POWER

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." - Frederick Douglass

Thursday, December 22, 2011

STUDENT LOAN BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION NOW!

As attention to the student debt crisis has increased, various solutions have been discussed by advocates. Some politicians are taking the problem seriously, while others like Barack Obama make a joke out of it with his proposed inadequate repayment plans. He continues to encourage college attendance in the US, but does not address affordability, or the corruption at the universities and amongst the lenders.

Education in America is big business, the students are losing, and lives are being ruined. Our nation is suffering because of it. It is regressive and exploitative. It is indecent and immoral. It is greed and it is theft. It is ridiculous and it has gone on long enough. The problem is getting too big to ignore. We must fight. We must act now.

The stunning ignorance of the American public on this subject is illustrated on a regular basis. Over and over they harp that people should have known better about taking out student loan debt and the consequences of it. They blame the students for the disaster and not the universities, politicians, and lenders for their greed and corruption.

While some bad decisions were made by borrowers, all were made with good intentions and were encouraged by our student loan system and social structure. Any irresponsibility on the part of students pales in comparison to that of the banks and corporations that have crippled this country and impacted the global economy in recent years. The latter of which was intentionally destructive on the part of banks.

A healthy country and decent people do not condone the financial exploitation of their youth, and unsympathetically watch as the manifestations of a corrupt system begin to expose themselves in large numbers.

Students in general have been misled as to the practical value of an education. They have been told repeatedly that education is the key to building a solid future and career, and is a wise investment. We have begun to see this is a myth because the burden of financing education is greater than ever, while jobs are disappearing, wages are stagnant, and cost of living issues are exploited by capitalism gone mad (deregulation). Meanwhile lenders and administrators (who buy our political leaders' influence) are getting obscenely wealthy- like never before!

IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE

Many of us believe the first order of business is restoring bankruptcy protections to ALL student loans (federal and private). Consumer debt and gambling debt can be discharged in bankruptcy. Donald Trump has filed for it, as well as many other wealthy Americans and corporations.

American Airlines just filed for bankruptcy. United Airlines and others have as well. Tax dollars went to bailouts after 9/11, executives got big bonuses, the employees took pay cuts, and got laid off, while fares went up- but very few seem too upset about this situation (except the smart, progressive people who are paying attention). Instead many people sit back and say Johny so-and-so should have known better before he got his degree in sociology at that expensive private school.

Student loan debt is the only debt that can not be discharged in bankruptcy now. It used to be dischargeable several years ago, but the law was changed. Why can other debts be discharged in bankruptcy and this not be? The reason is that corruption has allowed big banks to influence the US political system to their advantage. Student lenders pay the government through campaign contributions to support laws that favor their unethical behavior. In doing so tuition rates also continue to increase exponentially, because the schools are in on it too.

Restoring bankruptcy protections alone will not fix a higher education system that has been hijacked by the corrupt and greedy, but it will begin to change the situation. It will help those in the most severe debt (remember, it is not just the debt- compounded interest, the usurious interest rates, fees, penalties, etc. are also making the situation unmanageable.) It will also illustrate further just how toxic these debts are, and that the world is not quite the "oyster" college marketers make it out to be to prospective students.

When bankruptcy rights are restored we can then look at fixing the system to make education affordable, and helping other student debtors, who are struggling but are not quite in need of filing for bankruptcy yet.

There are politicians and groups trying to restore bankruptcy protections on student loans. Please support them by taking the following actions :

Call your congressperson and two senators to tell them to support HR 2028 and or S1102 (bills calling for the restoration of bankruptcy protection). Contact your representatives by clicking here.

*******SUPER IMPORTANT*******

"HR 2028 has been introduced and referred to committee. It still needs to be reported by committee before it goes up for a house vote, then a Senate vote, and finally goes to the President's desk to be signed. The 112th congress ends of January 3, 2013. If it isn't passed by then, it dies (like it did last time). S 1102 has only been introduced so far. We have never had more momentum, but WE MUST BE RELENTLESS TO GET THIS PASSED. EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE A BIG PAIN IN THE @SS TO THEIR CONGRESS PERSON EVERY WEEK! We can do this but only if we write INCESSANTLY!:)" (from Restore Student Loan Bankruptcy Protections)

If you are just tuning into the student debt crisis and the idea of bankruptcy protection, Student Loan Justice is the place to go to find out lots more about it.

Visit this this Facebook page dedicated to the restoration of bankruptcy protections for student loans, which also has great information and discussions. More information on HR2028 and S1102 and the politicians who support them can be found there as well.


AMERICA'S STUDENT LOAN SYSTEM: THE BEAST THAT SWALLOWS IT'S YOUNG!


 We need to make this important step in the student loan crisis!

WHERE DO YOU STAND?

ARE YOU:

A) more enraged that lenders, administrators, and politicians are making millions off of students (and through tax dollars!) by corrupting the system.

OR

B) does the idea of someone with unmanageable student debt filing for bankruptcy for an education- which was deceptively marketed to them in the first place, and never worth what they borrowed for it- make you more upset?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

BEAUTIFUL MINDS

A TRIBUTE TO ARTISTS AND ACTIVISTS
The Occupy movement and has revitalized progressive culture in a variety of ways. 

It is comforting to see this in a time when so much hateful social ignorance, corporate criminality, and destructive, dangerous political policy surrounds us- and threatens our collective and individual well being on a daily basis.

Today's post is a tribute to all of the artists and activists (including those not mentioned here) who have contributed to this social awakening. Thank you for your wonderful work.

Here are a few favorites. Please share them, especially with those who are not paying attention.

This artist in Miami made a really powerful statement.

 
Hawaiian artist, Makana, is incredible. What he did at the APEC summit was amazing!

Occupy Boston street art illustrating the American corporate political machine.

A cool video clip

video
Singers performing at Liberty Plaza  in New York City.

Activists taking on the Black Friday insanity at a mall in Portland, Oregon.
A creative graphic posted in Zuccotti Park.

This political cartoon captures the strange times we live in.
One of the best Occupy posters of all. So true!
Right on. A gay marriage in Zuccotti Park.
 A dancer in Zuccotti Park...

 ...joins a break dancer in the park. Bank of America looms in the background.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO IS WORKING TO MAKE PROGRESS IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. 

WE CAN CHALLENGE THE REGRESSIVE, IGNORANT, DESTRUCTIVE FORCES IN SOCIETY IN MANY WAYS.

 DO NOT BE AFRAID.


 Here are a few more great images of recent social action.

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING?

























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