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Archive for May, 2011

Capitalism relies upon the existence of houseless and homeless people so that there is always a willing work force. People saying “I don’t wanna be in THAT situation” will do ANY work, go to war, anything.

Because workers have all the power, being that they can shut all this shit down, stop running the machine, stop fighting the wars… capitalism requires they be separated systematically from houseless people (which includes many veterans).

Perhaps one of the most powerful alliances would be working class housed people and houseless and homeless people. Powerful and Resourceful.

So, the system has a huge interest in making sure there are houseless people and that working housed people despise houseless people, to keep the system running. Keep that willing work and war force, and make sure the real powers don’t team up together.

Verbena, May 17 2011

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Companies can block customers’ class-action lawsuits, Supreme Court rules

Justices rule in a Southern California case that firms can force customers to arbitrate their complaints individually. The ruling is seen as a major victory for corporations

By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times April 28, 2011

The Supreme Court dealt a blow to class-action lawsuits that involve small claims affecting thousands or even millions of people by ruling that corporations may use arbitration clauses to block dissatisfied consumers or disgruntled employees from joining together.

In a 5-4 decision, the justices said Wednesday the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925, originally aimed at disputes over maritime and rail shipments, trumps state laws and court rulings in California and about half the states that limit arbitration clauses deemed to be “unfair” to consumers.

The ruling was “the biggest ever” on class actions, said Vanderbilt University law professor Brian Fitzpatrick, an expert on such litigation.

“It gives companies a green light to exempt themselves from all class actions from their customers or from their employees,” Fitzpatrick said. “Companies can basically escape from the civil justice system. And why wouldn’t a company take advantage of that?”

It has become routine now that when someone opens a bank account, subscribes to a cable TV service, buys a cellphone, a computer or a new car or makes a purchase online, he or she agrees to let disputes go to arbitration.

Many employers include the same kind of fine print for new hires, blocking class-action suits for employees with discrimination or wage complaints.

These arbitration clauses typically require individuals to bring claims on their own, not as a group.

Nonetheless, the California Supreme Court in 2005 said companies should not be allowed to “deliberately cheat large numbers of consumer out of small amounts of money” by shielding themselves from being sued.

But on Wednesday, the court’s conservative majority overruled those state judges and said arbitration clauses must be enforced even if they may be unfair.

Justice Antonin Scalia said companies like the “streamlined” arbitration proceedings because they are faster and cheaper.

Deepak Gupta, the Public Citizen lawyer who represented a California couple who sued over what was purported to be a free cellphone but cost about $30.22, agreed that the ruling in their case would have a broad effect.

It allows companies to use “the fine print of take-it-or-leave it contracts” as a “shield against corporate accountability,” he said.

Not all products or services come with arbitration clauses, but many do, he said. Some products, such as appliances, come with a box that includes fine-print contracts and an arbitration clause. These have been upheld as binding, even if the consumer did not sign the agreement, legal experts said.

Several business lawyers said class-action claims rarely work to the benefit of consumers anyway.

“I think this decision will help consumers, not hurt them,” said Alan Kaplinsky, a Philadelphia lawyer for the American Bankers Assn. “The only people who do well in the class-action suits are the lawyers. The attorneys get millions in fees, and the consumers get a worthless coupon. For them, it’s better to go through arbitration.”

Still pending before the court is a major dispute over class-action suits involving job discrimination.

Lawyers for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have asked the justices to throw out a sex-discrimination claim brought on behalf of 1.5 million current and past female employees. Though the Wal-Mart case has attracted far more attention, Wednesday’s ruling on arbitration contracts could have a greater effect in blocking future class-actions suits on behalf of employees.

The decision is in line with a series of pro-arbitration rulings from the high court since the 1980s. They are all based on an obscure 1925 law that speaks of “maritime transactions.” It was passed to protect shippers and dealers who exchanged goods across the country. It said that if they agreed to arbitrate disputes, those deals would have to be enforced.

But in recent years, the court’s conservative majority has wielded that law to knock down objections to unfair arbitration clauses involving consumers.

Vincent and Liza Concepcion, who live in the San Diego area, were charged $30.22 in sales tax for what was promoted as a free cellphone. They tried to join a class-action suit against AT&T Mobility, but the company said the they would have to go to arbitration as individuals. Their cellphone contract prohibited class-action claims, the company said.

Judges in California — both federal and state — agreed with the Concepcions and ruled that the company could not enforce its ban on class-action claims. The Supreme Court reversed that decision in AT&T Mobility vs. Concepcion.

“Arbitration is poorly suited to the higher stakes of class litigation,” Scalia said. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

The dissenters said a practical ban on class actions would be unfair to cheated consumers.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the California courts have wisely insisted on permitting class-action claims. Otherwise, he said, it would allow a company to “insulate” itself “from liability for its own frauds” by denying consumers a practical remedy.

Breyer added that a ban on class actions would prevent lawyers from representing clients for small claims.

“What rational lawyer would have signed on to represent the Concepcions in litigation for the possibility of fees stemming from a $30.22 claim,” he wrote. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined his dissent.

The court itself divided along partisan lines. All five Republican appointees formed the majority, while the four Democratic appointees dissented.

david.savage@latimes.com

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/la-fi-court-class-action-20110428,0,2654787.story

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Important Film Screening:
MOVE compilation May 13th at PARC in Eureka

Never forget 1985! Now is the time to free the MOVE 9!

Friday May 13 at 8pm, watch “August 8, 1978” and other footage to understand the unjust incarceration of the MOVE 9 and how the battle for their release lead to the bombing of MOVE in 1985.

Free Film Screening at Peoples Action for Rights and Community (PARC). PARC is located in the alley on Qst between 2nd and 3rd, just North of Eureka Library and toward the Samoa Bridge. Look for PARC signs on the carport.

FREE Snacks and Drinks provided. For more info call PARC at (707) 442-7465

http://redwoodcurtaincopwatch.net/node/794

From Ramona Africa: To this day no official has been held accountable for the murder of our MOVE family which the whole world witnessed. Meanwhile, the MOVE 9 sit in prison 31 years later, being falsely accused of a murder officials know they didn’t commit and nobody can say they saw any one of them commit. In fact, at the end of the trial the trial judge stated publicly that he didn’t have the faintest idea who killed Officer Ramp on August 8, 1978. Officials can’t give us back our family that they murdered on May 13th 26 years ago but they can give us back our innocent family members that they have behind their prison walls despite their innocence.

onamovellja@aol.com
215 386 1165
215 687 1147
267 408 7802

Ona MOVE!
LONG LIVE JOHN AFRICA!

Ona MOVE! The MOVE Organization is releasing this communique to once again remind folks of the vicious and deliberate massacre of our innocent family members, including babies, by the government on May 13, 1985. We will never let this official treachery be forgotten and we will never stop grieving for our murdered family members. Neither will we let officials divert people from what is really behind that brutal attack. It had nothing to do with any complaints from neighbors. Officials don’t care about people complaining, this is proven in the fact that officials are still ignoring the complaints of Osage Ave. residents about their rebuilt houses. The root of the official massacre of innocent MOVE members is our unrelenting fight for the release of our innocent family members known as the MOVE 9. Officials dare to call our family murderers based on the false accusation of the murder of one cop while eleven MOVE men, women, and babies and numerous animals were murdered by officials and nobody has ever been charged with their murder. The MOVE 9 are serving 30-100 year sentences each despite their innocence and officials are collecting pensions despite their guilt. People that choose to believe that the MOVE 9 are guilty have to explain the trial judge who sat through the trial saying at the end of the trial that he didn’t have “the faintest idea” who killed James Ramp on August 8, 1978. At this point, MOVE people have been in prison three years past their 30 year minimum, they have seen the parole board three times and been denied three times because they won’t lie and say they’re guilty when in fact they are innocent. We encourage people to keep the pressure on the PA Parole Board, don’t let up, keep those letters and calls coming. Consistency is strength, it’s power.

Contact MOVE @ P.O. Box 19709, Phila, PA 19143
215 386 1165, onamovellja@aol.com

PA Board of Probation and Parole
Riverfront Office Center
1101 South Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17104
717 787 5699

Board Members: Catherine McVey, Michael Green,
Jeffrey Imboden, Matthew Mangino, Benjamin
Martinez, C. James Fox, John Tuttle, Judith
Viglionne, Lloyd White

District Attorney Seth Williams
Three South Penn Square
Phila, PA 19107
215 686 8700
da_webmail@phila.gov

Gorvernor Tom Corbett
225 Main Capitol Bldg
Harrisburg, PA 17120
717 787 2500

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Hello, Icaristas and friends!

We’ve got another unofficial teeny-tiny Northcoast Icarus newsletter here for you.

HSU Mental Health and Wellness Extravaganza
We’ll be tabling at the HSU Mental Health and Wellness Extravaganza on Wednesday, May 4, from 11:00 to 2:00 on the HSU Quad. We’ll have space to sit down and work on making mad maps, with examples and materials provided. Come hang out with us, and enjoy the rest of the Wellness Extravaganza as well.

This Month’s Meetings
They’ll be on the 14th and 28th at 4:00 p.m. in the little back room at Has Beans. Come join us for discussion and support, and bring your mad friends. Is there a particular discussion topic you’d like? Please let us know!

Fliers and Outreach
We have some new fliers now, including quarter-page handbills. Want to help put them up or hand them out? See the attached PDFs, or we’d be happy to give you printed copies.

Mad love,

Abby
Northcoast Icarus

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Berkeley Woman Reclaims Home Seized by Wells Fargo
by KPFA Weekday News Friday Feb 25th, 2011 4:38 AM

http://www.indybay.org/js/flowplayer/flowplayer.swf

Berkeley resident Tanya Dennis broke back into her home, seized by Wells Fargo, and remained in possession. Dennis says that he has a forensic audit establishing that Wells Fargo is not the holder of the note, and that she lost an unlawful detainer action on process rather than pleading, because she is a Pro se litigant, i.e., she is acting as her own lawyer, and Wells Fargo has better attorneys than herself.

Tanya Dennis’ partner Ulysses “Jim” Montgomery (standing at the doorway) defended her home against Wells Fargo.

Tanya Dennis published “Why America’s in Foreclosure,” in the Oakland Post Online, on January 28, 2011, http://content.postnewsgroup.com/?p=11384.
http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/67818

The Power of the Media and Coalitions

February 25, 2011 By Tanya Dennis

Last Thursday I came home from work to another “Writ of Possession” posted on my door. For those readers that missed my previous article, I repossessed my home on January 18th after Wells Fargo had been awarded an unlawful detainer against me and the sheriff had evicted me and my family on December 7th. After a month of watching people trample through my home I went rogue, changed the locks and repossessed my home.
Unfortunately the Superior Court Judge would not consider my new evidence in the form of a forensic loan audit that proved Wells Fargo foreclosed upon me illegally. Unfortunately for citizens in Northern California courts, the courts fear the banks more than they fear the people.

The Sheriff’s writ of possession stated that I must vacate the premises by Thursday, February 24th. So now, having no other alternative, I called Wells Fargo and requested a modification. The answer was no. Fortunately for me I had written an article last week regarding the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and the Oakland Educator’s Association foreclosure protest that shut down Wells Fargo’s Fruitvale Branch. ACCE asked if I’d like them to stage a protest in front of my home. They asked me if I was willing to get arrested, the answer without hesitation was yes.

Tuesday night we sent press releases to over two hundred news sources.

Wednesday morning I called Wells Fargo and asked once again for a modification. The answer again was a resounding NO!!! That was 8:00 in the morning.

By 12 noon, I received a call from CBS, NBC and four other news affiliates asking for an interview. At 12:30 I received a call from the Vice President of consumer mortgages for Wells Fargo Bank asking me if “I was willing to work with them on a modification.”

The power of the press is astounding. The media called Wells Fargo; Wells Fargo started feeling the heat and changed their adamant no to a compromising yes. I don’t have the modification yet, but they called today for additional information. The lesson here is that there is power in media attention, but more important, there is power in forming coalitions. ACCE is an organization fighting for the people in this foreclosure war.
I also wish to acknowledge the Post for providing space for me to tell my story and I salute them for their courage while Wells Fargo refused to place Black History Month advertising with the Post news Group because of the coverage. I also thank the others who made calls and intervened on my behalf. Given the overwhelming responses my paper has received they have agreed to help sponsor a “Foreclosure Teach-in” with the Citizen’s Reform Center to help prevent the loss of homes.

For information contact, Tanyaddennis@yahoo.com. ACCE can be reached at 510-269-4692 x2 or at www.calorganize.org

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