Labor/Economics/Business

Arlington approves funding package for Amazon in hearing disrupted by protests

On the 16th of March, the Arlington County Board met to discuss a multi-million dollar giveaway to Amazon and Jeff Bezos for HQ2, possibly the richest man in the world. Protesters disrupted the hearing, calling affordable housing and similar priorities more important than Amazon. Disregarding the public dissent, the board voted to approve the funding package by 5 to zero.

Update 3-17 11:26PM:There is a report that Amazon may end up quitting Northern Virginia as they gave up in NYC, apparently they fear the wrath of the people more than bought-and-paid for politicians do.

House Hearing Reviews Financial Transparency Legislation

The House of Representatives is holding hearings on legislative initiatives to deter corruption and secrecy in the global financial system.

Puerto Rico Debt Advisors Subject to Conflict Disclosure

Washington DC - After an investigation into potential conflicts of interest in Puerto Rico's debt restructuring, the island's oversight board notes it will increase disclosure requirements for advisors. The investigation began in response to a debt consultant whose affiliate company holds Puerto Rico debt."It's critical that any groups who are hired to advise on Puerto Rico's debt crisis disclose if they also own debt or have a conflict of interest," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte.

Puerto Rico Debt Deal Receives Court Approval

Judge Laura Taylor Swain approved a deal to restructure $17 billion of Puerto Rico's $72 billion debt on Monday. Court approval was the last hurdle creditors and the island's oversight board needed for a plan to address sales tax backed debt or "COFINA" debt."We are worried that not enough debt is being cut and that Puerto Rico's people are carrying heavy austerity burdens," said Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte, who monitors Puerto Rico's debt. "The math isn't adding up.

Judge Delays Ruling on Puerto Rico Debt Deal White House Opposes Island's Food Assistance Funding

On Thursday, Judge Laura Taylor Swain delayed approval of a $17 billion debt deal between Puerto Rico "COFINA" creditors and the island's oversight board. Citing concerns that her ruling could alter Puerto Rico's constitution, the judge requested additional materials to review on Monday from the federally appointed oversight board."We are concerned that the plan under consideration doesn't cut enough debt," said Eric LeCompte who heads Jubilee USA and has monitored the island's financial situation since 2015.

Federal workers march on White House against Trump's shutdown

On the 10th of January, thousands of Federal workers gathered in front of the AFL-CIO's headquarters, then marched on the White House demanding an end to Trump's lockout of Federal workers. Speaker after speaker denounced GOP Senator Majority leader Mitch McConnell for blocking any votes on bills to reopen the Federal government without caving to Trump's demand for a racist border wall.

Video highlights of the rally and short march

The scene in front of the White House as locked out Federal workers march on Trump

Video: 2018-the year in activism

Video-2018 in activism 18 min 25 sec

Sex workers and supporters hold Decrim Carnival 3 at Reeves Center

Dec 17th was the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. In DC, the Decrim Carnival 3 was held in the Reeves Center on 14th st. Music and dancers performing dances similar to what they would do onstage (but fully dressed) alternated with speakers on the human cost of keeping sex work illegal. Physical assaults by violent men posing as customers go unpunished because sex workers know the police cannot be trusted and filing a report simply creates a second round of risk, this time from the cops.

Video-two dance performances and a speaker on why sex workers can't report assaults to the cops 4 min 13 sec

Debt and Tax Policies Needed to Prevent Crisis Says Finance Watchdog Group

Financial institutions, experts and economists fear a new wave of financial crises hitting countries from Ghana to Italy. The IMF and World Bank warn that nearly 20 African economies are wrestling with debt crises and on Wednesday the European Union chastised Italy on its debt-laden budget."Growing debt crises and the inability of countries to meet the social needs of their people is very concerning," stated Eric LeCompte who serves on United Nation finance expert groups and is the Executive Director of Jubilee USA.

Puerto Rico Religious Leaders Criticize Debt Plans and Negotiations

Puerto Rico's Catholic Archbishop and an Evangelical leader who heads the island's bible society criticized a debt agreement and ongoing debt negotiations. "We are strongly opposed to the COFINA debt deal," wrote the religious leaders in a statement referencing a recently approved plan on a type of debt backed by sales taxes. The plan was approved by Puerto Rico's government and oversight board and covers about $17 billion of the total $72 billion debt of the US Territory.

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