Bank Settlement “Doesn’t Go Far Enough”
The $25 billion bank payout to homeowners announced by the Obama administration “doesn’t go far enough” to address the problem of hundreds of billions in overvalued homes, said Jordan Estavao, of the New Bottom Line coalition. Obama’s new task force on bank fraud is also open to question. “There has been a bank fraud task force set up by the Obama administration in place for the past two years, and they have done very little to bring the law to the banks,” said Estavao. “Certainly, no high level bank executives have indicted, to this point.”
Black Churches Target BB&T Bank
The National Black Church Initiative, representing 15.7 million African Americans in 34,000 churches, announced a seven-year boycott of BB&T, a regional bank centered in the Southeast. “They are not doing anything for the Black community in terms of community development,” and have “foreclosed on hundreds of Black churches,” said Initiative president Rev. Anthony Evans. He predicts BB&T will “suffer loss of at least 40 percent of their profits over the next seven years.”
Restaurant Chain Biased Against Black Workers
“Armed with data showing Blacks make $4 an hour less than whites in the restaurant industry, the Restaurant Opportunity Center United brought a class action suit against Darden Restaurants, owners of Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille. Blacks and other people of color are grossly under-represented in higher paid industry jobs, such as bartenders, said Center co-director Saru Javaraman. “Whites have twice the chance of getting front-of-the-house positions.” The Center is also pushing to raise the minimum wage for (mostly female) workers who depend on tips, which has been stuck at $2.13 for over 20 years.
Contraception Controversy is a “Phony Debate”
The recent battle over who should pay for female employees' contraceptives is “really a symptom of a dysfunctional health care system,” said Chicago-based labor activist and writer James Thindwa. “In societies where there is national health care, including Italy, which is heavily Catholic, they’re not having this debate, because the government is paying for health care,” he said. “This is an opportunity for those of us who champion single payer to point to this phony debate.”
Tim Wise: “A Perfect Storm for White Anxiety"
A combination of cultural, demographic, and economic challenges to white supremacy and privilege – plus the advent of a Black president – has created “a perfect storm for white anxiety,” said anti-racist activist and lecturer Tim Wise, author of the new book Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority. “As the economic system is crumbling,” many whites are locked into their own supremacist myths and “really don’t know how to cope.” Whites need to “take personal responsibility” to make the U.S. a better and more equal place, said Wise – and that means “fighting injustice.”
U.S. Imperial Policy Leads to War Crimes
Not a single Marine was sentenced to prison in the 2005 massacre of 24 unarmed Iraqi children, women, men and elderly, in the town of Haditha. “The lesson is that the United States government should refrain from invading other countries in illegal, imperialistic wars that then lead to the torture of prisoners and war crimes,” said Marjorie Cohn, professor at the Thomas Jefferson Law School, in San Diego, California, who has written extensively on the Haditha massacre.