The reason factory managers keep their workers in unsafe buildings on the verge of going up in flames or collapsing is fear,” declared Miller. “Fear that the Western brands and retailers will take their orders elsewhere because of a missed day of production, late delivery or a minuscule increase in production costs. The brands know this. That’s why I believe they bear the ultimate responsibility for these horrendously unsafe working conditions.
As President Obama said in his inaugural address last week, America “cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.”
Yet that continues to be the direction we’re heading in.
A newly-released analysis by the Economic Policy…
Over the last year, federal investigators found that one of the world’s largest banks, HSBC, spent years committing serious crimes, involving money laundering for terrorists; “facilitat[ing] money laundering by Mexican drug cartels”; and “mov[ing] tainted money for Saudi banks tied to terrorist groups”. Those investigations uncovered substantial evidence “that senior bank officials were complicit in the illegal activity.” As but one example, “an HSBC executive at one point argued that the bank should continue working with the Saudi Al Rajhi bank, which has supported Al Qaeda.”
Needless to say, these are the kinds of crimes for which ordinary and powerless people are prosecuted and imprisoned with the greatest aggression possible. If you’re Muslim and your conduct gets anywhere near helping a terrorist group, even by accident, you’re going to prison for a long, long time. In fact, powerless, obscure, low-level employees areroutinely sentenced to long prison terms for engaging in relatively petty money laundering schemes, unrelated to terrorism, and on a scale that is a tiny fraction of what HSBC and its senior officials are alleged to have done.
But not HSBC. On Tuesday, not only did the US Justice Department announce that HSBC would not be criminally prosecuted, but outright claimed that the reason is that they are too important, too instrumental to subject them to such disruptions. In other words, shielding them from the system of criminal sanction to which the rest of us are subject is not for their good, but for our common good. We should not be angry, but grateful, for the extraordinary gift bestowed on the global banking giant
That’s not merely a dark day for the rule of law. It’s a wholesale repudiation of it. The US government is expressly saying that banking giants reside outside of - above - the rule of law, that they will not be punished when they get caught red-handed committing criminal offenses for which ordinary people are imprisoned for decades. Aside from the grotesque injustice, the signal it sends is as clear as it is destructive: you are free to commit whatever crimes you want without fear of prosecution. And obviously, if the US government would not prosecute these banks on the ground that they’re too big and important, it would - yet again, or rather still - never let them fail.
But this case is the opposite of an anomaly. That the most powerful actors should be immunized from the rule of law - not merely treated better, but fully immunized - is a constant, widely affirmed precept in US justice. It’s applied to powerful political and private sector actors alike. Over the past four years, the CIA and NSA have received the same gift, as have top Executive Branch officials, as has the telecom industry, as has most of the banking industry.
This is Mallory Owens. 23. Has a girlfriend and an adorable little boy. She lives in my county in Daphne Alabama.
She was assaulted and beaten nearly to death by Travis Hawkins Jr. She will need reconstructive surgery after what was done to her.
Her assailant is already out of jail and is only being charged with second degree assault.
I can’t hyperlink on a phone, but there is already a petition to bring him to justice. Please signal boost this. This hate crime is too close to home. This cannot go unpunished.
The details of this are still blurry but regardless, he nearly beat a woman to death, and he’s only getting second degree assault. I will update when I get more details.
Warning, the images of the damage done to her is graphic. This is inexcusable.
Edited to add:http://www2.wkrg.com/news/2012/nov/26/family-seeking-justice-girl-who-was-badly-beaten-ar-5050348/
A family is seeking justice after they say a girl named Mallory Owens was badly beaten on Thanksgiving day for being gay. They want charges upgraded on her alleged attacker, 18-year-old Travis Hawkins Jr. Hawkins turned himself in Sunday for second degree assault charges, but bonded out the same day.
Owens’ supporters believe those charges should be upgraded to attempted murder.
Today, News 5 stopped by Mallory’s room where she is currently staying at USA Medical Center. Although she is recovering from her injuries, her face was badly beaten. Her nose was broken, and she had to have reconstructive surgery on her face.
Her mother told News 5 her daughter was beaten by Hawkins because she is in a relationship with his sister and he does not approve. The family is calling this a hate crime and cannot believe her alleged attacker is walking free.
In a recent report, the National Employment Law Project classified jobs that pay a median hourly wage of $7.69 to $13.83—easily Walmart territory, no matter whose average wage figure you listen to—as low-wage jobs. The report found that it’s these very jobs that are seeing the most robust rebound: they grew nearly three times as fast as mid-wage and high-wage work. The low-wage occupation with the highest growth was, you guessed it, retail.
Meanwhile, mid-wage jobs have taken a beating. They accounted for 60 percent of the job losses during the recession but have only made up 22 percent of those added during the recovery. (The numbers are basically flipped for low-wage jobs—they were 21 percent of recession losses and have amounted to 58 percent of the gains in the recovery—while high-wage jobs have basically recovered evenly.) This means that we’re trading mid-wage, middle-class jobs for low-wage ones. Given that Walmart employs 1.4 million people out of our 140 million strong workforce, a huge chunk of those will be with the company, making this strike, and its outcome, relevant to more people than ever before.
And these jobs in retail don’t just come with low pay. The Retail Action Project interviewed over 400 workersin New York City and found that few had access to benefits. Less than a third got healthcare through their jobs and less than half had paid time off or sick days. Meanwhile, the work is incredibly unreliable: almost 60 percent are part-time or temporary and less than 20 percent have a set schedule. That meant 70 percent of respondents only found out their schedules a week ahead of time. That can make arranging childcare, for instance, nearly impossible.
It is now common knowledge that between 2001 and about 2007 the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) sanctioned acts of torture committed by members of the Central Intelligence Agency and others. The acts took place in secret prisons (“black sites”) against persons detained indefinitely without trial. They were described in detail and explicitly authorized in a series of secret torture memos drafted by John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Steven Bradbury, senior lawyers in the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. (Office of Legal Counsel attorneys technically answer directly to the DOJ, which is supposed to be independent from the White House, but obviously was not in this case.) Not one of those men, or their Justice Department bosses, has been held accountable for their actions.
Some tortured prisoners were even killed by the CIA. Attorney General Eric Holder announced recently that no one would be held accountable for those murders either. “Based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths,” he said, “the Department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Jose Rodriguez, a senior CIA official, admitted destroying videotapes of potentially admissible evidence, showing the torture of captives by operatives of the US government at a secret prison thought to be located at a Vietnam War era airbase in Thailand. He was not held accountable for deep-sixing this evidence, nor for his role in the torture of human beings.
The one man in the whole archipelago of America’s secret horrors facing prosecution is former CIA agent John Kiriakou. Of the untold numbers of men and women involved in the whole nightmare show of those years, only one may go to jail.
And of course, he didn’t torture anyone.
The charges against Kiriakou allege that in answering questions from reporters about suspicions that the CIA tortured detainees in its custody, he violated the Espionage Act, once an obscure WWI-era law that aimed at punishing Americans who gave aid to the enemy. It was passed in 1917 and has been the subject of much judicial and Congressional doubt ever since. Kiriakou is one of six government whistleblowers who have been chargedunder the Act by the Obama administration. From 1917 until Obama came into office, only three people had ever charged in this way.
Joshua Morse III, who as dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law in the 1960s defied segregationist tradition by admitting the school’s first black students, a move that led to the desegregation of Mississippi’s legal profession and judiciary, died last Friday at his home in Tallahassee, Fla. He was 89.
In a time of civil rights marches and often violent racial strife in the Deep South, Mr. Morse challenged prejudice and parochialism by fostering a markedly progressive period at the school. He used Ford Foundation money to recruit minority students, promoted a student legal assistance program for the poor, exposed students to liberal ideas and hired Ivy League professors from the North.
But his efforts lasted only six years. Pitted against the state’s legal establishment, he stepped down in 1969, and the school reverted to more conservative leadership.
Mr. Morse admitted Ole Miss’s first black law students in 1963, a year after James Meredith became the first black to enroll at the university, a watershed event in the civil rights struggle. By 1967 black enrollment at the law school had expanded to about 20 in a student body of 360.
Black graduates were soon admitted to the state bar, joining a legal fraternity defined by alumni of Ole Miss, which Time magazine called the “prep school for political power in Mississippi.”
Reuben Anderson, the first black graduate of the school, in 1968, went on to become the first black appointee to the State Supreme Court and the first black president of the Mississippi bar. The school’s first black woman to graduate, Constance Slaughter-Harvey, in 1970, became the first black woman to be named a judge in Mississippi.
A judge shouldn’t be basing his ruling on a religion book, as it directly violates the very first amendment on the separation of church and state.
“It is notable that Genesis 1:27-28 states: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth …’ The DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female.”
Funny how he references DNA in conjunction with his unscientific basis…So despite all the paranoia over the supposed takeover of our legal system by Shariah law, this so far gets a pass. Now imagine if the the judge had used a similar quote from the Koran to justify his position?
Indeed, the United States in general has the highest incarceration rate per capita.
As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters.
Whether public defenders are funded by the state, county, city or some combination thereof, governments across the country are sacrificing lawyers for the poor and putting the constitutionally guaranteed right to counsel at risk. US Attorney General Eric Holder decried the indigent defense “crisis” facing the nation when he spoke to the American Bar Association in February, asserting that programs across the country were “underfunded and understaffed.” Citing “insufficient resources, overwhelming caseloads, and inadequate oversight,” he worried about a breakdown: “Far too many public defender systems lack the basic tools they need to function properly.”
Strapped public defender offices are throwing their hands up in despair. This past July, the Missouri Supreme Court backed public defenders in the state who refused to accept new clients because their office was woefully underfunded. The lawyers complained that their caseloads had swelled to such an extent that they could no longer do a good job for their existing clients. Public defenders in Missouri represent 80 percent of the state’s criminal defendants, which in 2011 numbered 82,896, yet they’re being forced to walk away from people who desperately need a lawyer.
Something very similar happened in New Orleans. Squeezed by budget shortfalls, Chief District Defender Derwyn Bunton announced that he was laying off nearly a third of his lawyers. Bunton cut the entire staff of his conflicts division, the department responsible for representing additional defendants in cases with more than one person charged. (An example of a conflicts division case: a liquor store is robbed by two people and the cashier is shot, then each of the men points to the other as the shooter; they’ll need two separate lawyers.) As a result, a slew of people suddenly lost their lawyers.
If these conflicts division defendants aren’t provided with an attorney and a “speedy trial” can’t proceed, by law they ought to be released from prison. But most of them aren’t released, despite this clear violation of their constitutional rights. Why? For several reasons. First, it’s a Catch-22 for the jailed defendants: most of them need a lawyer to fully grasp how their rights are being violated and help them make that argument in court. Second, there is some linguistic fudging going on: it’s not that they’re being denied representation; these defendants are simply “on a wait list” for pro bono representation. (Since February 2012, the number of defendants on the pro bono wait list has been as high as 543.) Third, due to quirks in Louisiana law, folks can be held up to four months (depending on the alleged crime) before the district attorney decides whether or not to pursue the case. It’s possible that some particularly proactive judge could step in and start setting these jailed defendants free—but it had better be someone who doesn’t mind losing the next election for being “soft” on crime.
It’s come to a point that we can’t even afford the basic legal functions of the state anymore.
This man, James Verone, robbed a bank for one dollar. Why only one dollar? Because he knew that in prison he could get the medical care he could not afford with his part time salary as a convenience store clerk. He was approved for food stamps, but they did little to help his finances. Between his back problems, carpel tunnel, and arthritis, he simply couldn’t handle the pain any longer.
On June 9th, he sent a letter to his local paper, the Gaston Gazette, that stated: “When you receive this a bank robbery will have been committed by me. this robbery is being committed by me for one dollar. I am of sound mind but not so much sound body.”
He then took a cab to the RBC Bank, and handed the teller a note asking for one dollar and medical attention. He quietly took a seat in the lobby and waited for police to arrive.
Since Verone only stole one dollar, he was only charged with larceny. His bail, which he doesn’t plan to pay is set at $2,000, reduced from the normal $100,000. He’s scheduled to see a doctor this Friday, and hopes to get foot surgery, back surgery and to have a protrusion on his check treated.
To me, this is the perfect example of how disturbingly corrupt and unjust our health care system has become under HMO’s. For this man, or any person for that matter, feels that he needs to be imprisoned just to see a doctor, is ridiculous.
This is exactly what I hate about America. Why is it that you can buy an entire house with money you don’t have, but still can’t apply for health care if you don’t meet the requirements? That’s messed up.
Indeed, this case may be atypical (as far as we know at least), but what it represents is sadly common: hardworking people who will never have access to the healthcare and quality of life they deserve no matter how hard they work.
1. If someone with a mental illness does something violent, the mental illness is assumed to be the cause of the violence.
2. If someone without mental illness does something violent, they are assumed to have a mental illness. [Perceived] Sanity…
I’m reminded of how the US has a higher incarceration rate than every developed country, and below-average rate of mental institutionalization - it’s the other way around in most wealthy nations, which suggests that we’re criminalizing and locking up people that should otherwise be receiving mental health services.