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Federal Judge – “Black Lives Matter”

Gaining traction against the intractable…

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Federal Judge Declares “Black Lives Matter” From the Bench

U.S. District Judge James Robart held a dramatic hearing on Monday that began with a fierce rebuke of the Seattle police union’s refusal to address unconstitutional policing and closed with a declaration from the bench that “black lives matter.” Robart’s comment marks the first time a sitting federal judge has explicitly cited the nascent civil rights movement, though Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor hasechoed its calls to end police brutality and validated the demands for police reform.

Robart, a George W. Bush appointee, is presiding over a consent decree—a court-ordered settlement—between the Justice Department and Seattle reached in 2012. That agreement required the city to remedy unconstitutional practices at nearly every level of policing, from illegal stops to unreasonable and deadly use of force. Since then, Seattle’s chief of police Kathleen O’Toole has pushed the police force to adopt innovative and successful trainings on crisis intervention and bias-free policing. But further reforms are necessary to fulfill the consent decree’s requirements—and the police union has tethered its adoption of these reforms to pay raises and benefit increases.

In order to fulfill its legal obligation, Seattle attempted to reach a compromise with the police union this summer, offering a new contract that mixed the requisite reforms with wage hikes. The union overwhelmingly rejected the contract on the grounds that it did not sufficiently reward officers with more money and benefits in exchange for engaging in constitutional policing. According to the Seattle Times, it was this repudiation that pushed Robart to speak out so forcefully. In particular, the union appears resistant to adopt new standards and procedures regarding officer discipline and internal investigations, which Robart insists are vital to any sufficient reform.

“The court and the citizens of Seattle will not be held hostage for increased payments and benefits,” Robart said during Monday’s hearing. “I’m sure the entire city of Seattle would march behind me.”

After scolding the recalcitrant union, Robart noted that, nationwide, blacks represent 41 percent of police shooting victims—but only 20 percent of the overall population. He then said from the bench: “Black lives matter.” The remark drew an audible reaction from the audience.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Understanding the War Against NAFTA

And you have to wonder why people are pissed?

Souring Chicago’s sweet treat: Corporate greed, American unions, and moving the Oreo to Mexico

Corporate executives saved $47 million by moving Oreo production to Mexico, but cost 600 in Chicago their jobs

For generations, kids from age 3 to 100 have loved munching on chocolaty Oreo cookies dipped in a glass of milk. But just over a year, ago, the tasty treat suddenly went sour.

In May 2015, bakery workers in Nabisco’s monumental 10-story plant in Chicago’s Marquette Park neighborhood had been expecting some sweet news from their corporate headquarters. Rumor had it that their renowned facility  after more than half a century and millions of Oreos — was about to receive a $130-million modernization investment to upgrade equipment and to add new production lines. So, the future looked bright and spirits were high on May 15 of last year when management convened members of Local 300 of the Bakery Workers Union to announce that the investment was indeed going to be made.

In Salinas, Mexico.

For decades, the Marquette Park community has been proud that the delectable smell of “milk’s favorite cookie” wafts through their neighborhood. But the noses of Nabisco’s corporate brass are clogged with greed, incapable of sniffing out anything but ever-fatter profits for themselves and other rich shareholders. Taking the NAFTA low road, they intend to move the iconic Oreo brand — and the jobs of 600 top-quality bakery workers — from Chicago to Mexico, where the minimum wage is a bit more than $4. Not per hour, but per day.

This is the tyranny of corporate globalization in action. In 2012 Kraft Foods split off its grocery business, which retained the Kraft name, and rebranded its remaining snack-food empire as Mondelez International, which includes Nabisco and its many brands including Triscuit, Planters nuts, Ritz crackers, Chips Ahoy and Oreos.

Such corporate empires now reign over millions of working families, arrogantly and even lawlessly making self-serving decisions from within the shrouded confines of faraway executive suites — wreaking havoc on workers, local economies, democratic values, and our sense of community. People affected are given no input or warning (much less any real say-so) in the profiteering that now routinely strikes us, like a lightning bolt from hell.

Worse, the so-called humans who’ve enthroned themselves with this autocratic power find it amusing to toy with those they rule over. Mondelez executives did exactly that after their sneak attack on Chicago’s bakery workers. In a crude ploy to shift blame for the loss of jobs to the union, the plutocratic powerhouse claimed it had made an offer to Local 300 to keep producing Oreos in Chicago, but that recalcitrant union officials refused.

Of course they did, for Mondelez essentially proposed that the workers commit mass financial suicide. Here’s the “offer”: Since the move to Mexico is expected to save $46 million a year, the conglomerate would graciously let the 600 ransom their jobs by paying that $46 million themselves. Just slash your annual pay and benefits (as well as your throats) by that amount, the executives told the union, and you can keep making Oreos for us.

This act was an astonishing, unprecedented insulting slap in the face of every middle-class worker in the U.S. Mondelez sapsuckers were effectively demanding that longtime, dedicated, productive employees subsidize the conglomerate and ransom their livelihoods by reducing their income to poverty. Note that Mondelez banked $7 billion in profit last year.

If its executives are so inept that they can’t find an honest way to fill a $46-million hole, they should dock the pay of their top three executives by that amount. They can damn sure afford it, for they totaled $37 million in compensation last year. CEO Irene Rosenfeld alone took a $20 million paycheck in 2015, bringing her eight-year total pay and benefits to almost $200 million.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in American Greed

 

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Virginia Police Try to Bully Local Business Over BLM Sign

The daughter of the owner of a local business displayed a BLM sign in her window of the house she owns near the business.

The local Fairfax Police go bats**t crazy.

The business is a very popular Farm Stand, which has expanded with numerous attractions for the kids and family, including hay rides and a Halloween festival. The area in Centreville is about 90% white, and is a suburb of Washington, DC. The FCPF, which is well funded, trained, and supported by the community has recently been involved in several scandals, including tasering a mentally ill man who was surrenderingticketing cars on private property while awaiting repairs at auto shops to meet inspection, and an officer indicted for shooting an unarmed man. So the County, which operates a School System and Police Force larger than all but a handful of major cities has had issues.

Virginia cops try to bully family farm over ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign – but ignite furious backlash instead

A local police union in Virginia was up in arms because of a Black Lives Matter sign posted in the window of a residence, WUSA reports.

The Fairfax Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 77 called for the boycott of Cox Farms because they mistakenly believed the family business had posted the sign. The sign was in fact posted in the window of a home near the property which is the residence of one of the business owners’ family members.

The Fairfax FOP called the sign “disturbing and disappointing” in a Facebook post, which they later deleted due to outcry.

“This is a time in which law enforcement is the target for criticism for almost everything they do and officers are constantly questioned by the public and the media without the benefit of all the facts,” the post read. “The presence of this sign at Cox’s Farms helps perpetuate this kind of behavior and judgment. I know you have heard it about a million times but the truth is that ‘All Lives Matter.’”

The post said Cox Farms is a local family attraction for things like picking out pumpkins and taking tractor rides. The FOP urged the boycott of the farm, saying the sign was inflammatory and targeted police with “baseless criticism.”

Gina Cox, who owns Cox Farms, said her daughter has the right to post any sign she wants in her home.

“It’s her private property and she can put up any political sign she wants to in her yard,” she told WUSA. “We treasure our relationship with our local police force, it’s not anything against them at all.”

The FOP was accused of bullying the business by anti-police brutality activists.

“The Facebook post they made, which was removed because of the unprecedented public outrage towards their attempt to bully a local landmark and beloved destination, further reinforces the lack of trust in the Fairfax County Police Department,” Mike Curtis, with the organization CopBlock, told the station.

Brad Carruthers, FOP president, said he took the post down because it was the “wiser course of action.”

“The phrase ‘black lives matter,’ which was initially associated with the positive intentions of creating better connections within communities and encouraging education and dialogue on issues of race, has unfortunately also been used more recently to incite violence against law enforcement officers, which is why it has negative connotations for us,” Caruthers wrote. “My hope is that the situation will improve and we will forge better bonds and a better partnership within our communities.”

A Black Lives Matter activist said saying the phrase has been co-opted is just propaganda.

“It’s not an attack on individual officers; it’s a movement to highlight the structural oppression Black people face in this country,” BLM activist Erika Totten said to WUSA. “When Black men, women and children are dying in the street at the hands of a law enforcement officer every 28 hours, when most of the people incarcerated are there for non violent crimes, when a Black boy can be assaulted for using the ATM and for making gentrifies uncomfortable, how can we not begin the conversation on how to eradicate racial bias in our criminal justice system.”

In the end, Caruthers admitted that black lives matter.

“We do believe in Black Lives Matter,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, and I know it’s a cliché of all lives matter, but we want to work with the communities to strengthen community trust.”

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Jim Hoffa re: Tea Party – “Lets Take These SOBs Out!”

Labor in this country has suffered a gradual erosion since Raygun’s firing of the Air Traffic Controllers in ’82. The Republican Party – and in particular it’s new right wing owner, the Tea Party wants a fight with Organized Labor  – and in every state where they control the State House have introduced anti-Union legislation. Gone are the days when labor could stop every truck in the country from rolling through the Teamsters…

Gone also are the days when Rush Limbaugh could play racial politics to fool white Teamsters into believing their livelihoods, neighborhood, and way of life were threatened by minorities instead of the real beast at the door…

Conservatives selling their children’s  middle class status down the river to China or India.

Now Jimmy Hoffa may or may not be the guy who can tap into that middle class frustration and anger, as he represents one piece of the middle class in America. But I think President Obama can light that fuse – and it is way past time to have lit that fuse to get Americans to stand up against those who have sold America into Third World decline.

Black folks had better be in the middle of this, because it is your jobs and future which are at stake. The black community (along with the Hispanic community) have been devastated by the loss of Public Sector, manufacturing, and service jobs in America – and now have unemployment rates at least twice that of the majority population – and in Urban areas 4 to 5 times higher.

The only real issue is whether President Obama has the cajones to stand up this time, or is he going to roll over again at the first sign of conservative disapproval?

And on that revolves whether Obama will be a one termer or not.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Domestic terrorism, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Congress Leaves FAA Projects In a Lurch – Thousands Out of Work

Another Tea Bagger effort at Union busting has led to the shutdown…

More of those Tea Bagger "principles" at Work

Dispute over FAA halts more than 250 airport projects

The partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration has halted more than 250 aviation development projects and caused thousands of construction workers to lose their jobs, the FAA and the construction industry say.

The projects, which were valued at $10.5 billion when they began, include radar systems to prevent runway and taxiway collisions at airports, installation of runway safety lights and construction of air-traffic control towers and facilities.

About 24,000 construction workers — in an industry already hit hard by the recession — have lost work or their jobs because of the projects’ suspension, says Brian Turmail, a spokesman for the Associated General Contractors of America. The trade group says the construction industry’s unemployment rate was 16% in June when jobs totaled 5.5 million — 2.2 million less than the industry’s all-time high in April 2006.

The halt of aviation development projects also jeopardizes 46,000 other jobs in businesses related to construction, the group says.

The FAA’s partial shutdown is a result of an FAA funding standoff between the House and Senate, and their inability to reach an agreement to re-authorize the agency’s operations.

The dispute has also led to furloughs of nearly 4,000 FAA employees and threatens to cost the government more than $1 billion in revenue from uncollected airline ticket taxes if Congress doesn’t solve the problem until lawmakers return to Washington in September.

President Obama urged Congress to extend the FAA’s operating authority. The standoff involves House Republicans’ efforts to change an airline labor rule to make it more difficult for employees to unionize and proposed cuts of $16.5 million in airline service subsidies to rural communities. Senate Democrats oppose both.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in Stupid Tea Bagger Tricks

 

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First Wisconsin Recall Petition Reaches Milestone

In what should be a national landslide by 2011 – the effort to recall Tea Bagged Republican legislators bent on destroying American freedoms is now solidly underway – with the first recall petition in Wisconsin reaching the minimum number of signatures to force a recall election in less than 30 days…

First Wis. Recall Petition Will Be Filed Today

The first recall petition will be filed today against a Wisconsin Senate Republican who joined the rigged vote to take away public employees freedom to bargain. Organizers say volunteers have gathered more than the 15,588 signatures needed to trigger a recall election of Sen. Dan Kapanke, who represents the La Crosse area. Recall supporters say they plan to take the petitions to Madison after a rally today at La Crosse City Hall.

This is the first  of 19 active recall efforts registered between Feb. 24 and March 2 against 16 senators. The filing comes just before the halfway point in the 60-day window the recall committee has to gather signatures in the district.

The state Democratic Party provided infrastructure support but “not a single paid canvasser was needed to trigger the recall versus Dan Kapanke,” said party spokesman Graeme Zielinski, who credited volunteers for collecting more than 20,000 signatures in less than 30 days.

“It took on a life of its own,” said Pat Scheller, who filed the original paperwork to launch the recall effort. Scheller is  a banker and is not a member of any party.

The state Government Accountability Board could order an election on the sixth Tuesday after determining the petition is in order. If there is more than one challenger, that election would be a primary followed by a general election four weeks later.

Bet they can’t wait until January when the citizens of Wisconsin get to fire Governor Scott Walker.

Virginia…Where are you?

 

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Judge Block Wisconsin Union Busting Law

Hopefully the beginning of ruling the Law unconstitutional.

Judge blocks Wisconsin law curbing labor rights

A Wisconsin judge issued an order Friday temporarily blocking implementation of a law that would severely restrict collective bargaining rights for most public employees in the state.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued a restraining order that stops publication of the law signed last week by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Governor Walker (R). Halting that procedural step has the effect of blocking the law, which would go into effect once it is formally published.

The judge’s order came after Dane County’s Democratic District Attorney Ismael Ozanne filed suit alleging that a joint committee of the legislature violated the state’s open meeting law when it abruptly called a session to facilitate the law’s passage last week.

The judge’s ruling does not speak to the legal merits of the law but says that the lawsuit over the session has to be completed before the law is allowed to move forward.

Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, praised the judge’s action.“Judge Sumi confirmed today what we knew all along — that the bill stripping hundreds of thousands of hardworking Wisconsinites of their voice on the job was rammed through illegally in the dark of the night,” Neuenfeldt said.

In a statement, governor’s spokesman Cullen Werwie said: “The legislation is still working through the legal process. We are confident the provisions of the budget repair bill will become law in the near future.”

 

 

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