Note to Mayor Daley:

Why not privatize every job at city hall too? That way corporations that we all trust so much can cut out the lobbyists and middlemen and just write AND pass all of the laws so we can move even faster towards more bigger and better disaster capitalism.

And the added bonus: You can set up a bonus system for these Blackwater types to help fill the privatized prison systems. That way they can really kick the free market into high gear all by themselves. But then we'll need to privatize the courts because not all of them are as attuned to the needs of these privatized government services as Pennsylvania courts are.

Or we can just send all of these people that want "private armies" running their city to Iraq and they can write back telling us all about how they love this idea to death.
As the city and its police union near the two-year mark in contract negotiations, Mayor Richard Daley on Saturday said a proposal to allow private security guards to write tickets is worth exploring.

Only Chicago police officers can issue citations, but two far South Side aldermen want armed security guards who patrol business districts in their wards to have that authority as well.

Daley said allowing the guards to ticket people for graffiti, parking violations and other minor infractions could free trained police officers to concentrate on combating violent crime. The move could also generate revenue for the city while enforcing minor ordinances.


Obama Stops VA Private Billing Talk

An update on this story:

President Obama yesterday abandoned a proposal to bill veterans' private insurance companies for the treatment at VA hospitals of combat-related injuries amid an outcry over the measure from veterans' service organizations and members of Congress.

The proposal would have authorized the Department of Veterans Affairs to charge private companies for treating injuries and other medical conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, that are related to military service. The measure was intended to save VA about $530 million a year, but the administration's pursuit of third-party billing sparked resistance from leaders of veterans groups, who met this week with Obama.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement yesterday that the president has "instructed that its consideration be dropped."

Saving a few bucks at the expense of making it near impossible for a Veteran to find work was not a very good idea, at all. Who would hire a Veteran knowing that it would skyrocket the insurance premiums for their company because they had to cover the costs of treating their injuries?

Never mind that it would be walking away from the real answer needed for everyone, Veterans and civilians alike: Single Payer Health Care.


Step 2: Documenting Bushvilles

Welcome to America in decline:
"They are tagging us because we are homeless," she said, staring at her orange wristband. "It feels like a concentration camp."
We need to set out to document these atrocities in as much detail as we can. Are there any places like this near you:

Bushville, Ontario, California:
"Is a campground the solution to the problem of homelessness? The California City of Ontario thinks so."

Bushville, Los Angeles, California:
"Tent cities have sprung up outside Los Angeles as people lose their homes in the mortgage crisis."


"Large, often confused, crowds formed ragged lines behind police barricades where officers handed out color-coded wristbands. Blue meant they were from Ontario and could remain. Orange indicated they had to provide more proof to avoid ejection, and white meant they had a week to leave.

Pattie Barnes, 47, who had her motor home towed away last week, shook with anger.

"They are tagging us because we are homeless," she said, staring at her orange wristband. "It feels like a concentration camp.""

Welcome to free market America:
"It feels like a concentration camp."

Bushville, Sacremento, California:
"Some 300 people call a tent city in Sacramento home, including Tracy Vaughan, who moved to the city with her husband six months ago.

Via the AP, No Job - No Home:

As many as 1200 homeless?
"Some nearby homeowners have reportedly complained about the tent cities, but Sacramento's new mayor, former NBA star Kevin Johnson, has suggested that the tent cities might provide a temporary solution to the lack of shelter. As many as 1,200 people may be living in these tent cities, according to the local ABC 7 News."

Bushville, Reno, Nevada:
"A few tents cropped up hard by the railroad tracks, pitched by men left with nowhere to go once the emergency winter shelter closed for the summer.

Then others appeared — people who had lost their jobs to the ailing economy, or newcomers who had moved to Reno for work and discovered no one was hiring.

Within weeks, more than 150 people were living in tents big and small, barely a foot apart in a patch of dirt slated to be a parking lot for a campus of shelters Reno is building for its homeless population. Like many other cities, Reno has found itself with a "tent city" — an encampment of people who had nowhere else to go.

From Seattle to Athens, Ga., homeless advocacy groups and city agencies are reporting the most visible rise in homeless encampments in a generation."

Bushville, Santa Barbara, California:
"The relatively tony city of Santa Barbara has given over a parking lot to people who sleep in cars and vans."

Bushville, Fresno, California:
"authorities in Fresno are trying to manage several proliferating tent cities, including an encampment where people have made shelters out of scrap wood."

America the Beautiful:
3rd world shantytowns.

Bushville, Athens, Georgia:
"Wayne Hill packed up his meager belongings last week and moved his home deeper into the woods.

Hill's red tent and neighboring homes had inched too close to the nearby highway, and police told him to move.

"We've asked them to move back off the road a little bit," Athens-Clarke police Maj. Carter Greene said. "It seemed they were encroaching on Lexington Road."


But Tent City limits slowly crept downhill, so now people look up from Lexington Road and a perimeter off-ramp to see campsites and junk piles."
Can you just imagine the horror of having to actually see the homeless?

Bushville, Seattle, Washington:
(Note: there are several - 5 or 6 - of them in Seattle)
"Activists point to the annual One Night Count as evidence that not enough shelter beds exist. During the count of the homeless in Seattle and other parts of King County on Jan. 25, volunteers counted 2,631 people sleeping in cars and trucks, doorways and parks and under highways, or walking around or riding buses to stay warm in freezing temperatures. When comparing similar areas counted a year ago, the number of homeless increased 15 percent.

An additional 2,515 people spent the night in emergency shelters, with 3,293 more in transitional housing, for a total of 8,439 homeless people."

Bushville, Nashville, Tennessee:
"To its credit, Nashville recognizes that there is a problem with the "system" and, as the community slowly works towards correcting these problems, understands that there is at least a temporary need for the existence of homeless encampments.

To its discredit, Nashville is currently engaged in dismantling Tent City, the largest (the population fluctuates wildly at times, but is consistently around 50) and oldest (in existence since the mid 1980s) homeless camp in the area, which is slated to close June 1, 2009; sooner if outreach workers are able to find housing for the remaining residents."

Bushville, Chatanooga, Tennessee:
"The demolition of Tent City left many of Chattanooga's homeless without a place to live.

But not so for one lucky man.

For the first time in six years Richard Waldrep has a home to call his own.

Waldrep has spent the last several years on the streets, for the last few months he called "Tent City" home.

But, now that home has been destroyed.

Due to safety concerns and liability issues Norfolk Southern Railroad bulldozed the property leaving Waldrep and almost 30 others to find another place to live. "

Bushville, St. Petersburg, Florida:
"Police officers with box cutters showed up where St. Pete's tent city residents had moved and set up. The cops slashed their tents to the ground as residents watched in shock. Now one homeless group is moving to label St. Petersburg as the 'meanest city in the nation.' Video by Tina May."

The police destroying the few meager belongings left to these homeless people. Is that what the mandate of police officers is supposed to include today? What happened to serve and protect?

Do you know of any of these tent cities or Bushvilles near you that the media has yet to disclose of? If you do... Links, photos, and videos need to be added to our own archives in order to document the widespread disaster that is a very result of this failed Bush economy and the free-market run amok.

Arthur Delaney at the HuffPo is attempting to document these stories. We should all be doing our part to identify these places:
There are reports of tent cities popping up across the country as unemployment rises in a worsening economy. The biggest and highest-profile shantytown is in Sacramento, where hundreds of newly-homeless tent residents are cooking soup in old coffee cans.

We want to know where else this is happening.

HuffPost readers: Is there a tent city near you? Have you noticed a newly-formed community of people living together in improvised housing in a public space? Email us! Send any information you've got (or pictures) to submissions+homeless@huffingtonpost.com.

Sacramento's KCRA reported this week that city officials plan to shut the tent city down:

While this is a good idea - documenting where they exist is really only Step 2 because it is an idea without a real humane purpose.

Rather than just documenting these stories, perhaps we should try to solve the problems? In some of these Bushvilles there are already people working to help fix the problems as both short term and long term solutions are needed.

In Portland, Oregon, many in the community are providing the elbow grease to make their tent city, Dignity Village, more livable for the short term and more effective at helping the people get back to work:
Many more community's across the country, have looked to us for answers to help the homeless population that is growing bigger each year. When People come out to visit us , they are amazed at what we have set up and how we help the 50 to 60 homeless people that live here at any given time, a stepping stone effect that gives each person living here a chance to help themselves regain a new start to gain main stream living again.

All of this comes from donations from viewers and visitors that help to support our goals.

Dignity Village has been working this way since 2001 and long before Bushvilles started popping up. I imagine that they are probably experiencing a huge surge in people needing their help as the economy has collapsed over the last few months.

The right did not solve the problem of Hoovervilles, but the left did with the bold and visionary leadership of FDR. Many on the right would like nothing more than to ignore Bushvilles because it exposes the reality of their political ideology taken to extremes.

We can and will solve the problem of Bushvilles.

I am no community organizer, but I imagine that we need to take these steps first:

1. Identify the major problem - done

2. Identify where it exists - ?

3. Identify problems that are more local to each area - ?

4. Get to work solving the short term problems on a local area needs basis - ?

5. Get to work solving the long term problems on a local area needs basis - ?

Are any of you up to a real challenge?

Are any of you interested in beginning Step 2 and starting to document as many of these tent cities and Bushvilles as we can? Searching for links, getting out in the streets and photographing and videoing these places AND, more importantly, documenting the problems they face so we can try to find real solutions would be no small undertaking.

The Big Congressional Lie

If the United Auto Workers (UAW) union contracts can be on the table... So can the Financially United Corporate Kleptocracy of the United States (FUCK-US) nonunion contracts:
A friend called last night, and asked me why Congress didn't include anything in the bailout legislation to ensure that any company receiving a bailout didn't pay out bonuses? If the courts would have required the contracts to go through, then amend whatever law the courts are relying on to make that ruling, specifically as it applies to companies that accept bailout monies and the enforcement of bonuses. In essence, pass "cram down" legislation that applies to bonuses at companies like AIG.
These failed bankers need to be hammered. Not pampered by their elected kissing cousins. They were the ones that caused all of this in the first place. I think we need to put Congress' contracts back on the table, as well, so we can clawback their health care and heaping shitpile of their money. And then we could put an idiocracy tax on all of their incomes.


Banks Worried About Riot

Given all of the bank fraud and looting of the nation's treasury, would you have thought this would be the story?

America's Next Top Model host Tyra Banks says she is "concerned" after an audition for her show ended with six people injured and three arrests.

Thousands of modelling hopefuls were queuing outside a hotel in Manhattan, New York, when bedlam broke out.

Police cancelled the audition but could not say what had sparked the panic.

Mind you, with jobs so few and far between these days as more and more companies are kicking employees to the curb... And considering that you are probably more likely to win the big jackpot in the lottery than you are to find a decent living wage right now, this riot is not really all that surprising, either.