Paul Simon and "Homeless."
Consider this an open thread...
Paul Simon and "Homeless."
Consider this an open thread...
The National Park Service may have clarified where Occupy Wall Street protesters may occupy, a "First Amendment Area" on the steps.
There was a stand-off earlier between the OccupyWall Street protesters and the NYPD. The NYPD threatened them with arrest but Federal Park Police informed them of the rights of the protesters to remain. Then the NYPD shut down Wall Street and cut-off hundreds of marchers and pedestrians from twenty-five protesters who stood their ground
Occupy Wall Street had been sleeping on Wall Street last week and part of this week, the National Park Service moved to barricade the protesters. After designating the "First Amendment Area," the NPS seems to be trying to clarify things. Amelia H.M. Tweeted a photograph of the new rules on the steps. For demonstrations and "1st Amendment Area," a maximum limit of 75 people. Then there's this "At 6 pm a new rule at Federal Hall prevents noise over 60 decibels, which according to this guideline would fall in the range of a "normal conversation" at three feet away.
It also seems that if there are more than 25 protesters on the steps, Occupy will be required to have a permit. Or maybe the NYPD will be able to arrest them then? The protesters are now making it work like a nightclub, by having one protester enter the "Free Speech Cage" when one exits.
The National Park Service police are still on the steps of Federal Hall at this moment, which also happens to be where the very first Congress met and wrote the Bill of Rights. The NYPD, along with a few white shirts, are still hanging around. Seems their determined to harass the protesters as much as possible. Ordering items moved off of the sidewalk, and someone on the stream said that if you set something down to be sure and watch it, as they NYPD will try to throw "unattended" items away. There goes a sleeping bag now...
The AFL-CIO launched a new website on Thursday tracking the excessive pay that corporate CEOs in the United States get and the negative effects the trend has on the economy and working families. CEO Pay and the 99 Percent is loaded with information, much of it presented in brilliant infographics that are optimized to be shared on social media networks. The problem, according to the website, is clear:
The ratio of CEO-to-worker pay between CEOs of the S&P 500 Index companies and U.S. workers widened to 380 times in 2011 from 343 times in 2010. Back in 1980, the average large company CEO only received 42 times the average worker's pay.
CEOs supposedly deserve all this money for increasing shareholder value. However, while the average CEO pay increased 13.9 percent at S&P 500 Index companies in 2011, the S&P 500 Index ended the year at the same level as it started.
This double-digit increase in average CEO pay for the second consecutive year shows just how disconnected the top 1 percent is from the 99 percent. In 2011, average wages increased just 2.8 percent and average worker pay totaled $34,053.
Both workers and shareholders have suffered over the previous decade. On Dec. 31, 2010, the S&P 500 Index closed 19 percent below its high on March 24, 2000. U.S. median household income fell $3,719 between 2000 and 2010.
Runaway CEO pay is one reason why income inequality is growing in the United States. A Congressional Budget Office report found that inequality has risen dramatically, with the top 1 percent receiving most of the income growth between 1979 and 2007.
What's more, a new study by economist Emmanuel Saez at the University of California shows that in 2010—the first year of the economy's recovery from the Great Recession—the top 1 percent captured 93 percent of the growth in income.
The site allows you to search for CEO pay by industry or state and shows the 100 highest paid CEOs, including the top 5:
1. Apple Inc. CEO Timothy D. Cook, who made $377,996,537 in 2011
2. Oracle Corp., Lawrence J. Ellison, $77,556,015
3. Lyondellbasell Industries, James L. Gallogly, $77,061,964
4. CBS, Leslie Moonves, $57,729,020
5. Gamco Investors Inc., Mario J. Gabelli, $56,608,736
Among the many other pages of information on the site:
Most importantly, the site offers visitors a way to take action, asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to propose new rules to increase transparency in CEO and worker pay.
There is also an Executive Paywatch page on Pinterest.
I've written about some foreclosures fights in Minnesota in recent weeks, and this video is an update on the progress of those actions.
Filmmaker Peter Leeman's original subjects approached Occupy Minneapolis and asked for help with their struggle. Occupy Homes MN, a sub-section of Occupy Minneapolis that deals exclusively with protecting homeowners, took up the cause of these folk and organized a direct action.
In this video, dozens of people march to the house of U.S. Bank CEO Richard Davis to demand justice for homeowners. Its inspiring to see this call for US Bank to help their own clients pay their mortgage and keep their houses. "We bailed them out with our tax dollars when they were in trouble at the start of the housing crisis they created," said Monique White, who was featured in "Monique's Story". "Now we need them to work with us to help stabilize our communities, instead of tearing them apart."
Seven United Nations observers have been deployed in Syria to ensure compliance with a brokered ceasefire that the government has largely failed to uphold, a spokesman for U.N. envoy Kofi Annan said Friday. The rest of an advanced team of about 30 unarmed monitors is expected in the coming days. Meanwhile, shelling and gunfire resumed in some neighborhoods in the city of Homs, opposition activists said, as world leaders sought tough sanctions against the regime over its failure to fully implement the peace plan.
A new video released by Occupy High has announced a May 1st "Walkout" as they stand in solidarity with the Occupy movement and workers everywhere.
Here is the text of a letter addressed to the city of New York that was read aloud in the video:
Dear New York City,
We, the students of public education, are here to inform you about the injustice that is taking place in our school system:
* The privatization of our school system
* The budget cuts
* Lack of appropriate leadership
* Malicious closings/phasing out of schools against the communities’ wishes.
* Cell phone policies
* Overcrowded classes & abuse of SAFE rooms
* Over policing of our schools and the criminalization of our youth
We feel that these issues are setting our students up for failure, and we DEMAND a change! We believe that trying to control our schools is just another symptom of the blatant racism in our country similar to the government’s response to the senseless killing of Trayvon Martin.
Because of this, our first action will be a mass student walkout on May 1st at 12pm to Fort Greene Park. We will be holding teach-ins, teen summits & other peaceful events.
Please add your name to our letter and support us in our struggle for our education.
Student Leadership Paul Robeson HS
FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/192822994163133/
More rich people getting richer during the economy that's crushing the majority of us:
Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein's compensation increased 14.5 percent to $16.2 million in 2011 despite a sharp decline in profits and share price during the year, leaving the bank open to more attacks on its pay policies.
Others at Goldman Sachs weren't so lucky. Since 2011, the financial giant has terminated at least 3,500 employees as well as reduced pay of others to cut expenses.
Yet again, it's time to ask Republican lawmakers "Where are the millionaire job creators?" We go through this exercise in redundancy knowing full well that "Millionaire job creators are like unicorns, they are impossible to find and don't exist." Hopefully each time any of us asks about the GOP's imaginary job creators, a few more voters will realize that Republicans don't have a clue about how to create jobs, and without jobs the economy certainly won't improve for the majority of Americans.
So...what's everyone got planned for this beautiful weekend?
Friday, April 20, 11am
Foreclosure Auction Blockade
Queens Civil Supreme Court, 88-11 Sutphin Blvd, Room 25
Protect the Queens communities most affected by the vulture profit-making inherent to foreclosure auctions.
Friday, April 20th, 2pm
Weekly Wall Street Marches
Every Friday Occupy Wall Street converges in the streets for Spring Training marches from Liberty Square to Wall Street in preparation for May Day, followed by a community pot-luck dinner! Check out this Spring Training video for more on the fun we have every week.
Saturday, April 21, 2pm
Weekly Occupy Wall Street Orientations
The Gandhi statue in the southwest corner of Union Square
Learn more about how to get involved with Occupy. Can’t make it? Email Tascha and the rest of the crew at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Sunday, April 22, 4pm
Occupy Earth Day
BP Gas Station at 300 Lafayette st.
Celebrate Earth Day Occupy-style and call for “System Change Not Climate Change!” The future we are fighting for will be won in the streets.
Wednesday, April 25th, 4pm
1T Day National Day of Action Against Student Debt
Meet at Union Square
On April 25 the total amount of student loan debt in the U.S. is due to top 1 trillion dollars, and we will march from Union Square to Wall Street to mark this historic day. Participants include Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir, the Plus Brigades, Billionaires for Debt, and other OWS performers.
Wednesday, April 25, 11am
ACT UP and OCCUPY! 25th Anniversary Action
City Hall (Broadway and Murray St)
ACT UP is calling for a small tax (0.05%) on Wall Street transactions and speculative trades in order to raise the money needed to end the global AIDS epidemic and provide universal healthcare in the US. At 11am meet at City Hall for an important demonstration and march that ends on Wall St.
Tuesday, May 1
A Day Without the 99%: May Day 2012
On May 1st we will take the streets to reclaim our jobs, our communities, our lives. Occupy Wall Street stands in solidarity with the calls for a General Strike, a Day Without the 99%, and more! There will be actions throughout the day, including a 4 p.m. rally at Union Square that culminates with a march to Wall Street at 5:30 p.m. Click here for the full May Day schedule. Text “@maydayaction” to 23559 for day-of text updates on ongoing events, and if you would like to be added to the announcement and / or discussion listserv, or have any questions in general, please contact email@example.com.
In this video, a member of Occupy Denver films a Denver Health Department van stopping in front of the Occupy encampment and dropping off a group of people believed to be mental health patients, and many appearing to be homeless.
It does seem highly improper to release patients just exiting mental healthcare into a camp of activists rather than make arrangements for more stable, permanent housing without fear of police raids and arrests.
From Occupy Denver:
On Saturday, April 14th, a white van with Denver Health markings stopped on Broadway directly across from Occupy Denver's encampment. The van was then emptied of several people - many of whom appear to be homeless - who are thought to have been receiving mental health care, who can then be seen simply joining the crowd at Occupy Denver.
Is this how mental patients are to be handled? Why does Denver Health take the time and energy to bring these patients to Occupy Denver? At best, this is an awful, misguided, and irresponsible way to deal with patients who are exiting treatment. At worst, this is an attempt to ensure that Occupy Denver's encampment is kept populated with people who the City and the opposed public can then point to as creating "health and safety hazards".
People who have been at Occupy Denver for a while reported that this kind of scene is normal, and that this is apparently an ongoing practice of Denver Health. Amid the ongoing battle against the proposed Urban Camping Ban that the Denver City Council is pushing through despite a public outcry and a lack of public consultation, this is one more piece of evidence that Denver does not have the ability to deal with it's homeless population, and that no matter how the law changes, homeless persons will be hurt due to lack of services and alternatives.
We demand that the homeless issue be addressed properly, and that this practice of Denver Health be investigated.