Violent protests in Amsterdam after Dutch outlaw squatting

Amsterdam hippies and radicals have a history of squatting abandoned buildings that dates back to the 1960s when it was started by the anarchist Provos.

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One Nation Working Together Rally in Washington DC Today

The next time some ultra right wing putz opens his mouth (Jonah or Bernard Goldberg) and prattles some garbage about how the Left Wing Media never covers conservative stories call him a liar and tell him to STFU.

It’s been 43 years since I went to the Pentagon Demonstration against the War in Vietnam.  I learned about crowd number estimates.  Ours and the police estimates that the media uses.  Given an equal number of people at a left wing rally vs those at a right wing rally the crowd estimates on the part of the polices will go like this. The estimate will be 50-75% for the left wing rally and 125-150% for the right wing rally.

Therefore I look at those equal size rallies and as having identical numbers.

In the years since the Pentagon Demonstration I’ve gone to professional baseball and foot ball games as well as concerts where tickets give a reasonably accurate count and have come to the conclusion that rally organizers both left and right tend to be wildly optimistic regarding the numbers.

Be that as it may…

The real difference is in the amount of coverage the media gives these events.  I have seen little or no mainstream press coverage of this rally which is especially glaring in comparison to the coverage give the ultra right wing  Tea Baggers and their rally.

Perhaps the media has a problem with showing the difference between the diverse left and the mostly white right.

Perhaps the corporate media has a vested interest in portraying America as far more conservative than it actually is.

I remember that just before Bush invaded Iraq many thousands of people marched against the invasion and were virtually ignored.

From The Nation:

Peter Rothberg | September 21, 2010

The sobering new data on poverty has given new impetus to the One Nation Working Together [1] movement, a coalition of union members, community activists, students, entertainers, civil and human rights leaders and progressive politicians coming together on October 2 to demand jobs, justice and education.

The figures recently released by the US Census Bureau [2] show that one in seven Americans – that’s 45.6 million people – lives in poverty in the United States. This is the third consecutive year of increases. African-Americans saw an increase from 24.7 percent to 25.8 percent, while poor Hispanics jumped from 23.2 percent to 25.3 percent. Shockingly, the number of Americans living fifty percent below poverty level is at an all-time high of 6.3 percent of the country. That’s a total of 19 million people trying to get by on $10,977 annual income for a family of four.

It’s a full-fledged crisis and groups on the left are making every effort to marshall sufficient grassroots pressure to force the administration to rise to the occasion. Organizers are hoping the events on October 2 will herald the emergence of a new political force that can fill the void in representing the growing needs of larger and larger segments of the populace and wrest the fake populist mantle away from the Tea Partiers and Glenn Beck.

These words from Campus Progress’ Sara Haile-Mariam eloquently explain what the October 2 march represents.

And this video with AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker lucidly details the goals of the new  movement.

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Bank of America halts foreclosures in 23 states

Working people have been raped by Wall Street, the Banks and the Corporations who have all engaged in con games and other sneaky criminal or at the very least highly unethical practices.  It makes me feel so good that these scum buckets and their shady practices are finally being exposed.

From Raw Story:

By The Associated Press
Saturday, October 2nd, 2010 — 10:22 am

Employee: Bank signed foreclosure papers for thousands of homeowners without any review

Bank of America is delaying foreclosures in 23 states as it examines whether it rushed the foreclosure process for thousands of homeowners without reading the documents.

The move adds the nation’s largest bank to a growing list of mortgage companies whose employees signed documents in foreclosure cases without verifying the information in them.

Bank of America isn’t able to estimate how many homeowners’ cases will be affected, Dan Frahm, a spokesman for the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, said Friday. He said the bank plans to resubmit corrected documents within several weeks.

Two other companies, Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage unit and JPMorgan Chase, have halted tens of thousands of foreclosure cases after similar problems became public.

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Standing Against the Criminalization of Sex Work

Sex Work is almost a forbidden topic on many Transsexual and Transgender mailing lists and blogs.  Bullied from the womb, all too often deprived of education and opportunities as well as the throwaway and run away kids there are many transsexual and transgender people who turn to sex work for survival.

Too often it seems as though the only TS/TG people we hear are white and middle class, privileged with both an education and profession that is far enough up the food chain that they are protected by anti-discrimination laws.  Indeed there are some who set a certain level of economic success and privilege as one of the borders regarding who is or is not a “classic transsexual/HBS”.

The annual Day of Remembrance is approaching.  Even though many murdered TS/TG people are both people of color or working class  white and sex workers both the class issues and the fact they were sex workers is glossed over.

Sex work is something people are supposed to be ashamed of.  Sex workers are deemed criminal and immoral for seeking the best price possible for their labor, while employers who fail to provide a living wage or health insurance; who use part time workers to avoid paying benefits are admirable hard headed businessmen.

Yes sex work is nasty and dangerous.  It is humiliating and degrading in ways that are all to common for much employment for those at the lower end of the working class socio-economic level.

The laws against sex work though only compound the problems faced by sex workers.  Those laws tend to make sex workers “perfect victims” for those men seeking out some one to murder for the thrill of committing murder.  For those who enjoy video games like “Grand Theft Auto” where one can beat a sex worker to death and who want to take it to the next level.

Too many TS/TG sisters are sex workers because that is the only way they can survive.  Down by law from the cradle to the grave. Designated as not quite human by sanctimonious closet case preachers looking for a scapegoat to beat up on while conning their stupid followers in to giving them money sex work equals survival.

Therefore I was glad to see the DC Trans Coalition take a stand regarding the criminalization of sex work.

From The DC Trans Coalition:

October 1, 2010

We welcome help and support from our allies as we build upon our advocacy efforts. In these tough economic times, we need to develop real remedies designed to curb the persecution and violence that far too many sex workers experience when trying to make ends meet. The time to stand up for the most vulnerable among us is now. To learn more about how you can help support our work, please be sure to contact us at

by dctranscoalition

It is our hope that the incoming Gray Administration will rethink these failed policing strategies. We look forward to meeting with him to discuss possible alternatives. We need jobs not raids; we need fair wages and labor standards not “Prostitution Free Zones.” Whether individuals chose it freely or not, sex work is real work and will continue to be an industry for those with limited employment options.

This op-ed piece was written by DC Trans Coalition member Sadie-Ryanne Baker, on behalf of and with help from the DCTC organizing collective, in response to troubling recent events.

Standing Against Criminalization

DC government must rethink impact on marginalized communities of policing sex work

On the weekend of September 25th 2010, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) raided a hotel in Northwest in a prostitution-related sting. After initial witness reports that dozens were detained, MPD has confirmed that six arrests were made on charges of soliciting prostitution.

Every week, the DC Trans Coalition receives numerous complaints involving police harassment. Many of these reports come from transgender, transsexual or gender-non-conforming (hereafter trans) individuals, especially trans women of color, who are involved in, or believed to be involved in, sex work.  Due to transphobic and racist police bias, many trans women are harassed and falsely arrested for sex work (the crime of “walking while trans”) while simply interacting in their own communities.

Whether they are sex workers or not, however, is beside the point. No one deserves the degree of persecution and violence these individuals face. While most survivors of policing abuses are unwilling or unable to file formal complaints, we continue to receive a consistently high volume of contacts from individuals who have been assaulted and/or verbally ridiculed by police. Many are treated inhumanely while in custody, despite MPD’s own General Order prohibiting such abuse. A soon-to-be-released study by the National Center for Transgender Equality notes that 71% of trans respondents had experienced harassment and disrespectful treatment by police officers and 45% were uncomfortable reporting crimes to police. After the most recent raid, DCTC was approached for advice from trans community members who are fearing for their own safety in the face of similar sweeping police actions. No one should have to live with this fear.

Due to discrimination, trans people are more likely to experience poverty, housing instability and un(der)employment than cisgender (non-trans) people. Many engage in criminalized activities, including sex work, in order to survive.  We are disturbed and frustrated that the solution most often employed by the DC government is to over-police and to arrest our community members rather than connecting these individuals to jobs, services and public assistance.

Since sex work is illegal, sex workers are denied protection with basic labor practices and human rights standards. If attacked or assaulted by a client, there is often no legal recourse. Marginalized groups such as trans women are among the most vulnerable. This becomes terrifyingly clear when we gather annually for the Trans Day of Remembrance. The list of murder victims heavily features sex workers, most of whom are trans women of color.

Rather than protecting these individuals from violence, many police actions only perpetuate violence. After incarceration, and the establishment of a criminal record, these individuals face the nearly impossible challenge of finding a ‘legal’ job. Instead, they are likely to find themselves back in the sex work industry. At the bottom of the social ladder, marginalized communities such as trans women of color are the worst hit by this cycle of jail and poverty. A preliminary glance at MPD’s arrest records, which we recently obtained from MPD via a Freedom of Information Act request, suggests that a trans woman is far more likely to be arrested for indecent sexual proposal than a cisgender person.

All LGBTQ people should be concerned when the state attempts to enforce morality. Instead of allowing the government to target sex workers as criminals, we must solve the underlying issues of racism, transphobia and poverty. Raids like the one conducted by MPD last week only perpetuate unsafe working conditions and further demonize sex workers, forcing sex workers out of the safety of the private room and into the dimly lit and significantly more dangerous public streets.

Most Americans Don’t Believe Hard Work Can Get You Rich

From The Rasmussen Reports:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Americans appear to be growing even more pessimistic about the job market and about their chances for getting ahead.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 26% of Adults believe it’s still possible for just about anyone in America to work hard and get rich.  That’s the lowest level measured since regular tracking on the question began in January of last year, down from 33% at that time. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Fifty-eight percent (58%) do not think a good work ethic will pay off, while 16% more are not sure.

However, a plurality of all Americans (46%) still feel it’s possible for anyone in the United States to work their way out of poverty. But that finding, too, represents the lowest level of confidence measured in nearly two years of tracking. Thirty-seven percent (37%) disagree and say it’s not possible to work your way out of poverty.  Another 17% are undecided.

But only 41% say it’s possible for anyone who really wants work to even find a job.  Forty-five percent (45%) do not think finding work is that easy.  Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided.  Confidence that jobs are available has been falling since the beginning of last year.

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