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Category Archives: American Greed

100 NYC Cops Rally for Colin Kaepernick

Support for the beleaguered NFL Quarterback. Evne  Serpico showed up!

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Nearly 100 NYPD Officers Rally In Support Of Colin Kaepernick

They showed up wearing shirts that read “ImWithKap.”

It’s been nearly a year since Colin Kaepernick began his protests during the national anthem at football games. And now, some members of the New York Police Department are showing their support for the former 49ers quarterback’s fight against racial injustice and police brutality.

Nearly 100 active and retired officers, mostly cops of color, wearing black shirts reading ”#ImWithKap” rallied in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Saturday, The New York Timesreports. Sergeant Edwin Raymond, who organized the event, told The Times that he was planning this event prior to the Charlottesville incident, but the violence made the need for the event even more pressing.

During the event, speakers related the backlash Kaepernick faced for his demonstration to the recent violence in Charlottesville sparked by a white supremacist rally. Kaepernick’s non-profit, Know Your Rights Camp, shared photos from the event on Twitter.

 

“As members of law enforcement, we can confirm that the issues he is saying exist in policing, and throughout the criminal justice system, indeed exist,” Raymond said at the rally.

City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams, a speaker at the rally, said more cops should be speaking out about accountability, per NY1.

“All of the people behind me risk their lives, so to speak, to protect folks, and they are standing with Kaepernick because they understand how important it is to push back on the structure,” he said.

Retired officer Frank Serpico, whose campaign against corruption in the police department was the subject of the 1973 film “Serpico,” was also in attendance. The 81-year-old told the Associated Press that he felt moved to support Kaepernick.

“He’s trying to hold up this government up to our founding fathers,” he said. “Until racism in America is no longer taboo, we own up to it, we admit it, we understand it and then we do what we have to do to solve it, unfortunately we’re going to have these issues.”

Williams told The Times that Kaepernick ― who still hasn’t been signed by an NFL team ― making this stance doesn’t mean he’s anti-police.

“People use the terms ‘antipolice,’ ‘unpatriotic,’ to scare people from stepping forward,” he told the Times after the rally. “It takes courage to say, ‘I’m going to do it anyway, because it’s what’s right.’”

The NFl “Blackout”

 
 

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Fear of Flight Crews, Flying the Thugly Skies

America is the only nation in the G20 without a high speed rail system. Instead, we have airlines.

Used to be fun to fly in America…Now it is a chore. Airlines are cramming as many people into a plane as possible. Many have cut the distance between seats to make room for additional rows of seats – further increasing passenger discomfort. Airlines have made it as uncomfortable and difficult as possible to fly – and as such the number of in-air incidents is soaring.

Now they are stealing paid for seats with threats of violence.

Raygun “deregulated” airlines…And flying has gone to shit.

When my little one was small, we frequently bought a seat. The idea being it was safer for a toddler strapped in in car seat which was strapped in to the seat in the event of air turbulence. It is fairly common now that folks are injured by the violent movement of an airplane when it hits and air pocket. There simply is no way to hold a small child for hours in anticipation of an unpredictable event. So United in this case, screwed the safety of this baby to shoehorn another passenger onboard.

Mom feared beating by United employees — so she gave up toddler son’s $1,000 seat to standby passenger

United Airlines has formally apologized to a Hawaii middle school teacher after it forced her to hold her 27-month-old son on her lap for over three hours because it had given away his seat to a standby passenger.

Hawaii News Now reports that Shirley Yamauchi last month had just boarded a flight from Houston to Boston to attend a teachers’ conference when a standby passenger arrived behind her and informed her that he had been given the seat that was supposed to go to her 2-year-old son.

Yamamuchi tried in vain to get the flight attendant to help her resolve this problem, but the attendant told her the flight was full and simply walked away — thus forcing her to hold her young son in her lap for the duration of the flight.

“I had to move my son onto my lap,” she said. “He’s 25 pounds. He’s half my height. I was very uncomfortable. My hand, my left arm was smashed up against the wall. I lost feeling in my legs and left arm.”

Yamamuchi also said that she didn’t press the matter further because she feared United employees would beat her up, as they were infamously shown doing to passenger Dr. David Dao, whose violent removal from a flight from Chicago to Louisville back in April was captured on video.

“I started remembering all those incidents with United on the news,” she said. “The violence. Teeth getting knocked out. I’m Asian. I’m scared and I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t want those things to happen to me.”

United has now issued a formal apology to the woman, who paid $1,000 to secure her son’s ticket three months ago.

“We deeply apologize to Ms. Yamauchi and her son for this experience,” the airline said. “We are refunding her son’s ticket and providing a travel voucher. We are also working with our gate staff to prevent this from happening again.”

 

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Google and Facebook Move to Remove and Defund White Supremacist Content

No secret that the alt-right and other racist groups in the US gets lots of funding publishing videos on YouTube.

Google has finally decided to do something about that – essentially cutting a major source of funding for racist, violent groups. The same groups which a far and away the major source of terrorism in the US.

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Google Launches Effort To Remove Terrorist And Extremist Content From YouTube

The company will take a tougher position on videos containing supremacist or inflammatory religious content.

Alphabet Inc’s Google will implement more measures to identify and remove terrorist or violent extremist content on its video-sharing platform YouTube, the company said in a blog post on Sunday.

Google said it would take a tougher position on videos containing supremacist or inflammatory religious content by issuing a warning and not monetizing or recommending them for user endorsements, even if they do not clearly violate its policies.

The company will also employ more engineering resources and increase its use of technology to help identify extremist videos, in addition to training new content classifiers to quickly identify and remove such content.

“While we and others have worked for years to identify and remove content that violates our policies, the uncomfortable truth is that we, as an industry, must acknowledge that more needs to be done. Now,” said Google’s general counsel Kent Walker.

Google will expand its collaboration with counter-extremist groups to identify content that may be used to radicalize and recruit extremists, it said.

The company will also reach potential Islamic State recruits through targeted online advertising and redirect them towards anti-terrorist videos in a bid to change their minds about joining.

Germany, France and Britain, countries where civilians have been killed and wounded in bombings and shootings by Islamist militants in recent years, have pressed Facebook <FB.O> and other providers of social media such as Google and Twitter <TWTR.N> to do more to remove militant content and hate speech.

Facebook on Thursday offered additional insight on its efforts to remove terrorism content, a response to political pressure in Europe to militant groups using the social network for propaganda and recruiting.

Facebook has ramped up use of artificial intelligence such as image matching and language understanding to identify and remove content quickly, the company said in a blog post.

 

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Puerto Rico Statehood – 97% Yes…But only 23% Vote

The Vote yesterday in Puerto Rico in a non-binding referendum to become a State is a bit misleading. 77% of the voters chose to sit out.

After years of fiscal mismanagement the “Colony” finds itself in dire straits. The vote, such as it was, is a pleas for help.

The likelihood that a Republican dominated US Congress would move forward to make Puerto Rico a state is nil. Much less the “Bigot in Charge” actually signing any bill to that effect being less than zero. It is not only driven by the fact that most Puerto Ricans vote Democrat, but the core racism of the Republicans in not wanting a Spanish language, ethnically Hispanic state to join the Union. Ergo, as we saw during the Chumph “election” – racism always wins with the white-right.

23% of Puerto Ricans Vote in Referendum, 97% of Them for Statehood

With schools shuttered, pensions at risk and the island under the authority of an oversight board in New York City, half a million Puerto Ricans voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to become America’s 51st state, in a flawed election most voters sat out.

With nearly all of the precincts reporting, 97 percent of the ballots cast were in favor of statehood, a landslide critics said indicated that only statehood supporters had turned out to the polls. Opposition parties who prefer independence or remaining a territory boycotted the special election, which they considered rigged in favor of statehood.

On an island where voter participation often hovers around 80 percent, just 23 percent of registered voters cast ballots. Voting stations accustomed to long lines were virtually empty on Sunday.

Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo A. Rosselló of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party, said he planned to take the victory to Washington and press Congress to admit Puerto Rico to the union.

“From today going forward, the federal government will no longer be able to ignore the voice of the majority of the American citizens in Puerto Rico,” he said in a brief televised speech after the voting results were announced.

But his political opponents who do not want statehood argued that heading to Congress with such lopsided results would actually hurt the governor’s cause.

“A 97 percent win is the kind of result you get in a one-party regime,” former Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá said in an interview. “Washington will laugh in their faces.”

Puerto Rico has been a United States territory since 1898, when the island was acquired from Spain after the Spanish-American War. Sunday’s nonbinding referendum was the fifth time during Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States that Puerto Ricans voted on their future. They have generally chosen from statehood, independence and remaining a territory.

But the process is usually marred, with ballot language phrased to favor the party in office. In 1998, “none of the above” was the top winner. In 2012, 61 percent of counted votes went to statehood — and half a million ballots were left blank.

But this time, the vote came a few weeks after Puerto Rico declared a form of bankruptcy in the face of $74 billion in debt and $49 billion in pension obligations it cannot pay. More than 150 public schools are being closed as a mass exodus of Puerto Ricans head for the mainland and those who remain brace for huge cuts to public services. Decisions are now in the hands of a bankruptcy judge.

Voters said that Puerto Rico needed the United States now more than ever.

“If there’s an earthquake in Puerto Rico, who is going to send the help? The Americans! This is their land!” said Gladys Martínez Cruz, 73, a retired tax clerk in San Juan’s Barrio Obrero neighborhood. “We need someone who is going to support us, send us money. There’s a lot of hunger in Puerto Rico, even with the help we get.”

Many Puerto Ricans, like Ms. Martínez, live off food stamps, public housing vouchers or other federal programs and worry that a change in political status could affect that aid. A huge publicity campaign warned voters that their citizenship could be at risk.

“I want my children and grandchildren to keep their American citizenship,” said Maira Rentas, a cardiac nurse in San Juan. “Little by little, with whatever votes we get, we have to try to become a state.”

Ana Velázquez, 50, a hospital secretary, said Puerto Rico’s economic problems were so great that they overshadowed other considerations, such as the language, culture and identity that could be lost if the island became a state.

“I don’t want to lose my hymn, my coat of arms, my flag. My beauty queen would no longer be ‘Miss Puerto Rico,’” Ms. Velázquez said. “I don’t see myself ever singing the United States national anthem. I really don’t. But Puerto Rico is in really bad shape, and it needs help.”

So she arrived at the same conclusion as many other Puerto Ricans: She did not vote.

Héctor Ferrer, the head of the Popular Democratic Party, which had urged a boycott, emphasized that eight out of 10 Puerto Rican voters chose to spend the day at church, on the beach or with their families. He argued that the governing party had manipulated the ballot language and even election law to fix the results.

“It was rigged, and not even with trickery could they win,” Mr. Ferrer said.

The ballot option asked voters who wanted to remain a United States territory to say they wished for Puerto Rico to stay “as it is today, subject to the powers of Congress.”

“The title of the law that made this plebiscite is ‘process to decolonize Puerto Rico,’ and one of the alternatives is ‘colony’ as defined by them,” Mr. Ferrer said.

Mr. Ferrer’s party complained about the ballot choices to the Justice Department, which withheld $2.5 million in funding for Sunday’s voting and had urged the Puerto Rican government to hold off until the ballot could be reviewed. Puerto Rico made changes but moved forward without money or approval from the Justice Department.

 

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Kansas Republican Join Dems in Vote to End Failed Conservative State

The same conservative “principles” of cutting taxes to foster growth have led Governor Sam Brownback’s Kansas to the same place it led Bobby Jindals, Louisiana during his reign.

Near bankruptcy.

No wonder The idjit in charge wants to do this to the whole country,

Kansas Republicans raise taxes, ending their GOP governor’s ‘real live experiment’ in conservative policy

Republicans in Kansas broke ranks with the state’s conservative governor Tuesday night, voting to raise tax rates and put an end to a series of cuts.

The GOP revolt is a defeat for Gov. Sam Brownback, who overhauled the state’s tax system beginning in 2012, bringing down rates and causing repeated, severe budgetary shortfalls.

Kansas’s legislature is overwhelmingly Republican, but moderate GOP lawmakers joined with Democrats, overriding Brownback’s veto of a bill they’d already passed once that would raise taxes again by $600 million a year. Eighteen of the state’s 31 GOP senators and 49 of the 85 Republican members of the House voted against the governor.

The victory for Brownback’s opponents resulted in part from their gains in last year’s election. Voters — frustrated that public schools were closing early and the state’s highways were in visible disrepair — rejected Brownback’s allies in favor of more moderate Republicans or Democrats.

“It was a hard vote for a lot of people to make last night,” said Rep. Melissa Rooker, a moderate Republican who represents a suburb of Kansas City. “Kansas has had a turn to the far right, and we seem to be centering ourselves.”

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Jobs growth

The legislation undoes the essential components of Brownback’s reforms, which he famously described as part of a “real-live experiment” in conservative governance.

Brownback had reduced the number of brackets for the state’s marginal rates on income from three to two. The legislature will restore the third bracket, increasing taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents from 4.6 percent to 5.2 percent this year and 5.7 percent next year.

Marginal rates on less affluent Kansan households will increase as well, from 4.6 percent to 5.25 percent by next year for married taxpayers making between $30,000 and $60,000 a year and from 2.7 percent to 3.1 percent for those earning less than that.

The legislation also scraps a plan to bring those rates down even further in future years, one of Brownback’s promises to conservative supporters.

Finally, the legislature eliminated a cut Brownback had put in place to help small businesses. Analysts said that the provision had become a loophole, as many Kansans were able to avoid paying taxes entirely by pretending to be small businesses.

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Economic Performance (Gains or losses) Kansas versus other states. Notice Wisconsin under Republican Walker also significantly under performs.

Initially, the state forecast that about 200,000 small businesses would take advantage of the break. As it turned out, about 330,000 entities would use Kansas’s new rule. That discrepancy suggests that tens of thousands of workers claimed that their incomes were from businesses they owned rather than from salaries.

“What we were able to do in the last 24 hours can allow us to start down that road, to begin repairing all the damage done after living with Gov. Brownback’s failed tax experiment for five years,” said Annie McKay, who is the president of Kansas Action for Children, an advocacy group in Topeka.

Tuesday’s vote was a rebuke not only for Brownback, but also for Republicans in Washington who have advocated similar cuts in taxes at the national level — including President Trump.

 

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Chumph’s Privatized Concentration Camps

Pay to eat…Or starve?

Not much different from the Nazis…Or Chumph Russian Master’s Gulags.

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The Gulag System in America

Privatized for-profit immigrant detention centers are a “living nightmare,” investigation shows

A report on corporate detention facilities in the U.S. details how migrants endure abuse, hunger and exploitation

A new investigation provides a chilling glimpse into the nightmarish conditions in privatized, for-profit immigrant detention centers in the U.S. Migrants fleeing violence and poverty, some of whom have unsuccessfully tried to apply for asylum, are forced to eat rotten food and drink contaminated water. They endure arbitrary solitary confinement, have little or no access to medical care and are denied their rights to legal counsel.

Moreover, to make money to afford extra food or phone calls, many detainees have no option but to work for $1 per day. They are ruthlessly exploited by corporations looking to make a profit.

“Overall, the conditions are prison-like,” a detainee stated bluntly.

These are the findings of a new report, titled, “Imprisoned Justice: Inside Two Georgia Immigrant Detention Centers.” The study looks at the detention centers Irwin and Stewart, in southern Georgia, two facilities that have consistently been rated as some of the worst in the country. The report notes both “have a history of human and civil rights violations.”

Stewart is the second largest detention center in the U.S., and Irwin is among the biggest. Stewart is run by the Corrections Corporation of America, with food and phone services outsourced to other for-profit companies. Irwin is run by the corporation LaSalle Corrections.

“Detaining human beings in this civil detention center is a very profitable business,” the report notes. “Detained immigrants at Irwin and Stewart are treated as though they do not have any rights.”

Immigrants from all over the world are held at the facilities. Many migrants have fled violence in Central and South America. Other detainees have come from parts of northern and central Africa, including Nigeria, Somalia and Cameroon, along with China and India.

A 25-year-old Somali refugee, one of the dozens of migrants interviewed for the report, recalled escaping “horrific violence.” He was separated from his family, and his father died, leaving him alone. “I traveled to America for asylum, but I had no idea I would be detained,” the man explained. “I didn’t think they would detain asylum-seekers. I just asked to apply for asylum and I didn’t know I would be imprisoned. I was hospitalized in South Africa because I was tortured. I take medication now for the trauma. But, I have no hope of asylum now.”

Horrific Conditions

The living conditions in these detention centers violate both the international standards of detention and the national detention standards of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the “Imprisoned Justice” report indicates. And their remote locations prevent families and legal counsel from consulting with detained immigrants.

“The list of concerns regarding living conditions is lengthy,” the report notes. The food and water offered to detainees are not hygienic. Food is stale, spoiled or contaminated, and even then not enough of it is served. Any additional food available for purchase is “excessively expensive.”

One migrant recounted, “The food is rancid and I’ve lost seventy pounds since being here. I found a worm in the ground beef once. On top of all of that, the water smells like feces and the showers are covered in mold.”

A Mexican immigrant detained at Irwin observed that “the reason why the facility gives the detainees so little food is so we will have to buy food from the commissary.”

“Everything in the commissary is expensive,” he said, noting he spends $80 per week just on extra food.

Detained immigrants at these for-profit facilities who hope to make some money for food or phone calls have the option of working, but are paid just $1 per day. Their families often have to send money to make sure they can purchase enough food to survive.

An attorney recalled going to a water fountain to get a drink of water at Stewart, and being told by a guard not to drink the water, as it was not safe.

“The shower water is green and anytime I drink any water, I get headaches,” a detained migrant said. “I’ve lost about twenty pounds since I’ve been here.”

Abuse and Isolation

Detained immigrants at Stewart have gone on hunger strike in protest of the conditions. An immigrant from India said he attempted suicide because the conditions were so bad.

Authorities at Stewart put immigrants in solitary confinement as punishment for minor concerns. Detainees with mental health problems are also segregated in lieu of receiving treatment.

“Segregation is like hell. It is total isolation,” recalled an immigrant from Nigeria with mental illness.

“The unhygienic environment and poor living conditions not only take a toll on the detained immigrants’ health, but also have a negative and disturbing impact on the minds of the individuals being held in detention,” the report notes.

It adds, “The lack of adequate access to medical care is alarming.”

A migrant from Nigeria explained, “They are not treating my medical condition. I need to leave to receive surgery. I am in so much pain. I don’t understand why they will not let me leave.”

A male immigrant from El Salvador recalled witnessing and being a victim of rape. He was unconscious for three days after the attack, and tried to get medical assistance, to no avail. When he tried to contact his embassy, authorities at the detention facility would not give him the contact information for any consulates.

“I heard wails in the middle of the night in the male dorms, and I believe other men were being raped,” the man said. “Everyone knew what was going on, but they just made louder sounds to cover the noise up.”

Despite these violent abuses, detainees are not guaranteed their right to legal support. “The staff do not seem to understand that the clients detained at Stewart have a right to counsel,” an attorney recalled. “The staff seem to arbitrarily make up or ignore policies to best serve the conveniences of the facility.”

A woman from an indigenous group in Guatemala, whose family fled threats by gangs and the U.S.-backed government, told of her suffering at the detention center. “My family is afraid to visit me because they don’t want to be detained too, so I haven’t seen them,” she noted. “I often miss my family and friends, and my high school doesn’t know that I am here at Stewart. When I think too much about all of these things I get sad and I cry.”

Symptomatic of Widespread Problems

The report notes that these problems seem “to be inherent in the profit-making motive of the prison corporations that run these detention centers.”

AlterNet spoke via email with Azadeh Shahshahani, legal and advocacy director for the Georgia-based nonprofit organization Project South, which oversaw the study. She said the abuses at Stewart and Irwin are much more widespread.

“The issues we documented at these two facilities are symptomatic of the larger immigration detention system that is rife with human rights abuses,” Shahshahani explained.

“And given Trump’s fondness for private prison corporations and his plans for a large scale crackdown on immigrants, I think we can expect the overall situation to get even worse for immigrants,” she added.

“Imprisoned Justice” was conducted by Project South along with PennState Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, Georgia Detention Watch and the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. The study spanned from April 2016 to March 2017. Researchers interviewed 31 detained immigrants at Irwin and 40 detainees at Stewart, along with a dozen migrants who were deported to Guatemala after detention at these facilities. Both men and women were interviewed. (Stewart detains just men; Irwin detains men and women.) They also spoke with 14 lawyers who had experience working with clients at Irwin and Stewart.

The report calls for the Stewart and Irwin detention centers to be shut down and recommends that ICE cancel its contracts with companies that violate national and international detention standards.

Shahshahani previously worked with the ACLU of Georgia, which released a report in 2012, Prisoners of Profit, detailing similarly abusive conditions in immigration detention centers. She said the new report is a followup to the 2012 study.

“Unfortunately we found that little has changed and life in these facilities is still a living nightmare for detained immigrants,” Shahshahani told AlterNet.

Growing Private Detention Industry

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, immigrant detention has exploded. Under the Obama administration, the report notes, “there was a significant increase in the number of people detained.” The number of beds in migrant detention facilities jumped up to 34,000.

The Obama administration deported nearly 3 million people, more than any other administration. The Trump administration has pledged to top this.

The U.S. has “the largest immigration detention operation in the world,” the report points out. ICE detained more than 352,000 people in 2016 alone, an average of 31,000 to 34,000 people per day. This system is not only inhumane; it is expensive. The average cost to detain tens of thousands of immigrants is $127 per person per day.

“Much of the high cost of immigration detention is due to its privatization,” the report indicates. “Private prison corporations have played an increasingly dominant role in immigration detention in the United States.”

Corrections Corporation of America (now known as CoreCivic) is the largest detention contractor with ICE. CCA owned or controlled 66 facilities and managed another 11, with a total of 88,500 beds in 20 states, as of the end of 2015.

The three main corporations with most ICE detention contracts spent at least $45 million on campaign donations and lobbyists from 2002 to 2012, the report notes. Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of beds in U.S. immigration detention facilities in 2015 were operated by for-profit prison corporations.

 

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That’s the Spirit! An Airline Terminal Brawl Over Cancelled Flights

Spirit Airline cancelled 9 Flights, and delayed 29 others…

The paying public was not happy.

Another “Happy Passenger” expressed his disgust by giving the CEO of Qantas Airlines…

A pie in the face!

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2017 in American Greed

 

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