“The Inspector General of the US Postal Service calls for the firing of the politically connected real estate firm that has been selling post offices to its friends, cheap” by Peter Byrne (m.eastbayexpress.com)

Late last month, David C. Williams dropped a red-hot audit on Tom Samra, who runs the real estate arm of the US Postal Service in Washington, DC. As the inspector general of the Postal Service, William’s mission is to “prevent and detect fraud, waste, and misconduct” inside the $65 billion agency. The April 22 audit report bluntly charges Samra and his staff with mishandling the Postal Service’s contract with CBRE of Santa Monica, which is the world’s biggest commercial real estate firm and is one of the nation’s most politically influential. Based on findings that the CBRE has violated its financial obligations to the Postal Service, Williams is demanding that Samra “terminate and recompete the current CBRE real estate management services contract.”

According to the audit, Williams has assigned his law enforcement division to review specific CBRE deals. CBRE spokesperson Robert McGrath said, “We have been informed by the OIG [Office of Inspector General] that no criminal investigation is underway.” When asked if McGrath’s statement is true, the inspector general’s spokesperson, Agapi Doulaveris, replied, “The Office of Inspector General conducts investigations that are administrative and criminal in nature. We do not confirm, deny, or speak about any ongoing investigation.”

CBRE is largely owned and controlled by Richard C. Blum, the husband of US Senator Dianne Feinstein. In 2011, the Postal Service awarded Blum’s firm an exclusive contract to service its $85 billion real estate portfolio. According to the audit, CBRE has made tens of millions of dollars on deals that have damaged the financial interests of the Postal Service. The inspector general says that CBRE employees may have coerced commissions from landlords during leasing negotiations. He has also marshaled evidence revealing conflicts of interest in CBRE’s dealings with buyers of postal properties. Williams is concerned that CBRE “could manipulate transaction prices to favor its clients or business partners when managing the appraisal and negotiation processes for properties the Postal Service has sold or leased.”

The inspector general’s seventeen-month investigation commenced a few weeks after Express published an excerpt from my investigative ebook, Going Postal: U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Husband Sells Post Offices to His Friends, Cheap.

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“Song of the day” by Ayat Bryant-Jalal

Ayat in B&W  

What song!

Does the bird of freedom sing?

At what pitch,

To what end,

Is it a melody felt?

Or message sent

 

Could it be recognized?

Would it be a tune heard before

Violent!…non-violent!

…Or more!

 

Would it have color?

Or, will it be not bound

Will it invoke an ideal?

Have words

Or shake the ground

 

What song would the bird of freedom sing

Could it be perceived?

Will our hearts be open to its culture?

Or be suppressed by our own suffering

 

Will it free us, of here, now

Could it lend its wings to the oppressed?

Could it so impress…

Those heavenly beings would come down

 

Could it lift up every heart, in unison?

Will it even have sound!

If it be conscious of it own breath,

To whom…or what would it vow?

 

Could it remove us

From the slavery of our ignorance

Saying freedom is slavery;

Then slavery would be freedom

Perhaps it’ll resound from the cries of our babies

Demanding…

Revolution Now!

Action Council Forum on Monday, May 11

“Listen Up, Mayors” 

Coming to San Francisco June 19-22

The 83rd Annual Conference of Mayors

OccupyForum Presents:

Planning Session For

“Listen Up, Mayors”

Monday, May 11, 2015

6:00pm – 9:00pm

Global Exchange

2017 Mission St. (nr. 16th Street BART)

San Francisco

On Monday, May 11th, OccupyForum Presents: Action Council Forum to coordinate actions around the 83rd Annual Conference of U.S. Mayors.

 

June 19-22, San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee is hosting the 83rd Annual Conference of Mayors.  Around 200 Mayors, their families and corporate sponsors will be in attendance.

 

This is an opportunity to raise issues LOCALLY and NATIONALLY, that are of concern to us, The People, that the mayors have resisted and refused to act upon, or acted on against the interest of The People. For instance:

 

“Black Lives Matter” ~ Police Militarization and Excessive Use of Force ~ Racism ~Gentrification of our Communities ~ Homelessness ~ Privatization of our Commons ~Homophobia and Trans-phobia ~ Immigration ~ the Environment ~ Corporate Greed ~ the People’s taxes being spent on wars enriching the 1% and not serving the needs of the people and more.

 

Let’s get ready NOW and send a message to the Mayors of this nation that they need to,Listen Up!

 

All are welcome

Info:  bob71947@aol.com

Police

HomelessCorp Greed

 

TI

 

Appreciation to Tom, Mike, John, Jeffrey & Bob.

Berkeley Post Office occupation updates — May 6 and 7

First they came for the homeless's photo.
First they came for the homeless's photo.
First they came for the homeless's photo.
First they came for the homeless's photo.

Coming Saturday, our victory party. Please share.

This is the schedule for Saturday. Spread the word please.

Introductory music before the event officially starts will be provided by the Phat Love Band.
Schedule of speakers/music (bold face means confirmed):
1:00- 1:10: Carol Denney – music
1:11-1:14: Mike Zint
1:15-1:18: Jac McCormick
1:19-1:22: Mike Lonergan
1:23-1:26: Carol Wolfley
1:27-1:30: Himanshu and wife
1:30-1:40: Dave Welsh – music
1:41-1:44: Harvey Smith
1:45-1:48: Susan Hammer
1:49-1:52: JP Massar
1:53-1:56: Kriss Worthington
1:57-2:00: Jesse Arreguin
2:00-2:10: Anna DeLeon – music
2:10-2:15: Margot gives out certificates
2:15-2:18: Tony Rossmann
2:19-2:22: Roger Moore
2:23-2:26: Linda Maio
2:27-2:30: Tony Thurmond?
2:31-2:34: Sharon Maldonado
2:35-2:38: Shirley Taylor?
2:38-2:42: Another council member?
2:43-2:53: Hali – Music
Then we eat cake!

–Mike Zint

May 7, 2015

This is typical. Homeless people helped, and now in victory, we have to leave? For the record, the last occupation lasted 33 days and failed. We have been here over six months and have succeeded. It was us who did the info table, book exchange, periodical table, and with BPOD, the free box, bulletin board, and community garden.

But we are homeless, so we don’t count. A very bad feeling is developing here. This is the email.

Hello,

My thanks go to alll the infividuals who worked to save the post office from being sold. PLEASE remove the tent, which has no purpose now. It is an intimidating and messy presence, which diverts attention from the beauty of the post office building, obstructs pedestrian traffic, and inhibits many folks from walking past the front of the post office.

Thank you,

–Mike Zint

“Community bankers back Bernie Sanders’ bill to break up big banks” by Kent Hoover (bizjournals.com)

bernie-sanders
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

Who knew community bankers were socialists?

OK, that’s an overreaction, but when it comes to big banks, community bankers and Sen. Bernie Sanders see eye to eye.

Sanders is the independent socialist senator from Vermont who’s challengingHillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. He and Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., have introduced legislation that give financial regulators one year to break up financial institutions that are so large that their failure would devastate the U.S. economy unless they receive a taxpayer bailout.

That sounds like a good idea to the Independent Community Bankers of America, a trade association representing more than 6,000 banks across the country.

“ICBA agrees that the too-big-to-fail megabanks are too big to exist,” said ICBA President and CEO Camden Fine. “After triggering a historic financial crisis and receiving trillions of dollars in taxpayer assistance, the nation’s largest and riskiest financial institutions continue to pose systemic threats to our economy while enjoying an artificial funding advantage subsidized by taxpayers.”

The Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act would give the Financial Stability Oversight Council 90 days to compile a list of banks, hedge funds, insurance companies and other entities whose failure would have a catastrophic effect on the financial system or the economy. Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, State Street and Wells Fargo would automatically make the list, since they’ve already been deemed “systemically important banks” by the Financial Stability Board, the international body that monitors the global financial system. But the list could include other institutions as well.

The Treasury Department would then be required to break up these institutions within a year “so that they cannot cause another financial crisis ever again,” Sanders said.

In the meantime, institutions on the list would not be eligible for bailouts from the Federal Reserve and could not use their customers’ bank deposits to speculate on derivatives or other risky investments.

Sanders said he was glad to get community bankers’ endorsement for his bill.

“What the Independent Community Bankers of America understand is that the function of banking should be boring,” he said. “The function of banking should not be about making as much profits as possible gambling on derivatives and other esoteric financial instruments.

“The function of banking should be to provide affordable loans to small businesses to create jobs in the productive economy. The function of banking should be to provide affordable loans to Americans to purchase homes and cars. Wall Street cannot be an island onto itself.”

Sanders noted that JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo are 80 percent larger now than they were before the financial crisis. If any of these institutions were to fail, “the taxpayers of this country would be on the hook for another bailout, perhaps even larger than the last one,” Sanders said.

“We cannot let that happen again,” he said.

The Dodd-Frank Act addressed the “too big to fail” issue by requiring banks with assets of $50 billion or more to submit “orderly and rapid” resolution plans in the event of material financial distress or failure. Big banks also are subject to more stringent capital requirements and undergo stress tests to determine how they would perform in an economic downturn.

Sanders, however, said big banks are still engaged in lots of “reckless activity” despite the Dodd-Frank Act. He contends regulators shouldn’t be given the option of dismantling megabanks; they should be required to do so.

The bill’s chances are slim; this is the third time around for Sanders and Sherman for this legislation. Other members of Congress also have introduced bills aimed at limiting the size of banks, including Sen. David Vitter, the Louisiana Republican who chairs the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. None of these bills have gone anywhere in Congress.

The question, Sanders asked, is whether Congress can pass legislation that Wall Street opposes.

Probably not, at least not now. But Sanders’ bill does give him another issue to use in his presidential campaign, and it provides community banks another opportunity to rail against big banks.