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US CEO Pay, Bank Profits, Corporate Cash Set New Records

Fri, 2018-04-20 12:50
Across the United States, workers are being told by Democrats and Republicans alike that there is “no money” for decent wages, pensions or health care. Teachers from West Virginia to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and other states are rebelling against near-poverty wages and years of school cuts only to be told by the politicians and union leaders that their demands are “unrealistic” and cannot be met. But a series of reports on CEO pay, bank profits and corporate cash released over the past week reveal that corporate America and the financial oligarchy are wallowing in record levels of wealth. The Washington Post reported on Friday that, boosted by the tax cut for corporations and the rich passed in December, the biggest US firms “find themselves sitting on an Everest of cash,” with “profits pouring in faster than they can find productive ways to spend it.”

Prosecutors Invoke Union Membership To Criminalize Inauguration Day Protesters

Fri, 2018-04-20 12:44
In prosecutions against Inauguration Day protesters, the government contends some of the defendants’ union memberships qualify as evidence of a conspiracy to commit a crime. Hundreds of thousands of protesters converged for the Inauguration Day protests in 2017. One of the demonstrations, an anti-capitalist and anti-fascist march dubbed Disrupt J20, commenced in Logan Circle before heading out into the streets. Protesters marched in the streets carrying banners and signs, and chanting against Donald Trump. During the march, a handful protesters broke off from the main group and smashed the windows of a few store fronts, including a Starbucks. Police, who monitored people involved in the protest for months before the demonstration, responded indiscriminately with stingball grenades and a deluge of pepper spray. Over 200 people were kettled, including protesters, journalists, legal observers, and street medics.

Pittsburgh Police Prepare For Possible Riots If Trump Fires Mueller

Fri, 2018-04-20 12:38
Pittsburgh police have issued a memo to department detectives to prepare for possible protests should President Trump fire special counsel Robert Mueller.  The memo, issued by Victor Joseph, commander of the Pittsburgh bureau of police, instructed detectives to begin wearing a full uniform and carrying riot gear “until further notice”. “There is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller. This would result in a large protest within 24 hours of the firing,” the emails states. “The protest would be semi-spontaneous and more than likely happen on short notice,” the memo read and was issued based on “information of a potential large scale protest in the Central Business District”. The police department appeared to be acting on information gathered from a group, Nobody is Above the Law, that has been preparing for demonstrations should the president move to fire Mueller.

Filipino Muslim Rights Activist Denied Entry To US

Fri, 2018-04-20 12:32
A Filipino Muslim activist has been denied entry into the United States and is believed to be held at San Francisco International Airport, a human rights group in the Philippines reported. The Sandugo-Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination, a group based in Mindanao, said Jerome Aladdin Succor Aba has been in the airport's holding facility since his arrival on April 17. It was believed that Aba, chairman of the group Suara Bangsamoro, was detained by American immigration officials over "visa problems." The activist was supposed to speak before religious and U.S. government officials, including members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Aba was also scheduled to speak on the human rights situation in the Philippines at the National Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice in Washington D.C. on April 20-23.

Radical Municipalism: Fearless Cities

Fri, 2018-04-20 12:23
Jenny Gellatly and Marcos Rivero: Fear and uncertainty seem to have settled into our societies, not only among citizens, but also political leaders and transnational corporations who see their capitals and centres of power stagger in the face of the combined effects of slowing global economic growth, imminent energy decline and increasing climate chaos. In this context, we are  witnessing a multitude of responses, with three approaches that stand out. The first response attempts to regain control and security through new forms of authoritarianism and protectionism. We’ve seen the return of the nation state as a reaction to global capitalism, the re-emergence of national and cultural identity, and a revival of racist and xenophobic discourses.

I Kept All My Plastic For A Year – The 4,490 Items Forced Me To Rethink

Fri, 2018-04-20 11:11
We all know, in theory, that we ought to use less plastic. We’ve all been distressed by the sight of Blue Planet II’s hawksbill turtle entangled in a plastic sack, and felt chastened as we’ve totted up our weekly tally of disposable coffee cups. But still, UK annual plastic waste is now close to 5m tonnes, including enough single-use plastic to fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls; the government’s planned elimination of “avoidable” plastic waste by 2042 seems a quite dazzling task. It was reported this week that scientists at the University of Portsmouth have accidentally developed a plastic-eating mutant enzyme, and while we wait to see if that will save us all, for one individual the realisation of just how much plastic we use has become an intensely personal matter.

Could Student Loans Lead To Debt Prison? The Handwriting On The Wall

Fri, 2018-04-20 10:54
The burden weighing like a nightmare, to coin a phrase, on 44 million indebted current and former students will haunt these people for a good portion of their lives. The average student debtor graduates owing close to $34,000 and is projected to spend 21 years paying it off. At present, the average monthly payment for those between 30 and 40 years old is $351.00. It is not uncommon for repayment obligations to be borne by underwriters of these loans, typically the primary borrower’s parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Taking these co-signers into consideration, we have about 100 million people adversely affected, directly or indirectly, by the difficulty very many have repaying these loans. Because it is hard to have loans dismissed or renegotiated on the grounds of undue hardship, cases like the following are numerous

Out Of 26 Major Editorials On Trump’s Syria Strikes, Zero Opposed

Fri, 2018-04-20 10:39
A survey by FAIR of the top 100 papers in the US by circulation found not a single editorial board opposed to Trump’s April 13 airstrikes on Syria. Twenty supported the strikes, while six were ambiguous as to whether or not the bombing was advisable. The remaining 74 issued no opinion about Trump’s latest escalation of the Syrian war. This is fairly consistent with editorial support for Trump’s April 2017 airstrikes against the Syrian government, which saw only one editorial out of 47 oppose the bombing (FAIR.org, 4/11/17). The single paper of dissent from last year, the Houston Chronicle, didn’t publish an editorial on last week’s bombing. Seven of the top 10 newspapers by circulation—USA Today,Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Post,Chicago Tribune, Newsday and Washington Post—supported the airstrikes.

Capitalism VS. Mental Health, The SS “Light” And Zuck Testifies To His Employees

Fri, 2018-04-20 10:26
Next up, you may know that Zuck appeared before Congress last week but did you know that what he REALLY did was appear before his employees? And Orwell's got nothing on the DHS and their new media list. Finally, this is your brain on capitalism. Dr. Harriet Fraad is a mental health expert as well as a political radical. She sees first hand what capitalism does to our mental health - how the psychology of the system shapes everything from our personal relationships to mass shootings. Be it the “dethronement of white men,” white elitist “feminism” or how we all suffer under the patriarchy, Dr. Fraad lends a necessary mental health lens to the conversation of capitalist oppression.

Fracking/Drilling Protesters Greet Ca Gov Jerry Brown At National Press Club

Fri, 2018-04-20 10:11
On the 17th of April, California's governor Jerry Brown appeared at the National Press Club. To get in, he had to pass protesters demanding he cut his ties to California's oil and gas industy and ban fracking in his state. The oil industry has CA in their sights for the next big North Dakota style oil fracking boom. The demand of the protest was simple: that Jerry Brown Halt New Oil & Gas Projects and especially fracking in his state. His big, gas-guzzling SUV had to drive right past protesters and their banners to get into the National Press Club, where no doubt the stench of oil industry corruption lingered long after he left. A speaker at the rally reported that in 13 CA residents lives within a mile of an oil or gas well, and that communities of color are disproportionately effected by this. That too fits the timeworn pattern from North Dakota, where oil fracking and associated "man camps" have done great harm to Indigenous communities. 

Protest & Political Activity Increases In Trump Era

Thu, 2018-04-19 19:12
People have noted that the last year has seen an escalation of protest activity in the United States. Many of these protests are generated by opposition to Donald Trump, e.g. protests against immigration policies, and many have partisan leanings, e.g. the Women's March, the March for Science and others by circumstances, e.g. the March or Our Lives against gun violence. Protests began on the weekend of Donald Trump's Inauguration, indeed there may have been more protesters at the inauguration than supporters of the president. The poll also found that 14 percent of people in the US worked or volunteered for any group that tries to influence government policy on issues you care about, NOT including working for a political party or candidate. Forty percent said they contacted any elected official by phone, over the internet, by mail, or in person. Fifty percent  said they signed a petition, either on paper or over the internet, about a social or political issue. Forty-one percent bought or boycotted a certain product or service. . .

Lockdown To Stop The Bayou Bridge Pipeline

Thu, 2018-04-19 18:54
MAURICE, LA - On the morning of April 18th a water protector locked herself into a cement filled barrel placed in the trench of a horizontal directional drill on a construction site of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Over a dozen more water protectors from L'eau est La Vie resistance camp rallied alongside her blasting loud music and dancing under banners strung from the drill and excavators that stated "Water is Critical Infrastructure. Stop HB727" and "Stop ETP". The group was soon detained and ID'ed but were eventually let go and allowed to move to a public road nearby where they continued to shout words of support to their locked down comrade.

Banner Hang For Stephon Clark: One Month Anniversary

Thu, 2018-04-19 18:22
Sacramento- On the one-month anniversary of Stephon Clark’s murder by Sacramento Police Department, concerned community members hung a 75 foot banner from Sacramento’s Tower Bridge reading “They Want Peaceful Protests- We Want the D.A. To Prosecute.” The protesters are calling for the District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert to secure justice for the Clark family and the black citizens of Sacramento. Historically, police officers involved in the murder of unarmed black men in the United States have not been prosecuted for their crimes.

“Red Terry” Takes A Stand – “I Will Come Out Of The Tree When These People Get Off My Land”

Thu, 2018-04-19 11:21
Excellent video (by Water Is Life. Protect It.; see below), I definitely recommend it. As a property owner on Bent Mountain puts it, “I think that’s one of the big issues with this pipeline is that the rest of the public that is not in this community up here, a good chunk of them don’t think it’s going to affect them, it’s not in my backyard, but it is – it IS your backyard, we are what feed a lot of the clean, crisp water that Roanoke city gets.” And as the treesitter known as “Red Terry” adds, “They haven’t decided how to lie about the sediment coming down these huge, steep banks into these creeks feeding into the Roanoke Valley and Salem; they haven’t come up with a life for that yet…”

Tax Day 2018: A Bonanza For Corporations And The Military

Thu, 2018-04-19 11:03
The IRS is projected to gather roughly $1.6 trillion in individual income taxes this year, and these taxes will make up almost half of the revenue of the federal government for 2017. By comparison, corporations are expected to pay $297 billion in federal income taxes. Individuals will contribute five times as much in income taxes to the federal government as corporations do. It wasn't always this way. Corporations used to pay more income taxes than individuals did. In 1943, for example, corporations contributed 40 percent of federal revenues, compared to just 9 percent today. What happened? Throughout the last half of the 20th century, individual income tax revenues kept growing. Corporate income taxes didn't keep the pace, growing much more slowly than individual income tax revenues. The corporate tax rate declined from over 50 percent in the 1950s to 35 percent as of 2017. The Trump tax plan will likely lead to a corporate income tax cut of $135 billion in 2018 alone.

Transportation Strikes, University Protests Continue To Shake France

Thu, 2018-04-19 10:57
To Macron’s dismay, the popular movements show no signs of slowing down. The Air France tussle over salaries is separate from the larger and politically more significant stand-off between Macron’s centrist, business-friendly government and the public sector trade unions fighting its reform plans. Rail unions are particularly up in arms over proposed reforms that they say would reduce job security. Students have been blocking several public universities over Macron’s plan to introduce more selective applications. There is a general atmosphere of social discontent against Macron’s reforms, including protests and strikes by civil servants, energy workers and garbage collectors. Recently, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire admitted that, while he couldn’t produce numbers, it was clear that the strikes were impacting growth.

#DianteYarber: California Cops Gun Down Father Of 3 In Hail Of Bullets. His Crime? Sitting In Walmart’s Parking Lot

Thu, 2018-04-19 10:48
Barstow, Calif., police officers fired what sounded like more than 30 bullets into a car in Walmart’s parking lot, killing Diante “Butchie” Yarber, 26, and shooting two other passengers, including 23-year-old Marian Tafoya who was critically wounded. The incident occurred on the morning of April 5, when Yarber, the father of three girls, ages 9, 7, and 1, drove his cousin and friends to a local Walmart. Barstow police claim they were responding to a call about a “suspicious” vehicle in the parking lot, when they spotted Yarber waiting in a black Mustang for his passengers to return to the car. This, per usual, is where law enforcement’s account of events doesn’t appear to align with reality.

Open Letter To President Trump

Thu, 2018-04-19 10:32
We are journalists, activists and citizens from the United States and around the world who care about press freedom and are writing to you in response to the latest threat of prosecution against WikiLeaks for its journalistic work. We ask you to immediately close the Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks and drop any charges against Julian Assange and other Wikileaks staff members which the Department of Justice is planning. This threat to WikiLeaks escalates a long-running war of attrition against the great virtue of the United States — free speech. The Obama Administration prosecuted more whistleblowers than all presidents combined and opened a Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks that had no precedent. It now appears the US is preparing to take the next step — prosecuting publishers who provide the "currency" of free speech, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson.

AT&T And Cable Lobby Are Terrified Of A California Net Neutrality Bill

Thu, 2018-04-19 10:22
Internet service providers celebrated four months ago when the Federal Communications Commission voted to eliminate nationwide net neutrality rules that prohibit blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. But now Internet service providers in California are terrified that they could end up facing even stricter rules being considered by the California legislature. AT&T and the lobby group that represents Comcast, Charter, Cox, and other cable companies have been making their displeasure known to lawmakers in advance of hearings on a bill that could impose the toughest net neutrality law in the nation. The California bill implements the FCC's basic net neutrality rules from 2015, but it also bans paid zero-rating arrangements in which home or mobile Internet providers charge online services for data cap exemptions.

How Vermont Changed From Red To Blue

Thu, 2018-04-19 10:10
Donald Trump’s fear mongering about Mexicans and Muslims, Haitians and Africans, and other foreigners is hardly sui generis in U.S. history. In the mid- 19th century, nativists on our east coast regularly sounded the alarm about barbarian invasions from famine-stricken Ireland. Their west coast counterparts warned for many decades of the “yellow peril” spreading across the Pacific Ocean from China to California. Yvonne Daley’s new book about the late 20th century transformation of Vermont, reminds us that even domestic population shifts involving native-born whites can be easily demonized—if the physical appearance and social customs of the “outsiders” in question are sufficiently strange and they are not depicted as law-abiding. One of the highlights of Going Up the Country: When the Hippies, Dreamers, Freaks, and Radicals Moved to Vermont is Daley’s re-creation of a minor panic triggered by Playboy, when it had millions of readers.