What a Hillary Presidency Will Look Like: Clinton Protege Rahm Emanuel Escalates Killer Austerity in Chicago While Refusing to Make Financiers Pay Lasalle Street Tax on Derivative Speculation

What a Hillary Presidency Will Look Like: Clinton Protege Rahm Emanuel Escalates Killer Austerity in Chicago While Refusing to Make Financiers Pay Lasalle Street Tax on Derivative Speculation

UFAAUnited Front Against Austerity | TWSPTax Wall Street Party
Morning Briefing | Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Chicago mayor and Clinton loyalist Rahm Emanuel

Bernie Brown, Bay Area, CA Local and former Chicago resident

In attempting to rectify a $426 million dollar shortfall to the 2016 budget, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is preparing to impose the largest property tax increase in modern city history, amounting to $450-550 million in new taxes from the city’s beleaguered residents, who are fleeing the city in increasing numbers for the relative safety of the suburbs and nearby Wisconsin and Indiana.

Not content to squeeze property owners alone, Emanuel is also proposing a series of new taxes and fees on garbage collection, taxis and ride-hailing services, electronic cigarettes and other products. Emanuel’s “death by a thousand cuts” takes place in the shadow of the world’s largest flow of toxic derivatives.

Emanuel and city Democrats plead poverty and pass the buck to Illinois’ reactionary Republican governor Bruce Rauner for not providing budgetary relief to the city. What they remain conspicuously unwilling to do is to attack the continued profits of Chicago’s thriving community of high-frequency traders, hedge fund operators (like Rauner) and other financiers.

With all the focus on Wall Street, few realize that Chicago’s LaSalle Street is the global leader in derivatives trading, with $1 QUADRILLION dollars ($1,000 trillion) annually crossing the various exchanges of the CME Group. The CME Group consists of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), and Commodity Exchange, Inc. (COMEX).

Karen Lewis is an American Chicago Public School teacher and labor leader. She is the current president of the Chicago Teachers Union and leading proponent for the LaSalle Street Tax

The hard-fighting Chicago Teachers Union, under the leadership of former mayoral candidate Karen Lewis, campaigned heavily in 2014 for the “LaSalle Street Tax,” a local version of the Wall Street Sales Tax, which would have levied small fees on the sales of these derivatives and raised an estimated $10 billion for Illinois and $2 billion for Chicago annually, removing Rahm’s regressive tax and fee burden from working Chicagoans, effectively closing Chicago’s pension gap, and opening the door to funding much needed infrastructure.

Emanuel’s most recent mayoral challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia was a poor replacement for the ailing Lewis, disappointing unionists and other activists by failing to demand the LaSalle Street Tax or make any other substantive demands of Chicago’s financial community.

Chicago’s needs go beyond police and fire pensions. The LaSalle Street tax would go a long way to alleviating the cost burden of transportation on CTA trains and buses, medical care, education at Chicago’s city colleges and Universities, and other needs of working people. Chicago’s transportation system is woefully outdated, with dangerous, slow-moving elevated trains and Amtrak-style suburban transit costing commuters dearly and failing to serve many areas of the city and outlying areas. Modern schools, hospitals, libraries, improved water and sewer systems and other critical infrastructure are needed (especially on the city’s south side). The LaSalle Street tax would do the world a service by slowing Chicago’s high-frequency traders to a crawl, and would bring much needed population back into the city with improved living standards and thousands of new high-paying job opportunities. The construction could also play a major role in replacing Chicago’s notorious gang violence problems with opportunities for employment, job skills and community revitalization.

According to 35th Ward Alderman, Carlos Ramirez Rosa, Emanuel’s staggering property taxes – an average increase of 60% – will force a large number of residents to either sell their homes or have them foreclosed. This will initiate the vicious cycle of austerity cuts, as Chicagoans flee the city and tax bills race skyward to catch up with the falling revenue.

Emanuel has repeatedly robbed the poor to protect the rich. He has the dubious distinction of making Chicago the red-light camera capital of the US, with almost 300 cameras installed at traffic intersections throughout the city, generating almost $285 million in revenue from fines during Emanuel’s administration.

This increase also comes as the mayor attempts to appease his critics with the closure of 14 Tax Increment Financing districts (out of a total of 149), better known as TIFs throughout the city. These TIFs historically have siphoned away hundreds of millions of dollars in property tax revenue from their intended benefactors in local neighborhoods (i.e. public schools, parks, libraries, etc.) and pumped this revenue towards projects primarily in the more prosperous central business district.

Emanuel is also a privatizer, having made gifts of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of prized lakefront property to the DePaul University basketball team and to Star Wars creator George Lucas – whose wife Mellody Hobson is a major player in Chicago’s finance community. Lucas’ Star Wars museum will be approved or rejected next week, including Emanuel’s agreed 99 year lease for $10.

There is no mystery why Rahm continues to nickel, dime and dollar Chicagoans while laying not a finger on LaSalle Street. According to this year’s March 10th edition of the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel received almost $1.4 million dollars in campaign contributions primarily from eight wealthy donors, led by hedge fund hyena Ken Griffin of Citadel LLC. Chicago-based Citadel is a global leader in high-frequency trading (HFT). Retail brokerage TD Ameritrade, where “mom and pop” invest for their retirement accounts, sells its entire order flow to Citadel, where every transaction is run through a “dark pool” and scalped by Citadel’s HFT algorithms. The LaSalle Street Tax would make such outrageous practices impossible, and Griffin and others continue to reward their puppet mayor for pitting working people against each other and setting the stage for Governor Rauner’s dreams of making Illinois a right-to-work state.

All Chicago and Illinois residents are urged to provide support for the LaSalle Street Tax and Chicago Teachers Union, and demand the Hedge Fund Hucksters, Asset Strippers, Private Equity Plunderers, and their ilk bear the burden of resolving Chicago’s budget crisis.

“Emanuel set to call for largest property tax hike in modern Chicago history” Chicago Tribune, 9/3/2015 http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-property-tax-hike-met-0903-20150902-story.html
“Emanuel to propose largest property tax increase in recent history” WLS-TV 7 ABC http://abc7chicago.com/politics/emanuel-to-propose-largest-property-tax-increase-in-recent-history-/969059/
“Emanuel to seek $500 million property tax hike” Chicago Sun-Times 9/2/2015 http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/928338/emanuel-seek-500-million-property-tax-hike
“Emanuel collects $1.4 million, mostly from wealthy donors” Chicago Tribune, 3/10/2015 http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rahm-emanuel-campaign-cash-met-0310-20150309-story.html
“Englewood Residents Question TIF Program, Call For More Community Mobilization At Town Hall Meeting” Progress Illinois 5/6/2013 http://www.progressillinois.com/quick-hits/content/2013/05/06/englewood-residents-question-tif-program-call-more-community-mobilizat

Bernie Sanders’ Saudi Friends Prepare Beheading and Crucifixion of Young Activist Guilty Only of Protesting Obscene Regime

Dylan Shelton, Washington D.C. Local

Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr is a Saudi Arabian who as a teenager participated in the Saudi Arabian protests during the Arab Spring and is scheduled for execution.

Bernie Sanders took the opportunity to decry the American billionaire class during his speech at the Jefferson Jackson dinner this past weekend. But if the billionaire class is the root of all evil and oppression in America, what about the billionaire class of the Middle East that he believes should take more responsibility for our collective future? When it comes to the billionaires of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf States, Bernie has proclaimed multiple times – most recently on Meet the Press on Oct 11 – that countries like the monarchy of Saudi Arabia must “get their hands dirty” and take the lead in making peace in the Middle East. Bernie wants some of the worst human rights violators in world, repressive feudal monarchies that outweigh any of those that existed during the European Dark Ages, to lead in navigating our way toward peace in the modern world. What follows is but one current example of why Saudi Arabia deserves no role in American foreign policy, as their hands are dirty enough with innocent blood.

When he was just 17, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested for participating in a protest in Saudi Arabia related to Arab Spring. Ali was charged with sheltering fugitives, attacking police with Molotov cocktails and rocks as well as “breaking allegiance with the ruler,” all without any evidence or facts presented to the court. The repressive government of Saudi Arabia, approved Ali’s death sentence in August. Reports have spread whether the method of execution will be a crucifixion or beheading. [1]

Due to copyright restriction and the fact that most images are simply too gruesome, we put the burden on the reader to Google: Saudi Arabia beheading, crucifixion and human rights violations.

Bernie’s Saudi Arabian allies are having particularly bloody year, having committed at least 100 executions since January of 2015 according to the likely watered down statistics of Human Rights Watch. “Saudi Arabia continued to try, convict, and imprison political dissidents and human rights activists solely on account of their peaceful activities.” [2]

Adam Coogle writes for Human Rights Watch,

“Saudi authorities plan to lash 74-year-old Karl Andree, a British cancer survivor, 350 times for possessing homemade alcohol. Including the public flogging of liberal blogger Raif Badawi in January and a death sentence for Ali al-Nimr, a Saudi man accused of protest-related activities allegedly committed before he was 18 years old. These incidents came to light even though Saudi Arabia bans independent human rights monitors. Somehow, bizarrely, Saudi Arabia serves as a partner in the U.S. government’s campaign to “combat violent extremism”—despite its longtime failure to address these issues at home in accordance with basic human rights and the rule of law.” [3]

We at the Tax Wall Street Party REPEAT that Bernie Sanders wants SAUDI ARABIA (AND NOT RUSSIA) in a coalition against ISIS. Further, Bernie wants Saudi to take greater charge of the Middle East. If Bernie truly does consider himself to be a fighter for the underdog, then he must exhibit his willingness to fight for the underdog in the Middle East too and call for a stop to the execution of this young activist. By supporting the bloodthirsty regime of King Salman, Bernie is exhibiting his blatant hypocrisy and is not the social democrat he proclaims himself to be but a monarchist.

According to Death Penalty News:

‘Saudi Arabia is known for its public beheading of convicts, most anathema to us here in the United States for non-violent or victimless crimes like adultery, apostasy and witchcraft. Judges can demand execution for adulterers or Muslims who abandon their faith. While a murderer would normally be sentenced to death, the victim’s family is permitted to accept “diyya”, or blood money, instead of execution. The lives of women are worth half those of men, and non-Muslims a fraction of the value of Muslims. Convicts from less wealthy backgrounds, or without tribal connections who might intercede with the family or tribe of the victim, are more likely to die because it is harder for them to arrange a blood money payment.’ [4]

“Ali al-Nimr was a boy when thrown in Saudi prison. Now he’s a man, and is sentenced to die.” Washington Post Oct 7 http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/10/07/ali-al-nimr-was-a-boy-when-thrown-in-saudi-prison-now-hes-a-man-and-is-sentenced-to-die/
Saudi Arabia: 100 Executions Since January 1 Human Rights Watch June 16 https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/06/16/saudi-arabia-100-executions-january-1
Saudi Arabia steps up beheadings; some see political message http://deathpenaltynews.blogspot.com/2014/10/saudi-arabia-steps-up-beheadings-some.html

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