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

UK to Use Slave Labor in Hospitals

From Gaia Health:  http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2012-05-21/uk-to-use-slave-labor-in-hospitals/

by Heidi Stevenson
May 21, 2012

The next time you’re in a hospital, how would you like to have your food brought to you by a slave laborer? If you’re in the UK, you may find out, because slave labor has already been trialed in one hospital, and is about to become standard practice there.

The Guardian reports that the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust (SWBHT), a part of the National Health Service (NHS) piloted the program with six unemployed people in consultation with the union. The trust stated that the type of work included:

… general tidying, welcoming visitors, serving drinks to patients, running errands, reading to patients and assisting with feeding patients.

… and justifies it with the statement:

We are situated in a deprived area with high unemployment and we think it is important to help get people back into work. The project gave participants the opportunity to gain confidence, training and experience, under supervision.

So why don’t they simply hire them? You know, the old-fashioned way of getting employees.

Continue reading at:  http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2012-05-21/uk-to-use-slave-labor-in-hospitals/


Posted in Civil Rights, Class War, Corporate Abuse, Depression, Economic Issues, Employment, Fascism, Police State, Social Justice. Comments Off on UK to Use Slave Labor in Hospitals

Die-In tonight; Tomorrow is International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers

From Feministe: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/12/16/die-in-tonight-tomorrow-is-international-day-to-end-violence-against-sex-workers/

by Clarisse Thorn
on 12.16.2011

Reposted with Permission

Tomorrow is the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers. For some 2011 event locations, click here.

Sex Worker Activists, Allies and You has a bunch of great links and 101 materials about sex workers’ rights.

Here in Chicago, the Sex Workers Outreach Project is holding a Die-In tonight and another event tomorrow at the best feminist site ever, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum:

“STOP SHAMING US TO DEATH”
Die-in Action for the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Hosted by: Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Chicago
When: Friday, December 16, 2011 at 11:45 AM
Where: 18th and State Street, in front of the Chicago Police Department in the South Loop
Who: Current & former sex workers, allies, friends, families, and communities.

Join SWOP-Chicago in a die-in action to protest violence committed against sex workers

Chicago — On December 16th, sex workers and their allies in the Chicago area will gather at the Chicago Police Department for a “die-in” action. Participants will fall to the ground “dead” holding signs bearing our messages. Through this action, we hope to raise awareness of the violence committed against sex workers and other marginalized groups. Law enforcement, those whose job it is to “serve and protect,” often either ignores violence committed against these groups, or is a direct perpetrator. IT IS TIME FOR THIS VIOLENCE TO STOP.

This event is part of the annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. On the following day, Saturday, December 17th, sex workers and their allies will gather at vigils around the world to commemorate the annual Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, honoring sex workers who have died at the hands of violent crimes, and declaring an end to all violence against sex workers.

PLEASE JOIN US AT THIS IMPORTANT EVENT! And don’t forget to dress appropriately for the weather conditions!

And here’s the info about the Saturday December 17 event.

Feel free to link to your own posts about sex work, the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers, and relevant events in the comments.

Posted in Civil Rights, Economic Issues, Feminist, Human Rights, Murders, Police Abuse, Rape, Sex Workers, Sexual Assault, Social Justice, Violence. Comments Off on Die-In tonight; Tomorrow is International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers

Woman files lawsuit because she can’t harass transgender customers

It is a shame that the first thing one thinks when someone proclaims themselves to be a “Christian” is, “There stands a delusional person who is a bigot and a compulsive liar.”

Particularly when they describe themselves as born again, or “religious”.  Get ready for the bigoted lies and bullshit to start flowing.

I’m tired of Christo-Fascist bullying of business that try to be fair and respect the rights and dignity of minorities.

See first the original story:  Woman files lawsuit because she can’t harass transgender customers

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:  http://holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com/2011/12/mat-staver-liberty-counsel-doubles-down.html

Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel doubles down on implausible story against Macy’s

By Alvin McEwen
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reposted with permission

As Mat Staver and the Liberty Counsel continue milk the case of the former Macy’s employee who was fired for harassing a transgender customer, one has to wonder are they reading their own press.

Yesterday, I pointed out how Staver and the employee, Natalie Johnson, conducted several interviews in which they tried to whitewash the fact that Johnson’s actions violated Macy’s policy and that concerns about “religious liberty” and “men in women’s changing rooms” were a pitiful dodges.

I even hinted that the Liberty Counsel was “conjuring up” a story of an “anonymous” Macy’s employee troubled by the policy.

But in an interview with the phony news service One News Now today, Staver seems to be sticking to that story and making up new ones:

Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, now tells OneNewsNow that an employee of another store has told him she has persistent problems keeping men out of the women’s fitting room.

However, that’s not exactly what the Liberty Counsel said yesterday on its blog:

The employee said she constantly has to ask men to leave the women’s fitting rooms.

It may seem like an insignificant jump from “asking men to leave women’s fitting rooms” to “having persistent problems keeping men out of women’s fitting rooms,” but this jump only elucidates the questions I asked yesterday.

Those questions were:

Were these transgender women, rather than men accompanying their loved ones? These are two totally different situations.

And if these were transgender women, what are the odds of this employee having the ability to violate company policy without losing her job? If this woman had been truly asking transgender women to leave the fitting rooms, we would be hearing about this before now.

If this anonymous employee has had  “persistent problems” with transgender customers, then that would mean there was in fact conflict between her and those customers. And if this is the case, I refuse to believe that several transgender women in different cases would allow themselves to be disrespected and not complain, especially when the store policy is in their favor.

How is this woman continuing to keep her job in light of this possibility? Or does this woman even exist?

Then Staver tries to make it seem that there is a groundswell of negative reactions to Macy’s policy:

According to Liberty Counsel, the public is reacting.

“Consistently the people of America are saying that they will not shop at Macy’s,” explains Staver. “They’re tearing up their Macy’s credit cards, they’re sending back their Macy’s gift cards, they say that they will not shop at Macy’s — and this is a consistent response that we’re seeing from the public around the country.”

The Liberty Counsel founder says customers are “literally outraged and shocked” at Macy’s policy.

Staver conveniently doesn’t provide proof of this claim, just like neither he nor the Liberty Counsel has provided proof of the existence of the anonymous Macy’s employee.

To reiterate, I smell a rat.

Email Macy’s and send the company your support for standing up for our rights and dignity. And most of all, tell Macy’s to not back down. 

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/

The coming GOP austerity-induced economic cliff dive

From Salon: http://www.salon.com/2011/12/13/the_coming_gopausterity_induced_economic_cliff_dive/

A perfect recipe for an election year: Government spending cuts boost unemployment and freeze the economy

By Andrew Leonard
Tuesday, Dec 13, 2011

The Black Friday spending spree turns out not to have been so great, after all. The rate of retail sales growth in November actually slowed down. But no matter, private economic forecasters are still giddily revising their estimates for economic growth in the fourth quarter upwards. If they’re right, the current quarter is experiencing the fastest economic growth in well over a year.

But then what happens? According to a dispiriting Goldman Sachs research report relayed by Jared Bernstein, there’s a big Christmas hangover coming. The economy, says Goldman Sachs, is about to flatline again. Even worse, their forecast has unemployment rising throughout all of next year.

Goldman Sachs cites a likely recession in Europe as one reason for the downbeat assessment. But the policies enacted by the U.S. government are equally important.

Second, we expect the pace of fiscal restraint to pick up in early 2012. We estimate that fiscal policy at the federal, state and local level subtracted about half a percentage point from real GDP growth in the middle of 2011, but we expect this drag to increase to around 1 percentage point in early 2012. Even this assumes an extension of the temporary payroll tax cut currently scheduled to expire at end-2011. If it lapses, there would be an additional hit of one-half to three-quarters of a percentage point to GDP growth in early 2012.

Continue reading at:    http://www.salon.com/2011/12/13/the_coming_gopausterity_induced_economic_cliff_dive/

IMF slashes growth forecast for Greece

From The Guardian UK:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/dec/13/imf-slashes-greek-growth-forecast

MF report likely to fan financial market fears over debt default as Greece struggles to cope with austerity and recession

, economics editor, and in Athens
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 13 December 2011

The International Monetary Fund slashed its growth forecasts for Greece and warned that ever-deepening recession was making it harder for the debt-ridden country to meet the tough deficit reduction targets under its austerity programme.

In a report likely to fan financial market concerns about a possible debt default, the regular health check by staff at the Washington-based Fund said the situation in Greece had “taken a turn for the worse”.

Poul Thomsen, deputy director of the IMF‘s European department and its mission chief to Greece, said: “We have revised growth down significantly to -6% in 2011 and -3% in 2012. We expected 2011 to be an inflection point when the recession bottomed out, followed by a slow recovery. But the economy is continuing to trend downwards. The hoped for improvement in market sentiment and in the investment climate has not materialised.”

The IMF, together with the European Union and the European Central Bank has imposed tough conditions on Greece as the price of financial support that has allowed the government in Athens to continue paying its bills. In the fifth report carried out since the start of the crisis 18 months ago, IMF officials suggested that the austerity programme might need to be eased in view of the damage being caused to the economy by the recession.

“Discussions [at the IMF] focused on recalibrating the programme’s macroeconomic framework and adapting the implementation of reform and adjustment policies to an appropriate and feasible pace.”

Continue reading at:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/dec/13/imf-slashes-greek-growth-forecast

Posted in Anti-Globalization, Economic Issues, Globalization, Social Justice. Tags: , . Comments Off on IMF slashes growth forecast for Greece