History: The White Rose (via Wikipedia.org)

Monument to the “Weiße Rose” in front of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

The White Rose (German: die Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany led by a group of students and a professor at the University of Munich. The group conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign which called for active opposition against the Nazi regime. Their activities started in Munich on June 27th, 1942, and ended with the arrest of the core group by the Gestapo on February 18th, 1943.[1] They, as well as other members and supporters of the group who carried on distributing the pamphlets, faced show trials by the Nazi People’s Court (Volksgerichtshof), and many were sentenced to death or imprisonment.

The group wrote, printed and initially distributed their pamphlets in the greater Munich region. Later on, secret carriers brought copies to other cities, mostly in the southern parts of Germany. In total, the White Rose authored six leaflets, which were multiplied and spread, in a total of about 15,000 copies. They branded the Nazi regime’s crimes and oppression, and called for resistance. In their second leaflet, they openly denounced the persecution and mass murder of the Jews. By the time of their arrest, members of the White Rose were just about to establish contacts with other German resistance groups like the Kreisau Circle or the Schulze-Boysen/Harnack group of the Red Orchestra. Today, the White Rose is well-known within Germany and worldwide.

More at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Rose

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CEOs Now Make 300 Times More Than Their Workers. Portland Is Putting a Stop to That.

Runaway CEO pay contributes to income inequality and ultimately harms companies, so local governments aren’t waiting for a federal fix.

Starting in the 1990s, the failure of Congress to adequately raise the federal minimum wage gave rise to a prairie-fire movement of local activists pressing for local and state living wage ordinances. (Photo by zack Mccarthy/ flickr CC 2.0)

With national policy likely to compound the income and wealth gap in the coming years, states and localities are fighting back.

Across the country, local jurisdictions aren’t waiting for federal action or corporate governance reforms to close the wage gap. In December, for example, the city of Portland, Oregon, passed an ordinance to raise the business tax on companies with CEOs who earn more than 100 times the median pay of their workers. Portland officials said the ordinance is the first of its kind in the country. And now, more cities and states are poised to follow suit.

“The huge divide in income and wealth has real-world implications,” Steve Novick wrote last October in Inequality.org. Novick sponsored the ordinance when he was on the Portland City Council. “Too many Americans cannot get a leg up,” he wrote. “Income inequality undermines the American dream.”

Portland city government projects the tax will raise $2.5 million to $3.5 million a year, which city officials have said will likely help pay for the city’s homeless programs.

Inspired by the living wage movement

Portland’s ordinance comes on the heels of decades of grass-roots activism around the issue of wage inequality.

Starting in the 1990s, the failure of Congress to adequately raise the federal minimum wage gave rise to a prairie-fire movement of local activists pressing for local and state living wage ordinances. Living wage ordinances typically cover a segment of workers, such as employees of government contractors, while minimum wage laws cover all workers. By 2010, over 120 jurisdictions had passed local living wage laws, and at present, 41 jurisdictions have passed minimum wage laws.

I expect this pay gap reform movement to spread like wildfire.

“I expect this pay gap reform movement to spread like wildfire, just as the living wage movement did,” said Sarah Anderson from the Institute for Policy Studies. “I’ve gotten inquiries from over two dozen states and cities about how to establish a pay gap ordinance.”

Anderson lobbied the Portland City Council in support of the policy and testified at a public hearing. She has since compiled resources for communities interested in instituting a CEO-worker pay gap penalty.

Statewide laws similar to the Portland ordinance have also been proposed in Illinois, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Connecticut.

Meanwhile, some CEOs are advocating against these reforms. The conservative Business Roundtable, for example—which is an association of CEOs nationwide—has identified the repeal of federal pay ratio disclosure regulations as one of its top priorities.

Runaway CEO pay problem

The statistics showing the widening pay gap between CEOs and their workers are stunning. In the mid-1960s, the gap was about 20 to 1. By 2014, the gap had swollen to about 300 to 1.

“Skyrocketing CEO pay is one of the drivers of increased US income concentration,” Anderson says.

Between 1979 and 2007, rising pay for corporate executives was a “major factor” contributing to income expansion for the top 1 percent, according to a 2015 report by the Economic Policy Institute. Meanwhile, worker wages have largely stagnated since the late 1970s.

Public corporations will have to disclose their CEO-worker pay ratio, starting with their 2017 pay figures.

Runaway CEO pay contributes to income inequality, but it also harms companies. CEO pay practices drove the reckless bonus culture that fueled the 2008 economic meltdown. And corporate governance experts recognize that large pay disparities are bad for company performance and undermine morale within firms.

As a result, company shareholders globally have tried to rein in excessive pay. And as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, public corporations will have to disclose their CEO-worker pay ratio, starting with their 2017 pay figures.

Nationally, some federal and state lawmakers have proposed capping the tax deductibility of CEO pay. Currently, corporations can deduct unlimited amounts of so-called performance pay, including stock options and certain types of bonuses. This means that the more corporations pay their CEOs, the less they pay in taxes. Sens. Jack Reed and Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Lloyd Doggett are leading efforts to get rid of this perverse loophole.

Recently, these lawmakers reintroduced the 2017 Stop Subsidizing Multimillion Dollar Corporate Bonuses Act, which would treat bonuses as salaries and cap their deductibility at $1 million.

Several other federal lawmakers — including Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Bonnie Watson Coleman — have championed the CEO Accountability and Responsibility Act to link federal tax rates to companies’ CEO-worker pay ratios. The Act increases rates on companies with a relatively large CEO-worker pay gap and reduces taxes on companies with a relatively small pay gap.

But with a Wall Street-friendly Congress and a Trump administration likely to block federal reforms to address the CEO-worker pay gap, the arena of struggle will likely be at the local and state level.

The Portland ordinance

The Portland ordinance shows what local jurisdictions can do to address runaway CEO pay.

It applies to large corporations with the most egregious pay disparities. Portland government has identified over 500 such companies. A number of these top the annual list of CEO compensation, including Honeywell, Oracle, Wells Fargo, General Electric and Goldman Sachs. The ordinance only applies to public corporations like these because they are required to disclose their pay ratio through the new federal disclosure requirement.

Cities and states have the ability to address runaway inequality.

Most private and smaller- to medium-size public businesses in the city will not be subjected to the tax. Portland city government projects that 88 percent of revenue will come from the top 10 percent of corporate taxpayers; if you expand that to include the top 20 percent of corporate taxpayers, then it’s 96 percent.

Wall Street’s representatives in Congress will be working to gut the federal disclosure law for pay ratios in the coming year. But cities and states have the ability to address runaway inequality. Watch for more local jurisdictions to push forward CEO-worker pay gap reform.

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SF revives effort to establish public bank (sfexaminer.com)

New Shape Prize 2017

Dear Mike,

The New Shape Prize is in full swing and ready for your entry!  We are encouraged by the enthusiasm of the 10,500+ individuals and teams that have already registered their interest to re-imagine global governance.

With the submission portal now open, you will start to receive bi-weekly emails to keep you up to date on the competition and get support as you complete your proposal.

Here are the steps to submit your proposal:

  1. Log in to your account using the email and password combination to used to register
  2. Start your proposal by clicking “Add entry”
  3. Invite co-authors who will contribute to the proposal, or skip this step if you are the sole author
  4. Upload your entry by including the following five parts:
    • Abstract – 1000 words max.
    • Description of the model – 5500 words max.
    • How the model meets the assessment criteria – 2750 words max.
    • References
    • Attachments – 2 illustrations (optional)

You can read the complete instructions for submitting your proposal here.

In need of inspiration for your entry?

Read the latest interview from Global Challenges Foundation founder László Szombatfalvy. Find out what inspired the prize competition and why effective global cooperation is so needed today.

Follow #NewShapePrize on Facebook and Twitter to see the Shapemaker Coalitions already forming!
Global Challenges Foundation

Birger Jarlsgatan 57 C, 113 56 Stockholm, Sweden | +46 (0) 709 98 97 97 | www.globalchallenges.org

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“The real plight of the homeless told by homeless” by Mike Zint (peoplestribune.org)

Mike Zint of ‘First They Came for the Homeless’ talks to some Berkeley, CA street kids after their chalking action defending their right to sleep.  PHOTO/SARAH MENEFEE

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA — Housing is not a reality. How many years do you have to wait? So, until then, you are a target. No stability at all. Keep your gear close. They are coming for you. No place to hide, no place to go, no choices left. Except drugs or insanity.

The real plight of the homeless!

During police sweeps you have a few minutes to save your belongings if you are lucky. Cities have no intention of preserving or keeping it for you. The intention is to purposely steal it as punishment for being homeless in public. To fight back is impossible. You need money to do that. Or lawyers. And good luck getting a lawyer. They want big bucks.

Things I used to own: baby pictures, multiple warm sleeping bags, cell phones, computer, extra clothing, backpacks, inhalers, and a jewelry making set up that took years to develop. This has happened multiple times.

Why do they do it? Because there is no room for poor people anywhere. Harass them, steal from them, abuse them, torture them, and maybe they will move along.

Mental disabilities and drug use are often the end result.

Class warfare waged by the Chambers of Commerce, commercial districts, business associations are the reality. And it won’t stop until enough people get screwed by the corrupt, greedy system!

Homeless people get almost no choice. Shelter system, sleep on the sidewalk, hide a tent.

Shelters are one step above jail. Abuse by staff, violence, lice, bed bugs, exposure to illness, these exist in shelters. So, is it really a choice?

Sleeping on the sidewalk (exposed) is horrible too. Cardboard for meager insulation, no padding except for a sleeping bag, no privacy except what exists between your nose and the blanket you are hiding under. Yes, hiding is accurate. For mental stability, privacy and security are needed. When a blanket was what l had, that little space had to do. Fear never leaves either. Will I get rousted by cops? Robbed? Beaten? So, the longer you live this way, the worse your mental state becomes.

So, hide a tent is left. This works until you are found. When found, your gear is usually confiscated. You are ticketed. And you spend the next few nights in a shelter, or on a sidewalk exposed.

Think about that. Understand why a tent city is so important. And ask yourselves why we aren’t allowed to take care of ourselves? Changing that could end homelessness.

We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2017 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

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Salesforce Tower tops off (sf.curbed.com)

The top floor (number 61, but who’s counting?) has been christened the Salesforce Ohana Floor (ohana is the word “family” in Hawaiian), where offices and conference rooms are verboten. During the workday, the Ohana floor will be used for Salesforce meetings, but according to Benioff, on nights and weekends it will be turned over to the city, free of charge, for events and community gatherings.

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First They Came for the Homeless

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Benjamin Royer

April 8, 2017

The city of Berkeley did something right for a change. Instead of the usual raids, they cut the grass at the site of our camp. What the city would normally do is send a very large number of cops, and then do the grounds maintenance. I wish to say thank you to the city of Berkeley. We are currently at HERE & THERE on Adeline. The grass was becoming impassable to the wheelchairs and this is why I say that the city of Berkeley did right.

–Benjamin Royer

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