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inequality | Activist News

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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »


U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

jeff olsen

Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »


The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

Category Archives: inequality

One Year’s Salary : Europe Caps Banker Bonuses


Spiegel Online
Mar. 2, 2012

In a bid to address widespread public outrage over greed in the financial sector, European officials have agreed to legislation capping bankers’ bonuses at a maximum of a year’s salary. Great Britain fought to prevent the measure, but failed to rally enough support.

Starting in 2014, banks in the European Union must limit bonus payments for their employees. After some 10 months of tough negotiations, top European officials agreed late on Wednesday in Brussels to cap bonuses at a maximum of one year’s base salary.

“For the first time in the history of EU financial market regulation, we will cap bankers’ bonuses,” said the European Parliament’s head negotiator, Austria’s Othmar Karas, in a statement. “The essence is that from 2014, European banks will have to set aside more money to be more stable and concentrate on their core business, namely financing the real economy, that of small and medium-sized enterprises and jobs.”

Judge Limits a Police Stop-and-Frisk Program in the Bronx


New York Times
Jan. 8, 2012

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the New York Police Department’s practice of stopping people suspected of trespassing outside private buildings in the Bronx was unconstitutional.

The decision appears to be one of the more significant federal rulings during the Bloomberg administration on the Police Department’s use of stop-and-frisk tactics, which the administration has credited with helping lower crime rates in the city.

The case was narrowly focused on police stops in front of the private residential buildings enrolled in the Trespass Affidavit Program in the Bronx. Under that program, which includes several thousand residential buildings, property managers have asked the police to patrol their buildings and to arrest trespassers.

Canada gets human rights failing grade from Amnesty International


The Star
Dec. 19, 2012
By Olivia Ward

For Canada’s international human rights standing, 2012 was an annus horribilis.

This year three UN expert committees rated the country’s performance on meeting rights commitments — and returned a failing grade.

“These mandatory reviews are carried out every four or five years, and it just happened that this year Canada was the focus of three,” said Alex Neve, who heads Amnesty International Canada. “It’s a wake-up call that although we have things to be proud of, there are many fronts where we have long-standing issues that need to be addressed.”

An Amnesty report released Wednesday says that committees on racial discrimination, prevention of torture and children’s rights found “a range” of “ongoing and serious human rights challenges,” especially for indigenous peoples.

Inequality ‘highest for 20 years’ – Save The Children


BBC News
Oct. 31, 2012

Global inequalities in wealth are at their highest level for 20 years and are growing, according to a new report by Save The Children.

While the charity acknowledges progress has been made in goals such as reducing child mortality, the report says this has been uneven across income groups.

Continuing inequality could hinder further progress in improving living standards, the charity says.

The report comes ahead of a meeting of a high-level UN panel on poverty.

“In recent decades the world has made dramatic progress in cutting child deaths and improving opportunities for children; we are now reaching a tipping point where preventable child deaths could be eradicated in our lifetime,” Save the Children’s chief executive, Justin Forsyth, said.

Bank of England official: Occupy Movement right about global recession


Oct. 29, 2012

The Occupy Movement has found an unlikely ally in a senior Bank of England official, Andrew Haldane, who has praised protesters for their role in triggering an overhaul of the financial services sector.

Haldane, who oversees the City for the central bank, said Occupy acted as a lever on policymakers despite criticism that its aims were too vague. He said the protest movement was right to focus on inequality as the chief reason for the 2008 crash, following studies that showed the accumulation of huge wealth funded by debt was directly responsible for the domino-like collapse of the banking sector in 2008.

Speaking at a debate held by the Occupy Movement in central London, Haldane said regulations limiting credit use would undermine attempts by individuals to accumulate huge property and financial wealth at the expense of other members of society. Allowing banks to lend on a massive scale also drained funding from other industries, adding to the negative impact that unregulated banks had on the economy, he said.

Outcry over Pakistan attack on activist Malala Yousafza, 14


BBC News
Oct. 10, 2012

An attack by Taliban gunmen in north-west Pakistan that wounded a 14-year-old who campaigned for girls’ rights has caused an outcry in the country.

Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head on her way home from school in Mingora, the main town in the Swat Valley.

The president and prime minister have led condemnation of the attack.

Initial reports suggested she was out of danger, but there is growing concern over her condition with some reports saying she may need treatment abroad.

Top 1% Got 93% of Income Growth as Rich-Poor Gap Widened

APTOPIX Wall Street Protest Austin

Oct. 2, 2012
By Peter Robison

While the U.S. economy was recovering from the Great Recession, Reyes, 52, a casino dealer from Minneapolis, was dining on $1.67 cans of soup and searching for a way to keep her house, which was foreclosed on last October.

“I went backwards,” Reyes said. “Two years ago, three years ago, I didn’t know I’d be looking at being homeless.”

Stephen Hemsley’s salary has been frozen too. His income hasn’t.

The chief executive officer of Minnetonka, Minnesota-based health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) earned $1.3 million in salary every year since 2007. Still, as the economic recovery took hold from 2009 to 2011, Hemsley, 60, exercised stock options worth more than $170 million and made at least $51 million from share sales, making him the object of an “Occupy Lake Minnetonka” protest on the ice outside his lakeside home each winter.

DNC protesters continue march after standoff

dnc protest

Associated Press
Sept. 4, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dozens of protesters clogged streets and blocked traffic Tuesday outside the Democratic National Convention on its opening day, making for some tense moments that ultimately brought more theater than violence.

Just five blocks from Time Warner Cable Arena, where delegates are meeting this week, protesters took over an intersection for about two hours, attracting hundreds of police officers who swooped in to surround them and try to funnel them to more secure areas.

Officers took two protesters away in handcuffs. Other demonstrators got into shouting matches with delegates and cut off the primary route used by buses bringing convention attendees to the area. Still, no violence or significant damage occurred even after the protesters were eventually allowed to march into the heart of Charlotte’s central business district.

Silent protest promotes awareness of Treyvon Martin case

Mar. 25, 2012

University students stood in silence at the Tate lawn.

They gathered there on Friday to protest the shooting of Trayvon Martin, with the support of the University chapter of the NAACP.

Martin, a Florida teenager, was shot and killed as he returned home from a convenience store on Feb. 26. Controversy started after George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman who said he killed the 17-year-old in self-defense, was not apprehended or investigated because of Florida’s “Stand your ground” laws.

“It seems like he was murdered for no specific reason,” said Stewart Zellars, an economics and statistics major from Augusta. “The silent protest is really for us to take a stand and say, ‘This is how we feel about something. We think this is an injustice.’”

Nekabari Goka, an economics and international affairs major from Atlanta, and Zellars facilitated the protest. Zellars said over 175 students attended, word was spread entirely through Twitter, Facebook and by word of mouth.

Goka said that he initially found out about the incident via social media, but did not believe it at first.

“I was in class and saw a lot of hashtag Trayvon Martin, justice in florida,” He said. “When I heard the details I almost thought it was a joke, to say that a 17-year-old kid with iced tea and skittles and wearing a hood, and the shooter, the one with the nine millimeter, felt that his life was in danger.”

Soon after, Goka saw Zellars decided something needed to be done, organized the protest and were out on the lawn three days later.

“That shows a testament to the fact that we have the ability to mobilize,” Goka said. “Time and time again we’ve shown that when University of Georgia students talk, Georgia listens.”

As a part of the protest students stood silently in black, many with skittles and iced tea, and held signs with slogans or twitter hashtags to promote awareness.

“The reason we decided to do a silent protest is that if you look at the news, or if you look at social media there is a lot of talk,” Goka said. “You sort of loathe situations where people talk about things but don’t necessarily act. Coming up with the idea for the silent protest we said we aren’t going to talk, we’ll just act.”

Zellars said that he was not surprised at the rapid response of the student to the issue because of the long reach of social media and the character of the student body.

“I have a lot of faith in my classmates, and people can say whatever about apathy or inaction, but I really believe that once it hit the social media outlets the way it did I knew they would deliver,” he said.

Full Article Here – http://redandblack.com/2012/03/25/silent-protest-promotes-awareness-of-treyvon-martin-case/

The Trayvon Martin Speech

By Roscoe Mapps
Mar. 23, 2012

It may be too early to write this, but I think 26 days is already too late. My heart is broken.  An American boy with a pack of Skittles and a bottle of tea chatted with his girlfriend while walking back to his dad’s house. Approached by a stranger, he put his head down, kept to himself and sped-up his pace. But really this 17 year old boy had no chance the moment he left the convenience store. He had no chance the moment he left his dad’s house. In fact he had no chance that morning when he woke up. He was shot in the chest and left on the hard cold ground for his lifeless body to surrender to a drug and alcohol test. His killer was excused and protected by a law. Moms, Dads imagine that was your son.

Now here’s the thing, my mom told me about Trayvon Martin way before 25 days ago. In fact, the Trayvon Martin speech started back in the 80s and 90s when I was a kid. I wasn’t the only one hearing it. If you happened to be born a black male in the United States you too heard the story of Trayvon Martin every day before you left the house. It goes something like this:

“You cannot walk alone at night in any neighborhood, including your own. You cannot walk through alleys at any time of day, even if it’s your own neighborhood, and even if you’re with your friends. Do not directly look strangers in the eye when walking by them. Always walk where there are lots of people. Always drive on main roads. Always make sure someone in your family knows where you are going. No matter what you think or who you think you can trust, you cannot do what other people do and you certainly cannot do what white people do. You cannot necessarily go where they go. You can’t get away with the same jokes or fun casual pranks no matter how innocent it may seem. You can’t walk where they walk. You have to always be aware of how others might interpret what you do or say. They may be strangers, they may be people you know, they may be friends, teachers, or police officers but you can never assume that people know you’re a good kid with good grades. So if a cop pulls you over and asks you odd questions, you say nothing except: ‘my mother told me to ask you to call her.  Please call my parents.’ You must always be alert and aware of who is around you. Why? Because you are a black man. I know you are just a kid, but the world sees you as a man. Despite what others may say or what you may think, I’m telling you there are a lot of people in the world who just don’t like that you are a black male… and some of those people may even be people you really like. You can never really know. I love you more than anyone, I would do anything for you, I would die for you and you need to listen to me. I know you’re just a kid and I know it’s not fair, but that’s how it is and I want you to be safe.”

Trayvon Martin’s death was the exact scenario my mom envisioned every time she gave me that speech. It was the same scenario her parents told her, and it’s the same speech we tell my cousin who is about Trayvon’s age. It was Travyon Martin’s story. Please think about this the next time you feel an African American person is overreacting to a situation involving race. Imagine having to live at THAT level of intensity and conflict as a kid. Hearing about freedom, liberty, and equality in school and then at home learning a different reality – certain rules don’t quite apply to you. Think about that the next time you wonder why “blacks get so upset all the time” or you have the courage to ask me “why do blacks have to act that way?” Imagine growing up having to have that type of intense awareness every time you walk into the world. Then ask yourself: “Do I truly understand race relations in America?”

When I encounter racism, the first thing I do is ask, “What are my surroundings like just in case I need to defend myself.” This comes from years of Mom’s Trayvon Martin speech.  The second thing I ask is, “Am I overacting to what feels and seems like racism in this person’s actions?” – this comes from growing up around some people who want me to believe that racism no longer exists.  What do you do when you encounter racism? Do you even notice it? Have you ever been “walked-through” at a grocery store or a mall? Ask me what it’s really like when you’re alone with a cop and a judge in a small town. Ask me what it’s like when you’re driving your friend’s car on a small highway, he’s with you, and you get pulled over, searched, and interrogated with no explanation (Huntley remembers that one). Ask me about the time when I was the sole witness in a hit-and-run, and one of the cops ran directly to me and did a physical search and background check on me immediately, until they realized I was the witness. Ask me the last time I experienced racism in front of several witnesses – it was last week in Houstonand two weeks prior in Tulsa. Ask me how easy it was to dismiss my 1st Amendment rights as I walked away in these situations… having to quickly evaluate stereotypes and personalities with reality.

Anger isn’t the word that describes how I feel when I think about Trayvon Martin’s death and when I recall the number of times I made that same walk to a local convenience store for some ice tea and skittles. My heart is broken over Trayvon.

I didn’t always listen to mom. Sometimes my family may not have known exactly where I was. I joked around and thought I could get away with what “some of my white friends did.” We all have. But to this very moment no matter what part of the country I’m traveling I’m always aware that because I am a black male, even nice people may not be what they seem. So when I seem to get upset about racism, or sexism or homophobia or any other –ism or -phobia, it’s not because it’s a “comfortable excuse” – as I’m often told.

I don’t know if this will ever change for me. I’ll certainly tell my kids the story of Trayvon Martin, just like Mom told me. My prayer is that God comfort the heart and spirit of Trayvon’s parents and help us all find the courage and path to own, understand, and overcome our personal prejudices. It may be too soon to make the assumptions I’m making here and I’m certainly only speaking from my point of view. But I hope others share their stories.

Full Article Here – http://www.facebook.com/notes/roscoe-mapps/the-trayvon-martin-speech/10150625085178947