Chicago police clash with Nato summit protesters

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/21/chicago-police-nato-summit-protesters

Arrests and injuries as thousands march on downtown area of the city, where 51 world leaders are meeting


guardian.co.uk, Monday 21 May 2012

The main anti-war march at the Chicago Nato summit was marred by clashes between police and protesters, with several people injured and 45 arrests.

Thousands of people marched towards McCormick Place in the downtown area of the city, where 51 world leaders are meeting for the two-day summit.

However, the demonstration on Sunday ended in ugly scenes as police used batons to control the crowd. The violence came as a fifth person was charged with terrorism-related offences in in relation to alleged plots to disrupt the summit.

Sunday’s demonstration was the largest anti-war protest so far, after days of marches and protests in the city centre.

Gathering at Grant Park, thousands of protesters set off south towards the site of the summit, led by around 20 Iraq veterans against the war.

Arriving two blocks west of McCormick Place, the veterans, including Scott Olsen, the protester injured in Occupy Oakland demonstrations in October, staged a symbolic “returning” of their medals, tossing them in the direction of the sprawling conference space.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/21/chicago-police-nato-summit-protesters

How Credit Collectors Have Reinvented the Debtors’ Prison

From New Deal 2.0:  http://www.newdeal20.org/2011/12/14/how-credit-collectors-have-reinvented-the-debtors-prison-67301/

by Mike Konczal
Wednesday, 12/14/2011

ew tactics have an old ring to them and low-income debtors are falling prey.

NPR just ran a story called “Unpaid Bills Land Some Debtors Behind Bars.” As they report, ”Here’s how it happens: A company will often sell off its debt to a collection agency, generally called a creditor. That creditor files a lawsuit against the debtor requiring a court appearance. A notice to appear in court is supposed to be given to the debtor. If they fail to show up, a warrant is issued for their arrest.” Marie Diamond has more.

This is increasingly common across the country. My colleagues Matt Stoller and Bryce Covert have both written about debtors being jailed for failure to appear in court. Debtors’ prisons are illegal, and some point out that this is really jail for a summons problem, not a payment. But I haven’t had a full vision of the practice until I read this excellent working paper by Lea Shepherd of Loyola Chicago law school, “Creditors Contempt” (h/t creditslips). Beyond laying out the problems with the current system, which gives a disproportionate amount of the coercive powers of the state to creditors, this paper also has implications for another topic I’m interested in — the class bias of the submerged state.

The key here is something called in personam debt collection remedies. In an agrarian economy, it was relatively straight forward for creditors to order a sheriff to seize the property of a debtor. In rem actions, where a sheriff would go and seize property, would work just fine. But this became harder to do as time went on.

The debt collection market evolved in personam debt collection remedies. This in personam action has two goals: discovery and collection. The court orders the debtor to disclose information about his property, location of his assets, etc. to help creditors track down those assets. Then the court orders certain payments to be made, which allows for collection. This court order is enforced through the court’s authority to hold debtors in contempt, which in turn is enforced through threats of imprisonment. Depending on the jurisdiction, contempt charges can be made against either the failure to show up for the discovery process or the failure to stick to the collection ordered.

Continue reading at:   http://www.newdeal20.org/2011/12/14/how-credit-collectors-have-reinvented-the-debtors-prison-67301/

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Kids Struggle on the Streets

From ABC NEWS:    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/national-report-16-million-youth-homeless-experts-40/story?id=15147566&singlePage=true#.TuflPPLrHA6

Dec. 13, 2011
Tiffany “LIFE” Cocco has been homeless for seven years, living on park benches, stoops and New York City’s A train.

Her parents died of AIDS in the 1980s and so Cocco was raised by an aunt and uncle who disapproved of how she dressed and led her life — as a lesbian.

“I was kicked out of the house at 15,” said Cocco, a poet whose chosen middle name means “literary, intelligent, forward, engaged.”

She dropped out of high school after being bullied, rebelled and was forced to keep her sexuality a secret. Cocco slipped into a depression so deep she nearly killed herself on an overdose of pain killers, NyQuil and Tylenol PM.

“I didn’t trust anyone at all,” said Cocco, who is now 24. “I tried to tell myself I was strong, but deep down inside I was falling apart.”

A report released this week by the National Center on Family Homelessness, “America’s Youngest Outcasts,” finds one in 45 American children 18 and under — 1.6 million — live on the street, in homeless shelters, motels or with other families last year.

Continue reading at:   http://abcnews.go.com/Health/national-report-16-million-youth-homeless-experts-40/story?id=15147566&singlePage=true#.TuflPPLrHA6

Posted in Economic Issues, Employment, Gay, Homelessness, Kids, Lesbian, LGBT/T, Poverty. Comments Off on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Kids Struggle on the Streets

Report: Child Homelessness Up 33% in 3 Years

From Reader Supported News:  http://www.readersupportednews.org/news-section2/320-80/8889-report-child-homelessness-up-33-in-3-years

By Marisol Bello, USA Today
13 December 11

One in 45 children in the USA – 1.6 million children – were living on the street, in homeless shelters or motels, or doubled up with other families last year, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness.

The numbers represent a 33% increase from 2007, when there were 1.2 million homeless children, according to a report the center is releasing Tuesday.

“This is an absurdly high number,” says Ellen Bassuk, president of the center. “What we have new in 2010 is the effects of a man-made disaster caused by the economic recession. … We are seeing extreme budget cuts, foreclosures and a lack of affordable housing.”

The report paints a bleaker picture than one by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which nonetheless reported a 28% increase in homeless families, from 131,000 in 2007 to 168,000 in 2010.

Dennis Culhane, a University of Pennsylvania professor of social policy, says HUD’s numbers are much smaller because they count only families living on the street or in emergency shelters.

Continue reading at:   http://www.readersupportednews.org/news-section2/320-80/8889-report-child-homelessness-up-33-in-3-years

Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Classism, Economic Issues, Homelessness, Poverty, Social Justice, Workers. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Report: Child Homelessness Up 33% in 3 Years

Bitter Tales from the Massive White Underclass in Joe Bageant’s “Redneck” Memoir

I write more about class than most LGBT/T folks do.  That’s because I grew up poor and working class.  Awareness of my working class roots is why I am a leftist.

When I come across a book that relates to the class structure and class oppression, well that’s a book I’m going to want to read.  Joe Bageant’s book isn’t out yet here in the US and the link on Alternet takes you to Amazon UK.

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/books/148237/bitter_tales_from_the_massive_white_underclass_in_joe_bageant%27s_%22redneck%22_memoir/

“Economic, political, and social culture in America is staggering under the sheer weight of its white underclass, which now numbers some sixty million.”
September 20, 2010 |

The following is an excerpt from the introduction of Joe Bageant’s new book Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir (Portobello Press, 2010).

The United States has always maintained a white underclass — citizens whose role in the greater scheme of things has been to cushion national economic shocks through the disposability of their labor, with occasional time off to serve as bullet magnets in defense of the Empire. Until the post-World War II era, the existence of such an underclass was widely acknowledged. During the U.S. Civil War, for instance, many northern abolitionists also called for the liberation of ‘four million miserable white southerners held in bondage by the wealthy planter class’. Planter elites, who often held several large plantations which, together, constituted much or most of a county’s economy, saw to it that poor whites got no schools, money, or political power. Poll taxes and literacy requirements kept white subsistence farmers and poor laborers from entering voting booths. Often accounting for up to 70 per cent of many deep-southern counties, they could not vote, and thus could never challenge the status quo.

Today, almost nobody in the social sciences seems willing to touch the subject of America’s large white underclass; or, being firmly placed in the true middle class themselves, can even agree that such a thing exists. Apparently, you can’t smell the rabble from the putting green.

Public discussion of this class remains off limits, deemed hyperbole and the stuff of dangerous radical leftists. And besides, as everyone agrees, white people cannot be an underclass. We’re the majority, dammit. You must be at least one shade darker than a paper bag to officially qualify as a member of any underclass. The middle and upper classes generally agree, openly or tacitly, that white Americans have always had an advantage (which has certainly been the middle- and upper-class experience). Thus, in politically correct circles, either liberal or conservative, the term ‘white underclass’ is an oxymoron. Sure, there are working-poor whites, but not that many, and definitely not enough to be called a white underclass, much less an American peasantry.

Economic, political, and social culture in America is staggering under the sheer weight of its white underclass, which now numbers some sixty million. Generally unable to read at a functional level, they are easily manipulated by corporate-political interests to vote against advances in health and education, and even more easily mustered in support of any proposed military conflict, aggressive or otherwise. One-third of their children are born out of wedlock, and are unemployable by any contemporary industrialized-world standard. Even if we were to bring back their jobs from China and elsewhere — a damned unlikely scenario — they would be competing at a wage scale that would not meet even their basic needs. Low skilled, and with little understanding of the world beyond either what is presented to them by kitschy and simplistic television, movie, and other media entertainments, or their experience as armed grunts in foreign combat, the future of the white underclass not only looks grim, but permanent.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/books/148237/bitter_tales_from_the_massive_white_underclass_in_joe_bageant%27s_%22redneck%22_memoir/

Posted in Class War, Discrimination, Economic Issues, Employment, Poverty. Comments Off on Bitter Tales from the Massive White Underclass in Joe Bageant’s “Redneck” Memoir

American Fascism’s Continuing Assault on ‘Useless Eaters’: Phyllis Schlafly Smears ‘Unmarried Moms’ Receiving Unemployment Benefits

From Anti-Fascist Encyclopedia: http://www.antifascistencyclopedia.com/allposts/american-fascisms-continuing-assault-on-useless-eaters-phyllis-schlafly-smears-unmarried-moms-with-unemployment-insurance

By Charlie Eisenhood
Think Progress | Jul 30th, 2010

schlafly American Fascism’s Continuing Assault on ‘Useless Eaters’: Phyllis Schlafly Smears ‘Unmarried Moms’ Receiving Unemployment Benefits

Over the past two months, many Republican pundits and members of Congress have been calling for the end of unemployment benefit extensions for the millions of Americans who can’t find work. Meanwhile, GOP Senators held the unemployment insurance (UI) extension bill hostage for weeks as 2.5 million Americans were left without the “desperately needed lifeline” of UI benefits. Even as five workers fight for every one job opening, Republicans are still calling the unemployed “spoiled” and suggesting that blocking benefits is fine because it only affects a “small amount of people.”

Last week at a fundraiser for Michigan GOP congressional candidate Rocky Raczowski, conservative pundit Phyllis Schlafly added her voice to the chorus crying out against government assistance for the poor or unemployed:

One of the things Obama’s been doing is deliberately trying to increase the percentage of our population that is dependent on government for your living. For example, do you know what was the second biggest demographic group that voted for Obama? Obviously the blacks were the biggest demographic, y’all know what was the second biggest? Unmarried women. 70% of unmarried women voted for Obama. And this is because when you kick your husband out, you’ve got to have Big Brother Government to be your provider. And they know that. They’ve admitted it. And they have all kinds of bills to continue to subsidize illegitimacy…

The Obama administration wants to continue to subsidize this group because they know they are Democratic votes.

Schlafly’s argument is specious. She talks about “subsidizing illegitimacy,” but not all single women are mothers. Less than 20 percent are mothers to young children. The rest include millions of widows, millions of young never-married women, and plenty in between — some of whom have kids, but most of whom do not.

Continue reading at:  http://www.antifascistencyclopedia.com/allposts/american-fascisms-continuing-assault-on-useless-eaters-phyllis-schlafly-smears-unmarried-moms-with-unemployment-insurance

Desert Religions Run Amok

Religion, all religion oppresses using ignorance and superstition to perpetuate cruelty upon cruelty.

Islamic extremists like those asserting Sharia Law and the Taliban are some of the worst of the worst.

I am going to quote from the following post on another blog:  http://momento24.com/en/2010/07/31/image-of-an-afghan-woman-shattered-the-world/

Trigger Warning!!! Do not click on this link if you are easily disturbed by photographs of Atrocities

Text from site:

The Time published in its cover a surprising and disturbing picture, a portrait of Aisha, a young Afghan woman of 18 years old, who was convicted by a Taliban commander to cut off her nose and ears for not following the rules of her community.

Aisha posed for the photo because she wants “the world to see the effect of the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan’s women, many of which resurfaced in recent years.”

The photograph is accompanied by a solid story by Baker Aryn about how “Afghan women have embraced the freedoms that have come from the defeat of the Taliban and how they fear a resurgence of them.”

The journalist from The Time said he “thought a lot about whether to put this picture on the cover of The Time. First, he wanted to make sure the safety of Aisha and to ensure that she understands why she would be at the cover. She knows that she may become a symbol of Afghan women who had had to pay for the Taliban’s repressive ideology.” It was also confirmed that she is being kept in a secret and protected place by armed guards and sponsored by the NGO Women for Women of Afghanistan. “

Continued at:  http://momento24.com/en/2010/07/31/image-of-an-afghan-woman-shattered-the-world/

By The Way…  It was St. Ronnie Reagan who armed the Taliban and helped them come to power.  Including initially supplying them with the Stinger missiles that are now shooting down our helicopters and killing our military personnel.

No gods, No masters

Posted in Hate Crimes, Human Rights, Islamo-Fascism, Poverty, Rape, Religion, Social Justice, Uncategorized. Comments Off on Desert Religions Run Amok