The OB Media Rundown for 6/6/12

Chicago Activists Demonstrate Against NATO Arrests, City Summit Spending

Nearly 100 demonstrators massed at Jackson and LaSalle yesterday evening to highlight what they call targeted repression and the use of entrapment tactics by law enforcement of activists involved with the NATO summit protests and occupy movements. At 5:30 p.m. several dozen demonstrators paired off and zip-tied themselves to one another to symbolize what they see as the politically motivated arrests of protesters throughout the NATO summit.

They marched with others from the corner through the Loop chanting slogans like “we have nothing to fear from home brewed beer” and “we’re activists, not terrorists,” before ending at Daley Plaza, where activists held a press conference. The speakers were flanked by demonstrators holding up masks featuring photos of two people they say infiltrated various local movements on behalf of law enforcement in order to incite violence to justify police surveillance and arrests.

Austerity champion Gov. Scott Walker Beats Barrett in Wisconsin Recall Race

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will successfully overcome a recall vote that would have stripped him of his job, CNN projects based on exit polling data and partial vote results.

Walker, a Republican hero for pushing austerity measures that stripped collective bargaining rights from most public unions, was leading Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett by a 59-41 margin with 31% of the vote in.

Paycheck Fairness Act Fails Senate Vote

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a bill that would have ensured women are paid the same amount as their male counterparts.

The Senate failed to secure the 60 votes needed to advance the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have required employers to demonstrate that any salary differences between men and women doing the same work are not gender-related. The bill also would have prohibited employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information with their co-workers, and would have required the Labor Department to increase its outreach to employers to help eliminate pay disparities.

Outside Obama’s Broadway Fundraiser, Some Ask Where The Money To Investigate Financial Fraud Is

Barack Obama was in town last night for a series of fundraising events, including one at the New Amsterdam Theater in Times Square.

A coalition of activists demanding accountability for the financial fraud that set off the economic crash used the scene of the president raising millions of dollars to return himself to office to call attention to a project that’s sorely underfunded: the taskforce charged with investigating mortgage fraud by the nation’s biggest banks.

“Before you can campaign, you have to do the people’s business,” said Nish Suvarnakar, an organizer with the Campaign for a Fair Settlement, who helped organize the evening’s demonstration. “The campaigning and fundraising is going to go on, but we’re not going to go away either.”

Austerity isn’t helping Europe or Pennsylvania schools

The Chamber of Commerce audience looked like deer in the headlights as Gov. Corbett’s secretary of revenue, Dan Meuser, droned through a Power Point presentation the other day in Montgomery County showing how Pennsylvania’s CEO was showering businesses with tax breaks.

Charts detailed a Corbett-designed austerity plan in its second year that is generous to business but that falls hard on the state’s public schools, which are buckling under enormous funding pressures as we speak.

No wonder the Souderton-area spectators hardly came up with questions for the man afterward. Slide after slide effectively outlined what, to my mind, was the horror of Corbett’s cutting millions of dollars in taxes for corporations while doing little to come up with enough state cash for public schools to cover their costs.

ACLU Files Lawsuit Over Philadelphia Homeless Feeding Ban

In an expected move, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit today against the city of Philadelphia and Mayor Michael Nutter. The suit, filed alongside the law offices of Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, on behalf of Chosen 300 Ministries, the Welcome Church, the King’s Jubilee, and Philly Restart, comes less than a week after the controversial rule went into effect.

Many have contended the rule went into place in order to keep Philadelphia’s homeless population off the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as the Barnes Museum brings new tourists to the city. Mayor Nutter has denied this.

Other groups, such as Occupy Philadelphia and, more recently, Project HOME, have been harsh critics of the rule, too. The city contends it was Occupy Philly who forced city officials to put the idea in place.

Occupy Movement Looking to Air TV Ads

The Occupy movement is taking a page out of the traditional political playbook and looking to flood the TV airwaves., in conjunction with the crowdfunding website LoudSauce, put out a call in April for submissions for short TV spots, arguing that the voices of the so-called 1% were dominating the TV landscape.

“With the 2012 political campaign season underway, the national dialogue is again being controlled by the super wealthy,” the video introducing the campaign says. “The 1% is channeling its voice powerfully through super PACs … We need to take back the conversation again. We need some way to amplify the voices of the 99%.”

Starting today, the submitted videos are on a dedicated page on LoudSauce, and each one that raises at least $1,000 will be broadcast on TV this summer. (LoudSauce buys air time through auctions; it reduces the cost, although it means not all providers will carry the ad.)

US Marshal, Occupy DC Protester Injured in Controversial Eviction

An ugly face-off between Occupy D.C. protesters and U.S. Marshals ends with two people in the hospital. Marshals were executing a court-ordered eviction at a home on Capital Hill when they were confronted by about fifty protesters with the group, Occupy Our Homes D.C.

They were trying to stop the eviction of Dawn Butler, one of the tenants at 917 Maryland Avenue NE. Butler has been living in the home for the last six-years, but it was foreclosed on in 2009.

“I tried to buy it, but it was sold to a bank,” said Butler. “I’m the 99% against the 1% and here it is, I’m losing.”

“Occupy Loktak” campaign launched on WED 2012 [India]

All Loktak Lake Area Fishermen’s Union, Manipur has demanded that the Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection) Act of 2006 be thoroughly reviewed to bring it in harmony with international standards and the fundamental rights of the people. Loktak Lake is one of the largest fresh water bodies in India situated in Manipur.

On Monday, All Loktak Lake Area Fishermen’s Union in connection with the World Environment Day 2012, pledged to work together with the people of Manipur for improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. “On this occasion, we launch our campaign “Occupy Loktak” by coming out in mass as a community, hundreds strong, to reassert our rights as indigenous peoples to be fully included in the future of Loktak Lake, the surrounding wetlands, and in the future of Manipur”, stated the press note. The Union reiterated that the indigenous fisher community of the Loktak lake area has been responsible custodians of the lake, maintaining the ecological balance and contributing to the economy of Manipur while sustaining their livelihood.

Distorted statistics used to promote notion that South African workers are overpaid

Official gross domestic product statistics in many countries, including South Africa, recognise only two kinds of income: wages and profits. Everyone working on an employment contract (including the American hedge-fund manager who made $4-billion – yes, billion – in a single year) are listed as employees and their pay is registered as wages in the national accounts. The consequences of this statistical quirk are enormous.

One might expect the economists, who are household names because the media defers to them as “experts”, to alert us to this peculiarity.

Worse than not telling us, however, is that they use sleight of hand to promote their own far from neutral agenda. We are inundated by “research” supposedly showing that South African workers are not only grossly overpaid (despite their officially recognised poverty wages), but that this excessive pay is responsible for mass unemployment.

What they do not say is that the “average” pay they quote – R13 200 a month – includes the pay of all managers and executives. Also included are the earnings of all employers who pay themselves a salary, as well as the self-employed (including lawyers, cheap at R40 000 a day). These distortions reflecting South Africa’s notorious inequality are of such a magnitude that they make meaningless any “average” wage. If five out of 100 people earn R1000 and 95 earn R5, the average is R54.75. This means that 95 out of the 100 people have had their wages artificially increased by almost 11 times. It is magic.

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