The unprecedented level of economic inequality in America is undeniable. In an extended essay, Bill Moyers shares examples of the striking extremes of wealth and poverty across the country, including a video report on California’s Silicon Valley. There, Facebook, Google, and Apple are minting millionaires, while the area’s homeless -- who’ve grown 20 percent in the last two years -- are living in tent cities at their virtual doorsteps.
“A petty, narcissistic, pridefully ignorant politics has come to dominate and paralyze our government,” says Bill, “while millions of people keep falling through the gaping hole that has turned us into the United States of Inequality.”
As the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement is approaching, activists are organizing multiple events with the themes centering on the ongoing debt crisis, student loan crisis and mortgage crisis.
"We want to celebrate our resistance over the past year with actions pointing to the ongoing debt crisis, the student debt crisis, the home mortgage and loans debt crisis," said Karanja G. an activist with the movement.
He told Press TV’s U.S. Desk that police brutality, oppression, and racism were among some of the other issues the 99 percenters sought to address at the anniversary of their movement.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstration started out on September 17 last year with around a dozen college students spending days and nights in Zuccotti Park in New York.
The demonstrators protest against government corruption an unequal distribution of wealth wherein one percent of the American population benefits from the capitalism system, while the other 99 percent is exploited. The protesters say they are that 99 percent.
I ask Frantz to show me his neighborhood. He says there's nothing really to see. He rarely goes out—only to work and to church and to play soccer. Everywhere else is too dangerous. When we head outside, I scurry from his front door to the car. A smashed-up police cruiser lies abandoned on the corner. We take a drive past the one place on earth he has some fun: the soccer field in the public park.
Six miles later, we reach the Capital Grille. Usually he catches the bus, which takes an hour. When he works late and misses the 1 a.m. bus home, he has to stand there until the next one comes at 4 a.m.
"Do you ever wonder what the customers' lives are like?" I ask.
"I don't know nothing about the customers," says Frantz. "I've never seen them."
I look at him. "You've never seen a customer?" I ask.
"Never," he says.
"Do you know how much the steaks cost?" I ask.
"I never saw a menu," he says. "They're in the restaurant, not the kitchen."
His last words to me, before I head off to visit someone who makes five times what he does, are "If I get money, I'm going to leave."
This amazing video touches on most all of the ills of the world: pollution, abuse of the environment, nuclear energy, fracking, water pollution, poverty, starvation, hunger, income disparity, politics, lack of healthcare, indifference and war. Combined with the moving music, it's possibly the most moving video you'll see at just over 3 minutes in length. Buenísimo!
The Coalition for the Homelessreports the number of people living in New York City homeless shelters has reached an all-time high of 43,000. Critics attribute the spike in homelessness to the Bloomberg administration’s alleged failure to help move homeless families into permanent affordable housing. Housing advocates say the problem was exacerbated by the city’s cancellation of the "Advantage" apartment rental subsidy, with as many as 8,000 former aid recipients now facing eviction. We get a report from Democracy Now!’s Chantal Berman, who interviewed several aid recipients who could soon lose their homes, and speak to Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst at Coalition for the Homeless in New York City
Hopefully we'll hear these statistics from an annual IRS report cited frequently during the 2012 campaign season. These shocking numbers emphasize the vast divide of income disparity between the 1 percent and the 99% of Americans:
In addition to the six who paid no tax, another 110 families paid 15 percent or less in federal income taxes. That’s the same federal tax rate as a single worker who made $61,500 in 2009.
Overall, the top 400 paid an average income tax rate of 19.9 percent, the same rate paid by a single worker who made $110,000 in 2009. The top 400 earned five times that much every day.
Let’s return for a moment to the single worker who made $61,500 in 2009 and paid 15 percent of his salary in federal income taxes. The top 400 made more every three hours than he did in a year, and yet many of them paid the same or a lower tax rate, according to the data in the report.
Why would anyone vote for a candidate who would continue to favor only a very small portion of Americans? Surely there are Republicans out there who fall into this income bracket, and they can't all be sadomasochists... can they?
David Simon of Simon Property received a pay package worth more than $137 million for last year, and the typical CEO took home $9.6 million, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.
A minimum wage worker — paid $7.25 per hour, as some workers at Simon malls are — would have to work one month shy of 9,096 years to make what Simon made last year. A person making the national median salary, $39,312 by AP calculations, would have to work 3,489 years.
Do something special for yourself this weekend, my math says you deserve it.
During a Saturday evening march headed west on Harrison Street over the south branch of the Chicago River, a second became kettled at State and Congress, while the third gathered at 175 N. Desplaines, and proceeded south towards the others. After converging near Madison and Jefferson, the larger gathering moved north, then east, to turn south onto State Street, when double lines of police on foot and bicycles again met, stopped, and kettled the crowd of approximately 1,500, arresting several, while using batons to beat several more. The crowd worked its way south on State Street, and as it neared Taylor, it was again hemmed in, Around ten people in the assembly were beaten.
In the video below, livestream captured a police van that drove through a crowd of protesters, and as you'll see there is one man who ends up on the front of the van attempting to hang on to avoid falling under the wheels and being crushed.
There is an account of this incident in a local news report, and this is being blamed by police as well as the reporter as the police coming under assault from the protesters. There is also a video at this link from that local report, and a Chicago police official is interviewed. Note a woman standing behind the official and her reaction to his account of the events. This video also does show as noted by the reporter, at least two persons in black coming up beside the police van with something in their hands (The reporter says sharp objects) allegedly used to "slice the tires" of the van. This would normally be assumed to be "black bloc" protesters, however the Twitter feeds had mentions of police being overheard on scanners discussing changing clothing to look like black bloc to join the NATO protesters. Twitter reports are generally unconfirmed, but worth mentioning when there are many tweeting similar statements, especially with as much chaos as there was on Saturday.
The local reporter speaking to that Chicago police official did ask if police vehicles accelerating when caught in large groups of people was what they should normally do, and the official seemed rather caught off guard when he found out that the news crew had the incident on video. He responded that the video was something they (CPD) would need to take a look at.
No word yet regarding injuries resulting from the many police actions other than the man who is caught up by the police van in the following video being hospitalized, and by Twitter accounts he is also under arrest with friends being denied any visitation by police.