A or pay big border tax!”

GM imports more vehicles from Mexico than any other automaker, selling more than 400,000 Mexico-made vehicles in the U.S. last year. GM declined to comment Monday but said the company would have an announcement on jobs and investment in domestic production Tuesday morning

DCG

Arizona Republicans move to ban social justice courses and events at schools

bob-thorpe

State Representative Bob Thorpe introduced this bill.

The SJWs are adamant that this is a way to shut down their voices. Ironic since they love to shut down any conservative/opposing voices. Hypocrites.

From The Guardian: Republican lawmakers in Arizona are pushing to prohibit school courses and events that promote ethnic studies and social justice, with legislation that critics say broadly targets academic freedom and students of color.

The newly introduced bill – which seeks to build on an existing GOP-backed law that banned a Mexican American studies class – marks the latest attack in academia on activism and research centered on marginalized groups. Some opponents said the proposal is part of a national trend, tied to the election of Donald Trump, of lawmakers working to suppress progressive organizations and protests.

The bill, from state representative Bob Thorpe, would prohibit “courses, classes, events and activities” in public schools that promote “social justice toward a race, gender, religion, political affiliation, social class or other class of people”. Courses and events that are “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group” or advocate “solidarity” based on ethnicity, race, religion or gender would also be banned.

“This really challenges a bedrock foundation of what it means to be involved in the academy,” said Rashad Shabazz, head faculty in the program of justice and social inquiry at Arizona State University. “It really puts a target on people of color and various academic fields that have emerged out of struggle.”

The proposal comes at a time in which the polarizing presidential election has fueled intense debates surrounding first amendment rights and academic freedom in American universities. In recent months, conservative groups on campuses across the US have launched coordinated attacks against professors and courses that promote liberal ideologies or challenge traditional views on race and gender.

In Wisconsin, a Republican senator recently attacked an undergraduate program focused on “unpacking masculinity”, which the lawmaker called a “war on men”. Lawmakers there have also threatened to cut funding over a race relations course called The Problem of Whiteness and a reading assignment about gay men’s sexual preferences that a legislator said was “offensive”.

The University of California, Berkeley, last year cancelled a course examining Palestine “through the lens of settler colonialism” following an outcry from pro-Israel groups, but later reinstated the class.

Meanwhile, some universities have faced scrutiny from progressive activists for allowing white nationalists and leaders of the “alt-right” – a far-right movement in the US – who promote hate speech to speak on campus.

Thorpe’s bill is particularly far-reaching in its targeting of social justice organizing and ethnic studies, said Martín Quezada, a Democratic state senator, and has prompted an outcry on Arizona campuses. “Our students are terrified that their freedom of speech, their freedom of thought and their ability to learn about issues and think at a higher level is in jeopardy now,” he said. “The scariest part of this bill is that the impacts are so broad.”

Thorpe declined the Guardian’s interview request, but told Tucson.com he wanted to target an ASU course called Whiteness and Race Theory, as well as a university event called a “privilege walk”, where students are supposed to reflect on their race and privilege.

The legislation, which says a violation would allow the state to cut 10% of a district’s funding, would not prohibit courses that cover the “accurate history of any ethnic group” and allows for teachings on the holocaust or “any other instance of genocide”.

But Katt McKinney, organizer with Black Lives Matter in Arizona, said it seemed obvious that the language of the bill was targeting groups like hers that fight for racial justice. “They want to shut it down,” she said. “This is a direct attack on the constitutional rights of citizens.”

The state’s 2010 law banning a specific Mexican American studies program in Tucson has been the subject of lengthy litigation and targeted a course that was proven to be effective for students, according to Quezada.

The Arizona school boards association said it opposes Thorpe’s bill because the state should not have control over school content. “It should be up to each district what kind of curriculum should be approved,” said spokeswoman Heidi Vega.

Though Arizona has a history of these kinds of proposals, Shabazz said he felt that Trump’s victory and the GOP wins in November have emboldened Republican lawmakers to aggressively target the work of minorities. “By attempting to legislate against certain types of activities that focus on people of color, women or social justice issues,” he added, “it really undermines the ability of the university to function as a space of intellectual engagement and debate.”

DCG

Sweden’s leading shopping mall is deemed a no-go zone, with police blaming gangs of migrants

rapefugees

Aint’ multi-culturalism grand?

From Daily Mail: Sweden’s leading shopping mall has been deemed a no-go zone amid a spike in violence police say has been caused by unaccompanied migrants.  Police are on high alert patrolling the Nordstan mall in Gothenburg after a spate of incidents involving staff and shoppers being threatened by gangs. In some cases, the number of youngsters outnumber the police and the rise in the sinister behaviour has seen the sales take a hit.

Many shoppers are now afraid to even visit the complex, according to RT, and even officers are being threatened by the gangs.  ‘We have seen an increase since last autumn, with mostly unaccompanied minors who are staying here in Nordstan,’ one of the police managers, Jonas Bergqvist, told Expressen. ‘In the evening they deal drugs and violence between fractions sometimes occurs. If there are conflicts from their home countries, they bring them here.’

The trouble appears to start at around 8pm – the time shops shut for the day – when groups of up to 150 teens descend upon the mall.   Police say the rise coincides with the increased number of unaccompanied migrants entering the country. A number of those involved are said to be youths from Syria, Afghanistan and Morocco, according to RT.

Among the alarming incidents include a youngster and a shopkeeper who were robbed with a broken class held to their throats. 

Added to the chaos is the fact that police are finding it increasingly difficult to charge the offenders due to the lack of identification, meaning the teenagers are merely handed over to social services.

Officer Rikard Sorensen told RT: ‘I’ve had people in front of me that look like they are 35, but who claim to be 15. I can’t prove they’re lying so we have to release them,’ Rikard Sorensen, another officer.’

The troubles have seen the mall labeled a no-go zone, according to Expressen.   An area is listed as such if there have been dangerous cases of muggings, robberies, harassment, and sexual assault.

DCG

This is Chiraq: 9 killed, 27 wounded in MLK Day weekend shootings

blacks protesting black-on-black crimes

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others? – MLK Jr.

From MyFoxChicago: At least 36 people have been shot across the city over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, leaving nine dead, according to Chicago Police.

The latest killing happened at 11:36 a.m. Monday in the West Side Austin neighborhood, where a vehicle pulled up to a 24-year-old man who was on a porch in the 4800 block of West Hubbard and shot him repeatedly. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he died, police said.  The Cook County medical examiner’s office has not released his name.

About 1:10 a.m., a 36-year-old man was standing outside in the 2200 block of West Chicago in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood when someone in a black SUV opened fire, striking him in the abdomen, face and left leg. He died at Stroger Hospital, police said. His name has not been released.

Early Sunday on the Near West Side, officers responded to a call of a person down about 5:30 a.m. in the 2600 block of West Van Buren and found a man in his 30s or 40s dead at the scene with a gunshot wound to the head, according to authorities, who were still working to identify him.

About 1:15 a.m., a 34-year-old man was gunned down in the Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side.He got into an argument with someone who shot him in the chest in the 4700 block of West Polk, police said. He died at Mount Sinai Hospital, authorities said. His name has not been released.

Saturday night, a 26-year-old man was killed in an Austin drive-by shooting. He was outside in the 5500 block of West Rice about 7 p.m. when a vehicle drove by and someone shot him multiple times. The man, who has not been identified, was taken to Mount Sinai, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

Two men, ages 27 and 39, were standing in the street at 8:05 a.m. Saturday in the 1100 block of South Francisco in Lawndale when someone got out of a black car and fired multiple shots, police said. They were taken to Mount Sinai, where the younger man died of wounds to the head and chest, authorities said. His name has not been released. The older man was in good condition with a back wound.

Another man was killed and a woman was wounded about 3:30 a.m. Saturday in the South Side Englewood neighborhood, where at least five people went into a house in the 6000 block of South Carpenter and shot two people repeatedly. Tyrone Blake, 25, of the 6100 block of South Indiana, was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:48 a.m., authorities said. The 26-year-old woman was taken in critical condition to Stroger Hospital.

Read about all the shootings here.

At least 22 more people were wounded in nonfatal shootings across Chicago between 4 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Monday. Last year, 32 people were shot over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, five fatally.

DCG

Obama’s Legacy

When a President leaves office, there is much talk of his legacy.

After 8 misbegotten years in the White House, here’s Barack Obama’s legacy. I’m sure you can think of more!

obamas-real-legacylove-trumps-hateobamas-americaobamas-legacy

~Eowyn

Chicago Public Schools to force staffers to take four unpaid furlough days

chicago-public-schools

Chiraq is so full of problems. Gee, I wonder why…

From MyFoxChicago: Staring down a $215 million budget hole it blames on the governor, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced Friday it’ll make all staffers take four unpaid furlough days this spring on dates when children aren’t scheduled to be in class, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The move, which CPS also imposed for three days last year to conserve cash, is estimated to save the state’s largest district $35 million. It’ll impact union and non-union employees alike who will be furloughed on February 3, April 7, June 21 and June 22.

CPS banked on $215 million in pension money from Springfield that was allocated in legislation Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed in December. The money was supposed to be tied to “pension reform.” But when a compromise couldn’t be reached, Rauner pulled the plug.

District officials have said they’ll try to plug the funding gap in the least disruptive manner possible to schools, which have already seen their budgets slashed and their reserves spent during last year’s similar budget woes.

“As we address CPS’ financial challenges, we have two goals: minimize classroom disruptions and restore funding,” CEO Forrest Claypool said in an email. “Since Gov. Rauner is denying fair funding to Chicago students, we are forced to make cuts that will create new challenges for schools that are working to build on their academic gains. But make no mistake, any additional cuts we are forced to make would fall squarely at the governor’s feet.

Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly chided CPS for budgeting money it didn’t have but said the governor would consider the legislation again if the General Assembly were to pass statewide “pension reform” measures.“Continuing to blame the governor, who has been in office two years, for decades of fiscal mismanagement and bad decision-making is getting old,” she wrote in an email. “CPS willingly chose to budget for money they had not received and knew was contingent upon real pension reform.”

Last year, CPS also passed a budget it considered balanced despite banking on $450 million in pension help from state lawmakers. By January 2016, when that money hadn’t materialized, CPS cut school budgets for the second semester, too. It later furloughed employees for three unpaid work days.

If principals hadn’t planned so carefully from the beginning of the financially-troubled year, teachers would surely have been among the 200-plus staffers cut in the middle of the school year.

The Chicago Teachers Union is livid at what amounts to a 2 percent pay cut. “It’s the second year in a row they shortened the school year and cut our pay,” said Jesse Sharkey, the union’s vice president, angry that CPS leaders still won’t seek new revenue sources. Sharkey said the days off were to allow teachers to complete grades at the end of each quarter, work he assumes will still have to be finished and handed in.

“I’m hearing hearing from teachers who are outraged because they see this as a reduction of pay without a reduction of work,” he said. “We’re looking into whether it’s wage theft.”

Meanwhile the ratings agency Moody’s advised that CPS shore up its finances with another property tax increase of $400 million, a notion district officials have rejected.

DCG