Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
OccupyForum

Forum Post: A National Call: Come to Detroit, Link Arms to Stop the Water Shut Offs and Fight for Democracy

Posted 5 months ago on July 15, 2014, 11:11 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

A National Call: Come to Detroit, Link Arms to Stop the Water Shut Offs and Fight for Democracy

Tuesday, 15 July 2014 13:14
By Ben Ptashnik, Truthout | Op-Ed

After thousands have had their water shut off in Detroit, people plan to converge downtown in the city to protest the human rights violation, demand democracy and inveigh against the privatization that has ensued since the Wall Street-engineered financial crisis.

Oh, make you wanna holler

The way they do my life

This ain't livin', this ain't livin'

No, no baby, this ain't livin'

No, no, no, no

Marvin Gaye - Inner City Blues

On July 18, thousands of activists and dozens of organizations will converge in downtown Detroit to protest the privatization of the city's assets, and the disconnection of water to tens of thousands of low-income residents - what the UN has called a human rights violation. Demonstrators from around the country will come to rally in Hart Plaza at 1 PM to link arms with the citizens of Detroit to protest the hostile corporate takeover by Wall Street banks and their radical ALEC-led political allies in the Michigan Statehouse.

The activist community of Detroit put out this call for help:

We call on activists everywhere to come to Detroit on Friday, July 18 for a rally and march to fight the dictatorship of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, appointed by millionaire Republican Governor Rick Snyder, and backed by Wall Street bankers and the 1%. Under a state-imposed bankruptcy, the City of Detroit workers face severe cuts to their pensions and tens of thousand people face water shut-offs.

The banks who have destroyed Detroit's neighborhoods through racist predatory subprime mortgages and saddled the city of Detroit with fraudulent subprime financing continue to loot the people of Detroit.

Detroiters have lost their democratic rights - "elected" officials serve at the pleasure of the unelected Emergency Manager - and may be fired at any time.

  • Detroit Moratorium Now and Freedom Fridays Coalition

On that very week, starting July 15, the Federal Bankruptcy Court in downtown Detroit will be holding hearings, and the people of Detroit will be speaking out against the emergency manager's economic "Plan of Adjustment."

The people of Detroit - 83 percent African-American - know that their crisis was fabricated to force bankruptcy and corporate "emergency management." In 2012, they fought to get a public initiative on the Michigan ballot, and then overwhelmingly defeated Public Act 4, the anti-democratic law that granted the emergency manager complete authority over local officials, the power to nullify public rulings and bodies, and to abrogate collective bargaining contracts.

But so intent was the right-wing legislature and Governor Snyder to subvert the will of the people that in a lame duck session immediately following the referendum, the legislature issued a newer version of the law, Public Act 436, which they attached to an appropriation bill - a parliamentary trick that eliminated the possibility of another referendum.

The suspension of democratic government that is embedded in PA 436 enabled a "hostile takeover" of Detroit that facilitates the financial industry's ongoing brutal attack on the working poor, city workers and the elderly. Many Detroiters believe that the aggressive foreclosures and water shut-offs are a deliberate scheme to shock the population, drive long-time residents out of the city center, seize property and gentrify downtown Detroit and the waterfront. This game plan was already perpetrated in Benton Harbor, Michigan, when that city was forced into emergency management. Corporate vultures have already begun grabbing chunks of Benton Harbor's waterfront.

Detroit was no more "bankrupt" than many American cities suffering post-2008 losses of their real estate tax base, a crisis caused directly by Wall Street's derivatives "bubble" and real estate manipulations. However, Motor City was particularly devastated by the banks' subprime mortgage schemes, which targeted African-Americans who the banks knew could not afford the loans they promoted. Detroit had the largest percentage of subprime victims per capita of any city in the United States. Foreclosures in the city now continue at one of the highest rates in the country, according to a Haas Institute report.

The 2008 Ponzi scheme market collapse also led to $1.5 billion in budget-fix loans foisted on the city by a bank consortium led by Bank of America, loans connected to the LIBOR interest rate manipulation crimes, for which the banks were indicted and fined. According to Bloomberg News, these faulty loans were coupled with unnecessary default insurance schemes sold by disreputable brokers to a corrupt Detroit mayor, who saddled the city with over $474 million in unnecessary default swap costs. The mayor was later convicted and jailed on charges of racketeering and bribery.

But the banks were given a free ride. Many cities with almost the same financial red ink as Detroit - cities like Chicago, for example - renegotiated bad loans with help from their state capitals. But Michigan's state government and the banks are holding Detroit hostage. After the takeover of Michigan’s legislature by the right-wing in 2010, and the election of Tea Party darling Governor Snyder, the Republican legislature manipulated the business taxes so that the state lost over a billion dollars in revenue in 2013 alone, and backed out of previously allocated revenue-sharing funds to the city.

Then, in a prime example of a "cure seeking a disease," long-term solvency of the city pension obligations was deliberately confused with short-term cash flow to accentuate the appearance of a financial crisis, according to Tom Barrow, mayoral candidate, CPA and former head of the Michigan Licensing Board of Accountancy.

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/24849-a-national-call-come-to-detroit-link-arms-to-stop-the-water-shut-offs-and-fight-for-democracy.

33 Comments

33 Comments


Read the Rules
[-] 5 points by turbocharger (1718) 5 months ago

Just because a concrete plan is not in place, does not mean the people cannot figure it out. The infrastructure is there for the most part, and 100% of Americans want water for their brothers and sisters, assuming they feel that way about them.

That being said, there is a lot of hate in the country right now. This hate has to be overcome if real, structural change is to occur.

We have been figuring out how to transport water for ages. This is not a complicated system to figure out, it may need to be compartmentalized a bit, but its extremely capable.

And again, if its getting turned off regardless, and the other option your corrupt politicians have put on the table is to privatize it, what do you have to lose?

Nothing. Only Lots to Gain. Time to Step Up Our Game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yr1Qe2m8oOA

[-] -3 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 months ago

So what's your plan?

How are doing with taking over water distribution in Florida?

How are doing with your hateful Governor?

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/fundraiser-rick-scott-florida-geo-group

He does love your schools to prison pipeline.

Racist that he is. Fascist too.

[-] 4 points by turbocharger (1718) 5 months ago

Some people will tell you that the people cannot run a water plant. They are not smart enough, cannot be trained, etc. Or any other slew of excuses.

But if its getting turned off, whats the difference?

Remember, there are a million ways to get things done. Having to choose between corrupt government pods and corrupt corporate suits are not your only option.

The opportunity will come if we realize it. Otherwise it will be a transfer from the corrupt government to the corrupt corporations, seamless.

People are the answer, they always have been.

[+] -5 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 months ago

What's your plan big shot?

How do you propose to take over the largest distribution system in the World?

now much of Florida have you taken over so far.

You do like talk about how awful it is.

Duopoly and all.

What have you taken over?

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 months ago

A New Gameplan for Taking Down Privatizers

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 00:00
By Sam Pizzigati, Too Much | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/24980-a-new-gameplan-for-taking-down-privatizers

Analysts at the OECD, the Paris-based research agency, have just shared a grim prediction: If current trends "prevail," all developed nations will show by 2060 "the same level of inequality as currently experienced by the United States."

If we let those current trends continue, that conclusion sounds about right. But why on earth should we let those trends continue? The trends that have made our world so unequal don't reflect some inevitable unfolding of globalization. They reflect wrong-headed political decisions. We can make different decisions.

Take privatization. Over the past four decades, governments all around the world have chosen to privatize a broad array of public services. These privatizations have generated vast new concentrations of private wealth, among them the $75 billion fortune of Carlos Slim, the world's second-richest single individual.

Our privatizers are still seeking new worlds to conquer. In the United States, for instance, they're aggressively going after public education, a near $.7 trillion annual jackpot. But privatizers today are increasingly facing as much resistance as opportunity. All over the world, publics are beginning to reject the privatization mantra. The privatizers, turns out, have a problem with their pitch.

"Privatization," as the Guardian's Seumas Milne put it last week, "isn't working."

Privatizers everywhere promise more efficient services and cheaper prices. Most people, Milne points out, have experienced the opposite. And privatized enterprises, he adds, haven't just failed on service and price. They've "concentrated economic decision-making in fewer and fewer hands, deepened inequality, and failed to deliver the investment essential to sustainable growth."

All these perverse realities, notes a just-released report from University of Glasgow economist Andrew Cumbers, are spurring a growing global push "to take back utility sectors into public ownership."

But not just any public ownership, not the old overcentralized state entities "far removed from the ordinary citizen." Privatization's critics are looking instead at "new forms of public ownership" that "encourage broader engagement and participation in economic life by the wider public."

The new Cumbers report for the London-based Centre for Labour and Social Studies describes and compares a variety of these imaginative new forms. Some are just getting underway. Others — like Denmark's new approach to energy policy — are already delivering rather amazing results.

Denmark is nurturing innovative "public-public" partnerships. In 2001, one of these partnerships constructed off the coast of Copenhagen what then rated as the world's largest wind farm. The partners: Copenhagen Energy, the municipally owned local utility of Denmark's largest city, and a cooperative run by the over 10,000 local residents who had purchased shares in it.

A similar cooperative-local government utility model, observes the University of Glasgow's Cumbers, has helped the Danish island of Samsoe "become one of the first places in the world to become 100 percent efficient in renewable energy."

In our new Information Age, some egalitarians are now proposing, we need to do more than undo the privatization of the traditional "natural monopolies" in sectors like electricity, water, and public transportation. Last week, for instance, brought a call to turn companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon into public utilities.

These corporate giants, notes analyst RJ Eskow, have "achieved monopoly or near-monopoly status." They profit off publicly funded technologies like the Internet but operate "without regard for the public interest." And they don't even pay their own full tax share.

"Each of these Big Tech corporations has the ability to filter — and alter — our very perceptions of the world around us," relates Eskow. "And each of them has already shown a willingness to abuse it for their own ends."

Over a century ago, Americans saw similar abuses in the new technologies of their own day. Their America was transforming at breakneck speed, from a rural to urban society. The nation's newly overstuffed cities, big and small alike, found themselves needing to move and warm and light ever-denser populations.

Private corporations rushed in with new technologies to deliver these services, and municipalities in the early 1900s showered franchises with hundreds of millions of dollars for gas and telephone lines, street railways, and electricity.

In some cities, companies bid honestly against each other to win these lucrative franchises. In most, honesty would not be among the bidding criteria. Private utility companies passed politicians kickbacks. Politicians passed utilities monopoly pricing power — and signed franchise agreements that locked down exorbitant phone and gas and light rates for years to come.

"In no other way," historian Otis Pease would later note, "can wealth be obtained so easily."

Public anger at the holders of this wealth would, in city after city, turn many of these fabulously lucrative, privately provided services into public utilities. America, in the process, would become significantly more equal.

We could do the same today.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 months ago

Why Does Argentina Not Simply Default Again?

Tuesday, 15 July 2014 10:57
By Jerome Roos, ROAR Magazine | Op-Ed

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/24966-why-does-argentina-not-simply-default-again

On December 20, 2001, amidst a devastating three-year-old financial crisis and following 48 hours of unprecedented mass protests and a wave of police repression that left more than thirty people dead, Argentina’s embattled President Fernando De la Rúa was forced to resign and escape the Casa Rosadaby helicopter. His successor’s first act in office was to declare an immediate suspension of payments on the country’s enormous debt — constituting the largest sovereign default in world history. On Christmas Eve, with beautiful Buenos Aires still smouldering from the insurrection, Interim President Rodríquez Saá addressed Congress and declared that “the gravest thing that has happened here is that priority has been given to the foreign debt while the state has an internal obligation with its own people.”

Fast-forward to mid-2014 and the fall-out of that decision — to honor Argentina’s internal obligation with its people — still haunts the country. Argentina is currently engaged in a protracted legal battle with a number of US-based “vulture funds”, which specialize in buying up the debt of distressed sovereigns at greatly discounted prices and then suing the government for full value. Back in 2005 and 2010, these vultures rejected the terms of Argentina’s negotiated debt restructuring with private creditors. The deal had brought the country’s default episode to a successful close, with 93% of creditors accepting crisp new bonds worth 30 cents on the dollar. The claims of the remaining 7% of so-called “hold-out” creditors were formally repudiated by the government. In recent years, however, these hold-outs creditors — led by Elliot Management, owned by multi-billionaire hedge fund tycoon Peter Singer — have been pursuing aggressive legal action to get Argentina to repay them in full anyway.

The vultures have been aided in their financial arm-twisting by a series of sympathetic court rulings back home. Last month, the US Supreme Court effectively upheld a decision by Judge Thomas Griesa of the US District Court for Southern New York, who had earlier ruled that Argentina is legally obliged to repay the hold-out creditors in full. In the past, Argentina cared little for such rulings, as US courts do not have jurisdiction in Argentina and private creditors, despite trying, consistently failed to attach the country’s foreign assets — including its embassies, warships and presidential airplane — because they enjoy sovereign immunity. This time, however, the US District Court’s decision was not just a paper tiger. To add teeth to his ruling, Griesa prohibited all US-based financial intermediaries from processing Argentina’s payments to its othercreditors if it does not first settle with the vulture funds. The result has been to put a gun to the government’s head: either it repays the vultures, or it will fall into its second sovereign default in 12 years.

The threat became particularly acute when, on June 30, a bond fell due that Argentina — as a result of Griesa’s ruling — was unable to pay, even though it deposited the money with a New York clearing house to be transferred to its creditors. The government now has a 30-day grace period to avoid falling into formal default. This means that, before July 30, it will have to arrive at a settlement with the vultures over an acceptable rate and schedule of repayment. One major obstacle is that, as a result of a law passed during the 2005 restructuring, Argentina’s government is legally prohibited from offering the hold-outs a better deal than those who participated in the restructuring. Another obstacle is the political capital that President Fernández and her late husband, ex-President Kirchner, have invested in opposing and railing against the vultures. Now the government needs to weigh what laws and what audience weigh more heavily: Argentine laws and citizens, or US laws and investors?

When put in this perspective, one may wonder why Argentina does not simply reject Griesa’s ruling altogether. Why violate your own laws and your internal obligation with your own people? Why not just default again?

The problem is that default is costly — especially when you depend on good relations with foreign investors to reanimate a moribund economy. Argentina is currently mired in recession and high inflation, and over the past year its currency reserves have dwindled to $30 billion. Widespread capital flight continues to put pressure on the ever-unstable peso, and the black market for dollars is thriving as middle-class Argentinians seek to insure themselves against external financial shocks and unpredictable government behavior by saving up dollars. This, combined with a gloomy external environment — including a Chinese growth slowdown, the roll-back of the Federal Reserve’s monetary stimulus program in the US, and the generalized slump in commodity prices — renders Argentina increasingly dependent on foreign capital to maintain key economic indicators like growth, employment and price stability.

Moreover, the costs of default are not equally spread out across society. While the alternative of default (full repayment, or at least some kind of settlement with the hold-outs) would be costly for those social classes that depend more heavily on state expenditure for their own livelihoods, default itself is usually particularly costly for the domestic elite, which tends to be invested in its government’s bonds and which derives much greater economic advantage from deep integration into global financial markets. Despite the national-populist discourse of the Kirchner/Fernández governments, these elites still hold a disproportionate share of the decision-making power in Argentina today — it is just that under the neo-Peronist policy regime of the past decade the center of gravity has shifted back towards the national bourgeoisie at the expense of the deeply integrated financial establishment, or patria financiera, which thrived under the neoliberal governments of Menem and De la Rúa in the 1990s.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 months ago

And so it is not necessarily the US court ruling itself that now binds Argentina’s hands behind its back. As Ezequiel Adamovsky pointed out in his TeleSUR column last week, the rulings of Judge Griesa are pronounced against a political economic background of asymmetric and peripheral integration into world trade and the global financial system. Argentina has always been a commodity exporter, dependent on world demand for meat, grain and minerals for its own economic development. The past ten years of neo-developmentalism under the left-Peronist governments of the Kirchners have done little to alter this dependent economic structure. While the country’s main export industries have since shifted to minerals and soy, the fundamental pattern of extractivism remains the same. And now that the long commodity boom of the past decade is finally coming to an end, Argentina’s financial dependence on foreign capital — which goes back to its creation as an independent state with close links to British Empire and the City of London — is accentuated anew.

As a result, Argentina currently finds itself in an increasingly precarious fiscal and financial situation. Earlier in January this year, the government received a taste of what may yet lie ahead when the peso suddenly lost 16% of its value on a single trading day, raising fears of another decennial financial collapse being in-the-making. This is why the Kirchner government has recently been pushing for a normalization of the country’s relationship with its foreign creditors, starting with the Paris Club of bilateral lenders, with whom it sealed a landmark deal in May to clear some $9.7 billion of arrears. It is also why Economy Minister Axel Kicillof is now reported to be negotiating a settlement with the hold-outs, despite the government’s decade-old game of chicken with foreign creditors and its rhetorical denunciations of the vultures. Argentina has already been forced back to the negotiating table with a gun to its head, and while it keeps kicking and screaming, the government now slowly appears to be resigning itself to its structural dependence on foreign capital.

What, then, are the lessons we should take away from this experience? In my opinion, there are two crucial points. First, governments do not simply default because they are asked to; they only default when they are forced to. Argentina’s historic 2001 default was a complex phenomenon, one that cannot simply be reduced to a “confrontation with Wall Street” (in fact, it turns out that by December 2001, many Wall Street bankers, IMF officials and even the US government openly supported an Argentine default, for the simple reason that Wall Street had already dumped most of its bonds on unsuspecting European retail investors in a major debt swap earlier that year). Nevertheless, the country’s unilateral default was “won” through the struggle of ordinary Argentinians, through the tireless grassroots work of autonomous social movements, and through the relentless pressure brought to bear on the political establishment by the spontaneous popular insurrection of December 2001. If there is to be another default, President Fernández is not likely to consent to the economic spillover costs voluntarily; her hand will have to be forced somehow.

The second and closely related lesson is perhaps more depressing, and concerns the complicated ways in which the global capitalist power structure — and thefinancial power structure in particular — manages over time to recode, co-opt and neutralize almost all forms of “state activism” against neoliberal orthodoxy, including progressive and leftist strategies for national self-determination and popular empowerment in Latin America. Argentina’s default of 2001 marked a partial victory for the country’s powerful grassroots movements, but subsequent developments have witnessed the re-emergence of the traditional Peronist elite, the re-entrenchment of the national bourgeoisie, and now the gradual re-integration of the country into global capital markets. As the government increasingly normalizes its relations with its foreign creditors, the disciplinary pressures of global finance will make themselves felt anew — and it is not unlikely that the government will soon find itself re-internalizing the neoliberal orthodoxy that was supposedly thrown out with the 2001 default.

Argentina is far from alone in this respect. A similar pattern is unfolding in Ecuador — the only country to have followed in Argentina’s footsteps by imposing a unilateral moratorium on its foreign private creditors in 2008. After years of railing against the global usurers, President Correa is now seeking to normalize relations with foreign investors and the World Bank, drawing the ire of his former political ally Alberto Acosta — now a prominent opposition figure on the left — who recently remarked that “revolutionary and anti-imperialist discourses rapidly dissipate faced with a proposal to modernize capitalism,” lamenting that “this regressive wave takes on more and more indelible hues, as over-indebtedness — as shown by history — will demand increasing expansion of extractive frontiers at all levels, and overpower the need to end dependency and construct authentic economic sovereignty.”

As the vultures of global finance circle over Argentina once more, the state’s internal obligation to its own people — temporarily reinforced by the 2001 uprising — increasingly begins to fray. In the process, ordinary Argentinians are re-discovering that ending dependency will require much more than railing against the vultures only to subsequently acquiesce to their demands. Constructing authentic economic sovereignty will require a number of sacrifices that — despite a flurry of public statements to the contrary — Argentina’s current government does not appear to be willing or able to make.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 2 points by turbocharger (1718) 5 months ago

There is a very simple solution to this. And its the solution to most of our problems. But it takes a level of involvement, and level of aggressiveness, that we are not used to.

And afterwards, it takes a certain level of commitment that we, as a nation, as states, as counties and as communities, are not willing at this point to commit to.

The answer is simple.

Take the fuckin shit over.

If there is money for bankers, and money for corporations, and yet they still tax the living shit out of us, and we keep on working and we keep, as individuals (for the most part) keep trying to do the right things....

If the government no longer respects that, then the time to respect them back is over. The globe over is showing their disapproval of us, countries are tired of our nonsense. That nonsense is the same nonsense we deal with here. Perks for them, shit for us.

Take the shit over. Just fuckin take it.

The amount of man power to run a water supply is miniscule compared to the amount of people whom need it. Communities can run this easily. NOT through government, and not by privatizing it, but by simply running, as a team, through a mutual understanding of one another.

When people get to the point where they realize that they are in charge, that they alone are reason and cause of everything, either through complacence or through unwillingness to lead, we will see how easily this can be achieved.

If the government is not willing to do it correctly, do not be fooled into thinking that privatizing it to a corporation is the only other option. There are many options. But it all starts with one mindset.

If it is not performing as needed, and it is not servicing the public that the public wants it to, then it is up to the public to rise up to the challenge and run it correctly.

Just. Take. The. MotherFuckin. Water Facility.

[-] 2 points by turbocharger (1718) 5 months ago

99Proud, this is my thoughts on the water situation in Detroit.

[-] 2 points by turbocharger (1718) 5 months ago

The anarchists have been right from the get go, that is why they have never had a chance to perform on a large scale.

When the people get together and start figuring it out, society blends together and no longer is government necessary, and no longer do we need to fear corporations as an engaged public will not endorse them with their dollars, instead realizing that support of one another leads to the best life.

[-] 0 points by 99nproud (2697) 5 months ago

"where do we shit?"

http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2014/07/detroit_water_department_to_pr.html

Regarding your comments

Deep, general, not specific to the topic, but a welcome substant'y' comment. & on topic! (generally).

[-] 1 points by turbocharger (1718) 5 months ago

Which part was not specific enough for you? I will be glad to clear it up.

[-] 0 points by 99nproud (2697) 5 months ago

Well you didn't mention Detroit, water, or the related current events.

You did mention "anarchists", their difficulties in the past (in general), "Society" & the need to "blend" (applicable but hardly specific), & the "government" "no longer necessary".

Can't argue with your general points but not very topic specific.

Like this:

http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/07/17/water-human-right-advocates-call-end-detroit-water-shutoffs/

Whattaya think?

[-] 2 points by turbocharger (1718) 5 months ago

Do you have any thoughts on the above post?

[-] 2 points by turbocharger (1718) 5 months ago

Check the comment above it, that was the lead comment of mine on this water thread, clearly addressing the water situation, and obviously speaking of Detroit.

That should clear it all up for you.

[-] -2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 months ago

How much of Florida have you managed to "take over"?

Besides the local bar?

I do recall you have trouble grasping the FACT that it's the LARGEST drinking water distribution system in the World.

Here's what's actually going on.

http://www.eclectablog.com/2014/07/video-protest-against-detroit-water-shutoffs-7182014.html

http://www.freep.com/article/20140719/NEWS01/307190012/Detroit-water-shutoff-crisis

http://www.freep.com/article/20140718/NEWS01/307180148/

http://www.freep.com/article/20140718/NEWS01/307180136/

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140718/METRO01/307180043

And an oped that's been running on the front page of the "right wing" paper for over week, mimicking the words of the CEO over at Nestle's, who by the way is pumping millions of gallons a day out of the mid Michigan aquifer.

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140717/OPINION01/307170005/There-no-right-free-water

Just take it over, indeed.

Fool.

[-] 5 points by turbocharger (1718) 5 months ago

I least I don't humor racists. Go troll someone else.

[+] -4 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 months ago

Whiskey

Tango

Foxtrot

There's another statement from you that needs a quote.

You've been a troll since you first got here.

Just defend your idiotic statements please.

That's all I've ever asked of you.

You fail, every single time.

[-] 3 points by turbocharger (1718) 5 months ago

I dont answer to people who allow racism or pal around with them. I also dont answer to people who support an Israeli occupation of Palestine.

On both of those accounts, you are guilty, so as I stated before, go troll someone else.

[-] -3 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 months ago

Bullshit, you talk to yourself all the time.

So what's your BIG plan to take over the Detroit water system?

You're always asking everyone else what their plan is.

What's yours, troll?

[-] 4 points by turbocharger (1718) 5 months ago

[-] -2 points by ZenDog (14026) from South Burlington, VT 1 day ago If someone marched into your neighborhood and declared it theirs someone like the British perhaps The British, whom the Israelis tossed out of the Middle East. Fukin towel heads should be grateful ↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink

If that is allowed, you deserve nothing. Go troll someone else.

[-] -3 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 months ago

How about some links to your love of bar fights?

When talked about how the BIG dog always wins?

How about some links to all your insults as hchc and so many others.

How about a copy of all the PMs you sent him, in your attempt to rile him up?

Did you get the reaction you were looking for?

You are no innocent.

You came here to troll and you still are trolling.

Would you like to talk about how you and others ganged up on fellow posters?

That's REAL troll behavior.

That's your behavior.

So what's your plan to take over the Detroit water system?

Mr. Chest thumper.

[-] 3 points by turbocharger (1718) 5 months ago

Again:

I dont answer to people who allow racism or pal around with them. I also dont answer to people who support an Israeli occupation of Palestine.

On both of those accounts, you are guilty, so as I stated before, go troll someone else.

[-] -3 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 months ago

Again and again.

I've asked you comment on the fascist in your own backyard.

You couldn't do it.

http://www.rickscottwatch.blogspot.com/

You never had a single cogent comment.

Nope, you just change the subject, or start a new thread, like trashy taught you.

For all your BIG talk about better candidates.

Did you even notice that the guy who wropte the book you refuse to comment onis running for office in Florida?

I doubt he's libe(R)tarain, but he does actually know who the fascists are.

You?

Not so much.

What did you say to ZD to rile him up?

Come to think of it, you never did comment on the schools to prison pipeline, based purely on racism in your State.

Not much about the Travon Martin murder either.

ZD?

Pot meet kettle.

You are no innocent hchc.

[-] 4 points by turbocharger (1718) 5 months ago

You can ask all you want, you deserve zero respect at this point so go troll someone else. This is the 4th time Ive requested you stop trolling me.

[-] -3 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 months ago

Troll elsewhere yourself.

It's your cabal that deserves no respect hchc.

It was you who trolled me, with your BS.

It was you who trolled ZD, on the forum and in PMs.

It was you who trolled some BS about taking over the Detroit water system.

It was you that LIED about your role in the cabal in the first place.

Like I said.

That makes you the troll.

So answer your own question.

What's your plan to take over the Detroit water system?

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 months ago

Crowdsourcing Our Way Out of the Crisis of Democracy

Tuesday, 15 July 2014 11:20
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/24971-crowdsourcing-our-way-out-of-the-crisis-of-democracy

More Americans are fed up with the phony democracy that exists in the United States. Across the nation people are engaged in democracy rebellions as many re-examine the nation’s roots, especially with the 4th of July weekend just passing.

The Declaration of Independence proclaims that when a government does not support the rights and needs of the people, then

“it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Have we reached that point? Many think so. A recent poll found 74% of Americans agree the broken political system needs to be fixed first. The poll found that “corruption of government by big money and frustration with the abuses of the political ruling class: incumbent politicians, lobbyists, the elite media, big business, big banks, big unions, and big special interests unites Americans.” And, “the battle lines of the new political order are emerging. When presented with the proposition that ‘the real struggle for America is not between Democrats and Republicans but mainstream America and the ruling political elites,’ over 66% of voters agree.”

According to the poll, Americans see the sad reality of the state of the country and are ready to rebel: “Eighty-six percent of all voters believe political leaders are more interested in protecting their power than in doing what’s right for the American people. Eighty-three percent believe the country is run by an alliance of incumbent politicians, media pundits, lobbyists, and other interests for their own gain. Further, 79% believe that powerful interests from Wall Street banks to corporations, unions, and PACs use campaign and lobbying money to rig the system to serve themselves and that they loot the national treasury at the expense of every American.”

We have highlighted how representative democracy often does the opposite of what super-majorities of the people want (see also this and this). The people see this lack of representation and turn off — half do not register to vote and in most elections tiny minorities of registered voters bother to vote. Recently there have been reports about how government no longer represents the people but represents a small minority of the wealthy (see these three reports here, here and here). Academics are beginning to describe the United States as an oligarchy, plutocracy or managed democracy. All this adds up to: The US government has lost its democratic legitimacy.

Americans Faced Blatantly Undemocratic Actions

Repeatedly the people of the United States are shown how anti-democratic the government really is. We saw this multiple times just in the last week.

The power of the big business corporate interests is regularly seen in the government where there is massive crony capitalism and corporate welfare. Policies are designed to help the corporate interests even if it means undermining jobs at home and expanding the wealth divide. The government is pursuing rigged corporate trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership in secret. This week, TPP negotiators fled thousands of miles across Canada to avoid protesters and public scrutiny.

We also see it with President Obama’s landmark legislation, the Affordable Care Act. While sold to the public as providing healthcare to all and controlling the costs of healthcare, Obamacare will do neither. It is really a market-based approach to healthcare which enriches the corporations, e.g. insurance, pharmaceutical and for-profit hospitals. Although fewer people are uninsured, they still face financial barriers that make necessary care unaffordable.

In addition to corporatism, the US security state is an affront to real democracy. Thanks to Edward Snowden who blew the whistle on the NSA, we now know the government is conducting dragnet surveillance of our Internet communications and telephone calls. This week it was revealed that most of the people caught in the targeted NSA surveillance (not the dragnet searches) were not terrorists or people threatening the United States but commonplace Americans. We also learned that in the Muslim community, no matter how patriotic someone was, they were likely to be targeted for surveillance.

The Snowden case, and other cases involving whistleblowers, show another failed aspect of US governance – the courts. Hillary Clinton joined John Kerry in urging Snowden to come home and face prosecution claiming he could defend himself in court. The reality is there is no way he could receive a fair trial. In fact, prosecution of whistleblowers has proven itself to be more like the court in Alice in Wonderland which was a mockery of due process and where the trial concluded with the Queen calling out: ‘Sentence first, verdict later.’

This week Snowden applied to have his political asylum extended in Russia and it is likely to be granted, because people around the world see how unjust the United States has become. A government official in Russia said that Edward Snowden’s temporary asylum is likely to be extended on the grounds that “his life is endangered.”

It is not likely that Snowden could have gone through the system to expose the NSA’s crimes. CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Scudder tried that approach and was ruined. He is a sad example of what happens to people who try to work within the current system to expose the truth.

The good news is people are not being cowered by the attack on whistleblowers and journalists who cover them. This week a new NSA leak was released that did not come from Snowden, indicating that there may be a new NSA whistleblower. Also this week, a set of billboards have gone up around the DC area featuring Daniel Ellsberg, urging more whistleblowers and providing a safe way for people to blow the whistle. We hope that more people who believe in real democracy, human rights and the rule of law will expose the truth either anonymously using SecureDrop or openly with public support (Visit the Courage Foundation to support Snowden, whistleblowers and our right to information).

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 months ago

Rebellion for Real Democracy

People across the country are rebelling for real democracy with creative protests demanding an end to government corrupted by big money and corporate power.

We are in the midst of a week of wonderful spectacle actions to raise awareness of the need for real democracy. The Rolling Rebellion for Real Democracy is a new campaign that will be ongoing and will build over coming months to confront the corruption of government. In Venice Beach, CA, activists dressed as characters from the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars and marched in the Fourth of July parade taking on democracy-killing entities such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and money in politics. Activists in Seattle, WA also marched with giant puppets and talking TV heads.

Hundreds marched from LA to Sacramento for real democracy this spring. They completed their walk and after a series of acts of civil disobedience made some progress, including the state legislature becoming the second to call for a constitutional convention.

Hundreds marched in the New Hampshire Rebellion organized by Lawrence Lessig. In addition to marches to raise awareness, his approach to getting money out of politics includes raising millions to elect candidates that will work to end the ‘rule of money.’ He met the first hurdle this week when he raised $12 million for his ‘PAC to end all PACS.’ Now he has to show the campaign can elect politicians who will effectively confront the problem. The plan is for the tactic to grow in the next election after testing it in 2014.

A march to stop construction of a high-pressure fracked gas pipeline is underway across the state of Massachusetts. This march is rolling from town to town along the path of the proposed pipeline and will end on July 30 with a rally at the State House. Click here for information on how to join it. Another march will take place in DC this Sunday to protest the construction of a liquefied fracked gas export facility in Maryland.

The Moral Monday Movement is devoting its energies to protecting the basic right to vote. While this is an important part of the work for democracy, it will be insufficient. Voting is problematic in North Carolina where the two party system has made it impossible for third parties to participate. North Carolina has already seen the failure of corrupt Democratic Party rule, so activists know replacing horrendous Republicans with corporatist Democrats will not improve their lives. Moral Monday has defined themselves as an independent movement, and independence from the duopoly is essential to be a truly transformative movement.

What Would a Real Democracy Look Like?

People in the United States are talking about amending or even replacing the US Constitution. The idea of a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics is making progress in the Senate, with a proposed amendment going to the senate floor. This may be election year theatrics by the Democrats, trying to show their base they are on the side of getting money out of politics, since Democratic Party voters and most Americans support that view. They know it will not pass the Senate or even get to the House floor, but it makes a point most Americans agree with. It is strange they picked Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) to be the spokesperson for the campaign since he is known in Washington, DC to be Wall Street’s Senator.

People around the world are thinking seriously about how to create real democracy, where the people rule their own lives. An American academic currently living in Italy, Steven Colatrella, has written a first draft of a new constitution that does away with nation-states and creates world governance by a series of what he calls Cosmopolis governments. The goal is: “A Civilization based on Self-Governing Cities and Townships, Cooperative Self-Governed Workplaces and Public Finance, Sustainable Agriculture and Renewable Energy and Universal Access to Citizenship, Income and Subsistence.” He hopes to start a conversation about this, so review his article and constitution and share your comments.

Activists in Spain have gone through a process of holding thirty workshops over a year to develop a “Charter for Democracy.” The Indignado Movement, their version of Occupy, was really a “Movimiento por la Democracia” (Movement for Democracy) where the seeds for this process were planted. Their movement, like ours, occurred because of a non-responsive two-party system, politics that was a disguise for domination by big business and the wealthy, resulting in austerity, high unemployment and increases in poverty, homelessness and economic suffering. They want their Charter to be the beginning of a discussion, a living document that evolves with more input.

They do not believe that working within the current framework will bring positive results. They seek a constitution that is “founded on participation, citizen control and equal rights:”

“Faced with this institutional stonewalling and the growing separation between the rulers and the ruled, it seems there’s only one way out: a deep expansion of democracy based on citizen control over political and economic power. Surely, since what’s left of democracy is constantly shrinking and attempts at internal reform would only mean repeating the same mistakes, we must take a chance on changing the rules of the game – a democratic change, geared toward returning to society the effective decision-making ability overall which concerns it.”

Just as the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution came from the experience of that era, where colonists experienced abusive searches, unfair trials, lack of due process and the monarchy curtailing their freedoms of speech and assembly, a constitution written today would reflect the challenges of our era. The Spanish put forward basic principles which “inspire a new, robust Bill of Rights” which include universality and diversity, equality, guaranteed democratic infrastructure and financial sufficiency. They conclude,

“Finally, it is understood that a subject of rights is also a subject of responsibilities, insofar as she or he is part of a community built around a common project. These responsibilities extend to the environment we inhabit, and include accepting the responsibility to care for it, protect it and enable its reproduction, and in doing so, our own. Such responsibility involves all citizens, but is distributed according to the differences of wealth and ability.”

Another document that came from the Spanish Democracy Movement is “Last Call: A Manifesto for Social Transformation” signed by more than 250 academicians, activists (including both of us) and others declaring the urgent need to create sustainable and just systems. It is available in English and you are invited to sign on if you agree.

The Spanish Declaration and the Cosmopolis Constitution are recent examples from around the world. But, there are a lot of experiences we can learn from. Iceland actually went through a process of crowdsourcing a new constitution using social media and town hall events. The people created a very progressive constitution which has so far been blocked by the legislature.

We have often thought about what a constitutional convention – of the people – would look like in the United States. Going through the process designed by the Constitution would unfortunately result in a convention made up of the wealthy as they would be chosen through an electoral process that is dominated by money. Thus, the result would not be a constitution of the people, but another one created by the oligarchs.

Instead, we’d like to see a process that came from the grassroots – an online process using wiki technology and social media to create a framework for a new constitution, followed by assemblies or town halls held across the country that put details on that framework, then a return to a wiki process to meld these ideas together into a final document. What would a new people-powered constitution created by the American public look like? Looking at polls of the public, we think we’d like the result.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 1 points by turbocharger (1718) 4 months ago

Basically we have a handful of politicians that are fucking it up for everyone, as usual.

So why do we keep electing them? Why do we keep humoring them?

[-] 1 points by turbocharger (1718) 4 months ago

As previously stated, concrete plans are not going to be found, as running a water company is not something that can be learned in a day by one person.

But together, as communities, there is no reason it cannot be. It is already technically owned by the public- yes, that is a lie by the politicians, but it gives some acceptance of this concept- so its really not a matter of figuring it out.

We are not at a shortage of people able to figure things out in this country. We are at a shortage of action. Go to the gates, get in, and occupy it. The people working there dont want to shut it off on people, the people in the field dont want it either.

Chances are, the entire operation is basically composed of hard working people, who dont want to turn the water off on their neighbors. But they will, because otherwise they are disobeying whoever is currently in charge, and therefore will lose their job.

But not if the people occupy the facility. This isn't hard, but it is radical. The question is, are we at the point where we are willing to do this? Its the only option at this point if you dont want it privatized.

[-] 1 points by turbocharger (1718) 4 months ago

So if the people have no say in it, is it really public?

Just like the situation with protests and the parks. If you have no say, and basic rights can be taken on a whim by the power structure, then clearly these are not rights, but priviliges, which makes the entire America meme total bullshit, correct?

[Removed]

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 months ago

Henry A. Giroux | Thinking Dangerously in an Age of Political Betrayal

Monday, 14 July 2014 09:57
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout | Op-Ed

Thinking is not the intellectual reproduction of what already exists anyway. As long as it doesn't break off, thinking has a secure hold on possibility. . . . Open thinking points beyond itself.

  • Theodor Adorno

That is, there are no dangerous thoughts for the simple reason that thinking itself is such a dangerous enterprise. . . . nonthinking is even more dangerous.

  • Hannah Arendt

Thinking has become dangerous in the United States. As Paul Stoller observes, the symptoms are everywhere including a Texas GOP Party platform that states, "We oppose teaching of Higher order Thinking Skills [because they] have the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental control" to a Tennessee bill that "allows the teaching of creationism in state's classrooms."

At a time when anti-intellectualism runs rampant throughout popular culture and the political landscape, it seems imperative to once again remind ourselves of how important critical thought as a crucible for thinking analytically can be both a resource and an indispensable tool. If critical thought, sometimes disparaged as theory, gets a bad name, it is not because it is inherently dogmatic, jargonistic or rigidly specialized, but because it is often abused or because it becomes a tool of irrelevancy - a form of theoreticism in which theory becomes an end in itself. This abuse of critical thought appears to have a particularly strong hold in the humanities, especially among many graduate students in English departments who often succumb to surrendering their own voices to class projects and dissertations filled with obtuse jargon associated with the most fashionable theorists of the moment. Such work is largely rewarded less for its originality than the fact that it threatens no one.

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/24869-henry-a-giroux-thinking-dangerously-in-an-age-of-political-betrayal