The OB Media Rundown for 6/18/12

Protesters engage in MBTA fare strike action after anti-austerity march

“Boston Fare Strike,” a mixed-coalition of protesters from the International Workers of the World, Socialist Alternative, Common Struggle and an affinity group from within Occupy Boston, marched right passed the fare gates at Park Street Station on Saturday to “take a stand” against the impending increases.

The direct action ended an “Anti-Austerity” march yesterday through the streets of Boston. According to the group “across the world, the rich are using ‘austerity measures’ to pass the cost of the recession onto the working class.”

The march was in protest of those measures.

Senior citizens lost $2.9 billion to financial fraud and exploitation in 2010

The majority, or 84%, of experts who deal with financial fraud of elders — including financial planners, medical professionals and social workers — have noticed an increase in financial abuses this year, according to a survey released this week by nonprofit organization Investor Protection Trust.

About 58% of the 762 respondents reported that they encountered investment fraud or financial exploitation of seniors “quite often” or “somewhat often.” And 96% of experts said elderly fraud is a serious problem.

Meanwhile, research from insurance provider MetLife has found that Americans over the age of 60 lost about $2.9 billion to financial abuse in 2010 — up 12% from the $2.6 billion lost in 2008.

Stress levels soars in US… and young women under 35 are among those bearing the brunt

Feeling stressed? New figures reveal you’re not alone.

Americans are more stressed out than they were 30 years ago with young women among those feeling the brunt of it a first ever assessment of individual stress levels in U.S. reports.

A 10 to 30 per cent stress increase was found through surveys of approximately 6,300 Americans over the age of 18 in 1983 and again in 2006 and 2009 through all demographics.

This Week in Poverty: Disposable Families in Ohio

Since January 2011, Ohio has thrown nearly 70,000 people-including 40,000 children-off of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance program, called Ohio Works First (OWF). That’s nearly 25 percent of the state’s TANF caseload. The reason? The state faces up to $130 million in federal penalties if 50 percent of the adults receiving assistance don’t meet the federal work participation requirement by September 30.

“Seventy thousand people is more than the entire TANF roll in thirty-nine states,” says Jack Frech, director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services in Appalachian Ohio, where he has worked with poor people for over thirty years. “You can imagine if someone announced they were going to throw all the children in Virginia off of cash assistance it would be national news. But that many get thrown off in Ohio and it’s barely even local news.”

Silent march against ‘stop and frisk’ turns chaotic as police try to divide the crowd

It appears that the trouble began as the tail end of the march, which has been estimated as at least 50,000 people, reached the destination point of Fifth Avenue and 78th Street. OccupiedStories tweeted at 5:15, “End of _#SilentMarchNYC_ rowdy and loud. Seems like people are continuing to march down 5th Ave. Intensity level just shot through the roof.”
According to the “Newyorkist” Twitter account, it appears that police then began to move in and the crowd started chanting “No justice, no peace” and then “Whose streets, our streets.”

Police tried to kettle the march with netting and then split the crowd, pushing some down Fifth Avenue and others onto a side street. They then began wielding batons and Newyorkist tweeted, “Crowd control meaures turning super agressive and dangerous. Crowd tremendously agitated.”

Letter from the US: Wisconsin recall defeat caused by wrong strategy

When Walker succeeded in driving through his anti-worker legislation in what amounted to an illegal coup on March 12 last year, there was a public outcry against this undemocratic act. The stage was set for an even deeper mobilisation.

Just at that critical moment, the union leaders betrayed the uprising, calling off the strikes and mobilisations. That marked the defeat, which has played out in the year or so since, culminating in Walker’s re-election.

After breaking the back of the mobilisation, the local and national union leaders steered the discontent into Democratic Party electoral politics.

There is no question that the heads of the Wisconsin public unions, totally in the pocket of the Democrats, recoiled in fear of the very mobilisations they had initiated. The caste of bureaucrats who sit atop the unions were horrified by the rank and file taking matters into their own hands.

Health care reform – There’s a better way

Occupy Wall Street wasn’t born in time for the 2009 health care debate. But that debate was a quintessential display of the power and privilege of the 1 percent.
Drug and insurance firms dictated the terms of reform: “do it our way or do nothing at all.” The result was a lopsided bargain: the American people were allowed to expand Medicaid, ship a few scraps to community health centers and impose feeble insurance regulations. Insurers got hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and a mandate ordering the middle class to buy their defective products.

Financial news not so good for the Lower Ninety

Raw numbers can be striking. While Occupy Wall Street has focused on the 1 percent versus the 99 percent, the recently released Federal Reserve report on the Survey of Consumer Finances clearly shows that the Lower Ninety – the 90 percent of all households that are less well off than the top 10 percent – were hard hit by the housing bust that started in 2006 and endures today.

The study, which shows how our finances changed between 2007 and 2010, also confirms all the piecemeal reporting on foreclosures, job loss and the 401(k) plans that became 201(k) plans. And the losses aren’t limited to the housing wipeout. Most households are worse off today than they were in the survey done for 2001, before the housing bubble. Here are some of the findings from the report:

Parents build tent city at Lakeview Elementary with help from Occupy Oakland protesters

School is out and parents who disagree with the Oakland Unified School District board’s decision to close five elementary schools-Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell and Sante Fe-at the end of this school year are protesting by building an encampment on the Lakeview campus, just off Grand Avenue.

The sit-in began on Friday, June 15-after the last day of school-with the demand that the district keep all neighborhood schools open. The parents participating in the encampment say that schools in the flatlands, which predominantly serve under-represented minority groups, are the only ones targeted for closure. The district currently plans to turn Lakeview into administrative offices.

Occupy Protesters in Bulgaria Plant Flowers on Eagles Bridge

Young Bulgarian citizens have assembled for the fifth consecutive evening at Eagles Bridge intersection in the center of capital Sofia to express their outrage at Bulgaria’s new Forestry Act and the state of the country’s democracy.

The ralliers are planting flowers in the area, which is also the entrance to one of Sofia’s main parks, the Borisova Gradina.

They are also debating their further actions and painting signs for future rallies in the coming days, as a presidential veto on the act will be under consideration in Parliament.

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