Newsflash:
Featured News Economic and Social Justice A National Call to Link Arms for Detroit: Stop the Water Shut Offs and Restore Democracy – July 18th Protest
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 20:00

A National Call to Link Arms for Detroit: Stop the Water Shut Offs and Restore Democracy – July 18th Protest

Written by  Ben Ptashnik and Victoria Collier

On July 18th thousands of activists and dozens of organizations will converge on 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 rally in Hart Plaza at 1PM, linking arms with the citizens of Detroit to protest the hostile corporate takeover by Wall Street banks and their ALEC-led political allies in the Michigan Statehouse, including Governor Rick Snyder.

July 18th marks the 1-year anniversary of the announcement by the corporate "Emergency Manager" Kevyn Orr of the filing for Detroit's bankruptcy - a decision that County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina immediately ruled  violates the Michigan Constitution and state law and must be withdrawn. I have some very serious concerns because there was this rush to bankruptcy court that didn’t have to occur and shouldn’t have occurred,” Aquilina stated. Orr and Snyder managed to circumvent her ruling and the bankruptcy proceeded. The next few months will determine how successful they will be.

Today the activist community of Detroit put out this call to action:

They called 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.

Detroit Moratorium Now and Freedom Fridays Coalition

Starting July 15th, 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% African American - know that their crisis was manipulated to force bankruptcy. In 2012, they fought to get a public initiative on the Michigan ballot, which 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 strip unions of collective bargaining rights and health benefits.

 But so intent was the right-wing legislature and Governor Rick 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.

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 played out in Benton Harbor, Michigan, also forced into emergency management, where corporate vultures grabbed a chunk of the city’s waterfront to build a golf course.

Detroit was no more “bankrupt” then many American cities suffering post 2008-loss of their real estate tax base; a crisis caused directly by Wall Street and the very same banks now promoting Detroit’s bankruptcy. Motor City was particularly devastated by the sub-prime mortgage schemes, which targeted African-Americans, who the banks knew could not afford the loans they promoted. Detroit had the largest percentage of sub-prime victims per capita of any city in the U.S. Foreclosures continue at one of the highest rates in the country.

The 2008 Ponzi scheme market collapse also led to $1.5 billion in budget-fix loans foisted on Detroit 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 dollars in default swap costs. The mayor was later convicted and jailed on charges of racketeering and bribery.

But the banks were given a free ride, and now demand full payment. Many cities with almost the same financial red ink as Detroit - like Chicago - renegotiated bad loans with help from their state capitols, but Detroit is being held hostage. After the right-wing takeover of Michigan’s legislature in 2010, and the election of Governor Snyder, the Tea Party-led Republicans repealed the business tax so that the state lost over a billion dollars in revenue in 2013 alone, replacing it with 1.8 billion in cuts to schools. The Statehouse backed out of previously allocated revenue-sharing funds to the city.

The long-term solvency of the city pension obligations was then 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.

Jones Day, a Wall Street-connected law firm, which stood to gain $100 million in fees for the bankruptcy, was complicit in the fabrication of Detroit's crisis. The firm's report on behalf of the State, which deviated wildly from a routine municipal budget statement, was rife with subjective, editorializing subheads such as UNSUSTAINABLE RETIREE BENEFITS and HIGH LABOR COSTS AND RESTRICTIVE EMPLOYMENT TERMS. Bond market expert Kate Long indicated that the Detroit pension fund was actually "reasonably well funded according to national standards.”

Emergency Manager Orr, coincidentally also a former Jones Day partner, claimed he only made the “tough decision to file bankruptcy reluctantly after thorough negotiations with creditors, pension trustees and public sector unions.” In fact, Orr, Snyder, Detroit’s Democratic mayor, and the powerful financial interests behind them, had conspired for months to use federal bankruptcy laws to circumvent legal obstacles regarding pensions, according to the leaked emails dating back to January, 2013, provided by Robert Davis, a local political figure associated with AFCSME.

Tom Barrow described how Orr and Snyder surreptitiously rushed to preempt an injunction filed by pension trustees and public-sector unions who were seeking to block bankruptcy on the grounds that it would lead to unconstitutional pension cuts. While in court, attorneys for Snyder asked for a courtesy five-minute delay, during which Orr’s attorneys surreptitiously filed the bankruptcy petition, preempting the injunction.

The bankruptcy continues to slog through the courts, even though it became evident that Detroit's financial “emergency” was as blatant a fabrication as the WMDs - the weapons of mass “distraction” contrived as the rationale for the privatized invasion and occupation of Iraq. Detroiters are witnessing the same "shock" strategy used internationally by right wing ideologues who employ corrupt political, military and police power to advance the so-called "free market reform." This long-term agenda of the Milton Friedman Chicago School of Economics is actually a formula for aggressive public asset seizure.

In her seminal book, Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein explains how historically a "softening up" process of collective shocks have been employed by the Chicago School internationally to stun the populace, paralyze their democratic process, and force austerity and mass-privatization down their throats through Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) (see Detroit's Emergency "Plan of Adjustment") that literally sap the lifeblood and wealth of nations.

"Coming unraveled by hyperinflation, and too indebted to say no to demands that came bundled with foreign loans, governments accepted 'shock treatment' on the promise that it would save them from deeper disaster."

Such vulture capitalism attacks were perpetrated in Chile and Argentina with the aid of corrupt dictators. In Russia and China, political suppression “shocks” preceded a privatization of public assets by Russian oligarchs and Chinese Communist Party “Princelings." After the austerity and privatizations, average citizens inevitably found themselves poorer as excessive debt was serviced off their backs, and lacking in basic public services and education.

Now "shock doctrine" has come home to the U.S. Detroit has become Ground Zero for a massive new wave of asset seizures, repression, and corporate exploitation that is beginning to sweep US communities and states; privatizing our schools, water assets and government services. With the end of the Iraq war, and as Latin American democracies reject bank induced debt and austerity, these parasites who prey on civil society have turned their attention from neo-colonialist exploitation, to cannibalism at home.

Many in Michigan believe the city could have managed its financial troubles on its own, but Motown was defamed and derided by repeated newspaper editorials, the outstate right wing, and the controlling majority in the Legislature, as profligate and promiscuous financially. Detroit's citizens were stripped of their right to local political control by democratically elected representatives.

Many Detroiters believe that the August 6, 2013, Mayoral Primary recount uncovered massive ballot box fraud, which was deliberately ignored. The race featured a white carpetbagger candidate connected to the Wayne County political machine and the State's powerbrokers: Mike Duggan was disqualified from the ballot after a judge ruled him ineligible due to residency. But Duggan eventually won with 40% of the vote by waging an historically improbable write-in campaign marred by overwhelming evidence of fraud, including duplication of ballots, and the breaking of a number of ballot box seals. This evidence should have led to an investigation, but it was never conducted by the Wayne County Board of Canvassers during their cursory response to recount petitions from other Mayoral candidates. (The Republican State Attorney General later wrote a letter to the Board, excoriating their failure to comply with their statutory responsibility).One community activist told us, “We do not recognized Duggan as the Mayor, because of the facts uncovered during the recount.”

Detroit is not the first predominantly Afro-American city subjected to fraudulent exploitation. Post-Katrina New Orleans (60% Afro American) was also abandoned and exploited by the political class. In Birmingham Alabama (74% minority), JP Morgan was convicted of bribing local power brokers and extracting millions in fees that turned a $250 million dollar sewer project in Jefferson County into a $3 billion dollar debacle.  While the county slashed services and laid off almost a thousand workers, JP Morgan settled in court for 1.6 billion, their profits soared, and their municipal-debt underwriting business - over $64 billion dollars, including Detroit - remained mostly unscathed by the scandal.

“Emergency Management” in Detroit just another term for “hostile corporate takeover” whose major targets are:

  • The tens of billions of dollars in value represented by the city’s huge water systems infrastructure, which supplies 40 % of Michigan, and sits on 25% of the fresh water supply of the US.
  • The billions of dollars in Detroit property that could be gentrified and developed once the cronies of the real estate vultures have pushed out its Afro-American residents.
  • An art museum with a collection valued at billions of dollars.
  • The hundreds of billions of invested capital that are promised to the city pension plans.

The clear attack on pensions is why many Detroit pensioners are voting “No” to the insidious “grand bargain” being offered right now in the enforced bankruptcy. Pensioners and current employees are being threatened with deeper cuts, if they don’t vote to accept a set of long-term reduction in payments and health benefits, and sign away their right to sue later.

Pensioner Cecily McClellan, sees the struggle for pensions as the battle of a lifetime. “We aren’t getting a ‘sense’ of what they’re doing. We know that’s the move. And Detroit is the template. If they are successful here, then they’re going to use it. They have 90,000 municipalities with pensions in the United States. And they’re going after every one. I think that the pension is going to be a form of new wealth for some people. It’s a new market. Just like we had the mortgage bubble and the dotcom bubble, we’re going to have them exploiting pensions.” 

The pawns in this crisis, the impoverished residents of Detroit, have already suffered the globalization of this rust belt region, as corporations took their production south, and then abroad. Motor City’s population has been reduced from 1.5 million at its apex in the 50s, to just over 700,000. Half the housing stock is abandoned or set on fire and looted, while city services operate at a fraction of past accommodations – crippling citizen's ability to work, and care for their children. The last thing they need is to be viciously set upon by the Governor and his “Manager” who now threaten their health by the shutting off of water, often without notice, of any resident who is overdue 60 days, on as little as $150 dollars.

Millions of dollars are still owed to the city water department by golf courses, sports arenas and other businesses, and by thousands of homes foreclosed and now owned by banks or corporations - but these have not been subjected to water shut off, even with bills months or years overdue.

As we write this story, on the 4th of July, we believe the people of Detroit have the right to refuse their "consent" to be governed by a vicious regime foisted on them by an imperialist Governor. They would be well within the bounds of justice to demand their “unalienable rights," starting with water for their families, and to keep their pensions, which are protected by the Constitution of the State of Michigan.

Detroit is part of the heart and soul of America. Its path should be decided by the people of Detroit themselves, who deserve basic respect, human dignity, and enough water to plant and grow the seeds of their future.

All of you out there in the American heartland, in Michigan and the Midwest, in Chicago, Madison, Toledo, we implore you to “do the right thing” - get in your cars, on buses and trains, and come to Detroit on July 18th 2014.

For more info on the Demonstration go to;

http://moratorium-mi.org and

http://www.democracymovement.us/michigan

 


Ben Ptashnik is a former State Senator from Vermont, and a lifelong human rights and democracy activist. He and Victoria Collier are co-directors of the National Election Integrity Coalition- www.democracymovement.us

Read 3585 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 July 2014 20:19

More Featured Stories

  • Two, Three, Many Americas?
    Two, Three, Many Americas?
    Since the posting of "Becoming Two Countries in 2014," many readers have argued that we actually are becoming three or more Americas, while others cling to the dream of becoming one America again. The purpose of the original posting was not to propose breaking up the country, but to focus progressives on strategic questions of how to live and work through the political polarization paralyzing the country for the foreseeable future.
    Written on Friday, 25 October 2013 14:19 Read more...
  • Eight Members of Congress Arrested in Push for Immigration Reform
    Eight Members of Congress Arrested in Push for Immigration Reform

    Civil rights veteran John Lewis, D-Ga.; Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.; Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.; Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y.; Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.; Rep. Al Green, D-Texas; Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.; and Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.; joined 200 others who were arrested as part of a “civil disobedience” event in front of the U.S. capitol.

    Written on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 03:56 Read more...
  • Progressive Democrats Fear Showdown Will End in Social Security Cuts
    Progressive Democrats Fear Showdown Will End in Social Security Cuts

    As Republicans hold the government hostage and threaten to wreak economic havoc with the looming debt-ceiling showdown, some progressives on the Hill are worried that the strong-arm tactics will lead to an agreement on so-called “entitlement reform.” That’s Washington parlance for cuts to the nation’s most significant social programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    Written on Monday, 07 October 2013 02:19 Read more...
  • If America wants Assad to respect international law, it must respect it, too

    This weekend, the White House came courting to Congress, showing evidence and secret intelligence to make the case for military action. What was remarkably lacking, however, throughout all the pomp and circumstance, was any other tool in their intervention toolkit.



    Written on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 15:27 Read more...
  • Claiming and Teaching the 1963 March on Washington
    Claiming and Teaching the 1963 March on Washington

    August 28 will mark the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Publicly associated with Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, this march brought more than 250,000 people to the nation’s capital.

    Written on Wednesday, 21 August 2013 00:59 Read more...
  • The GOP’s Big Yellow Taxi Syndrome
    The GOP’s Big Yellow Taxi Syndrome

    Republicans bellyached for years that government must shrink. It had to be smaller. Cut the budget come hell or high water, they yammered. Well, darn if the sequester hasn’t brought hell and high water to Republican districts across America. Now Republican lawmakers can’t stop carping about how small government shouldn’t occur in their districts.  Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till you vote to kill it?

    Written on Tuesday, 09 April 2013 15:24 Read more...
  • Sanders, Reid, DeFazio Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Social Security
    Sanders, Reid, DeFazio Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Social Security

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today introduced legislation cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to strengthen Social Security by making the wealthiest Americans pay the same payroll tax that nearly everyone else already pays.

    Written on Friday, 08 March 2013 01:46 Read more...
  • Representative Conyers Re-introduces Humphrey Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment
    Representative Conyers Re-introduces Humphrey Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment

    Under the Act, the Department of Labor would work collaboratively with local and state governments, non-profits, and the private-sector to fund community-based “fast track” jobs. This work could include renovating housing and schools, weatherizing homes, fixing our aging infrastructure, expanding access to broadband and wireless Internet, neighborhood beautification projects, or other community initiatives in the health and education sectors.

    Written on Friday, 01 March 2013 01:49 Read more...
  • End War of Drugs to honor King
    End War of Drugs to honor King

    Congratulations on your second inauguration. Let’s talk about drugs.

    As it happens, today’s festivities fall on Martin Luther King Day. This isn’t the first time you and Dr. King have encountered one another on the calendar. You first accepted your party’s nomination for the presidency on the 45th anniversary of his “I Have a Dream” speech.

    Written on Monday, 21 January 2013 15:39 Read more...
  • Farmers Rally at White House to Protest Monsanto's GMO Empire
    Farmers Rally at White House to Protest Monsanto's GMO Empire

    Hundreds of small farmers and advocates for organic seed growers gathered outside the White House Thursday, calling on President Obama and other lawmakers to come to their aid as they continue their fight against Monsanto, one of the world's largest, most powerful—and to them sinister—industrial agriculture corporations

    Written on Saturday, 12 January 2013 15:41 Read more...
  • Idle No More -- Think Occupy, But With Deep Deep Roots
    Idle No More -- Think Occupy, But With Deep Deep Roots

    I don't claim to know exactly what's going on with #IdleNoMore, the surging movement of indigenous activists that started late last year in Canada and is now spreading across the continent, but I sense that it's every bit as important as the Occupy movement that transfixed the world a year ago; it feels like it wells up from the same kind of long-postponed and deeply-felt passion that powered the Arab spring.

    Written on Saturday, 12 January 2013 01:29 Read more...
  • Open Letter to Congress and the President
    Open Letter to Congress and the President

    The historic re-election of President Obama must not be followed by historic damage to the nation’s social safety net.

    We call on the President and Congress to reject any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Rather than undermining those vital social programs, elected officials must protect them.

    Written on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 01:48 Read more...
  • The Electoral College: Another Front in the War Against Labor
    The Electoral College: Another Front in the War Against Labor

    The Electoral College - the way we pick our president and vice president - is all about cheap labor. When it was put into place in 1789, it was to give slaveholders a greater national voice - part of a compromise with the slave states to keep them in the union. So back then, it was all about cheap labor - slavery.

    Written on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 19:33 Read more...
  • Conservative Media Ignore GOP Voter Registration Fraud
    Conservative Media Ignore GOP Voter Registration Fraud

    The RNC-funded Strategic Allied Consulting, run by checkered GOP operative Nathan Sproul, is under criminal investigation in Florida for submitting fraudulent voter registration forms to election officials. (Sproul is still running voter-canvassing operations for conservatives in thirty states.) Sproul’s associate Colin Small, who had worked for Strategic Allied Consulting and as “Grassroots Field Director at the Republican National Committee,” was charged last week with eight felony counts and five misdemeanors for trashing voter registration forms in Virginia.

    Written on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 18:57 Read more...
  • Union lawyers caution over voter suppression at the polls
    Union lawyers caution over voter suppression at the polls

    With three weeks left to Election Day, civil rights organizations and union lawyers are getting ready to overcome voter suppression. An anonymous “family foundation” is paying for billboards warning against voter fraud, like this one in a minority neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland. Clear Channel, which owns the space, says the anonymity violates its policies but it will not take the ads down.



    Written on Sunday, 21 October 2012 15:48 Read more...
  • On War and Peace, George McGovern Will Die Vindicated
    On War and Peace, George McGovern Will Die Vindicated

    The former presidential candidate, who is nearing death, warned of the folly of the Vietnam and Iraq Wars. Americans came to agree with him -- but only when it was too late. Speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 1972, George McGovern kicked off his ill-fated presidential bid by focusing on his opposition to the ruinous war in Vietnam. "I have no secret plan for peace. I have a public plan.

    Written on Saturday, 20 October 2012 20:43 Read more...
  • Innovative Model Is Helping Save the Future of Unions and May Turn the Election
    Innovative Model Is Helping Save the Future of Unions and May Turn the Election

    If groups like Working America can build an awareness of economic issues among swing voters, it could be a game-changer.  She's asking them to sign up as a member with Working America, which simply means giving her a phone number and email address to match the street address she already has. She also asks for a donation, either a monthly contribution or a few dollars on the spot, to keep Working America going.

    Written on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 13:46 Read more...
  • Coordinated Actions Worldwide this Weekend Call for Banning Fracking
    Coordinated Actions Worldwide this Weekend Call for Banning Fracking

    Concerned people from the U.S. and numerous other countries will join in a global campaign event Saturday to call for a ban of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking." More than 150 events, on five continents, are planned for this weekend’s “Global Frackdown” -- a day of action against fracking -- coupled with the promotion of the expansion of clean, sustainable energy options.

    Written on Sunday, 23 September 2012 16:42 Read more...
  • "Mudcat" Saunders on the Southern Strategy
    "Mudcat" Saunders on the Southern Strategy

    With less than two months until Election Day, one of the challenges facing Democrats at the voting booth has plagued them for decades: how to play well in the South.

    Written on Saturday, 22 September 2012 17:06 Read more...
  • Mitt Romney: A Corporation Masquerading as a Person for President
    Mitt Romney: A Corporation Masquerading as a Person for President

    Hey, Mitt, why start with the 47 percent? Fully 100 percent of the nation’s 500 biggest corporations are dependent on various kinds of corporate welfare – subsidies, giveaways, bailouts, waivers, and other dazzling preferences – while many pay no tax at all on very substantial profits (see their familiar names – General Electric, Pepco, Verizon etc. – here).

    Written on Saturday, 22 September 2012 16:53 Read more...
  • 4 Surprising Ways the South's New Political Landscape Is Upending National Politics
    4 Surprising Ways the South's New Political Landscape Is Upending National Politics

    "As goes the South, so goes the nation." - W.E.B. DuBois. With the nation's eyes on party conventions in Tampa and Charlotte, the media is cramming to get a handle on the Southern political landscape. The resulting punditry has ranged from thoughtful analysis of changes in the South to rants blaming the region for all (or most) of the nation's ills.

    Written on Thursday, 06 September 2012 13:37 Read more...
  • DNC: Nun on Bus Raps Paul Ryan's Knuckles For Immoral Budget; Tweaks Bishops
    DNC: Nun on Bus Raps Paul Ryan's Knuckles For Immoral Budget; Tweaks Bishops

    Sister Simone Campbell, whose social justice organization, Network, sponsored the Nuns on the Bus tour protesting the Republican budget, gave Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan the what-for from the podium of Wednesday night's Democratic National Convention, leading my colleague, Joshua Holland, to tweet that she had rapped Ryan's knuckles. Ryan set himself up for the ire of the kind of nuns who minister to the poor when he tried to wrap his draconian budget in the magisterium of Mother Church.

    Written on Thursday, 06 September 2012 13:13 Read more...
  • Convention: Pulling Democrats’ platform to the left
    Convention: Pulling Democrats’ platform to the left

    Proudly liberal activist Tim Carpenter, who toiled in Orange County for more than 20 years before resettling in Massachusetts and co-founding Progressive Democrats of America, has made a career of standing staunchly to the left of mainstream Democrats, relentlessly beckoning and cajoling others to come a little closer.

    Written on Wednesday, 05 September 2012 23:32 Read more...
  • Add It Up: Taxes Avoided by the Rich Could Pay Off the Deficit
    Add It Up: Taxes Avoided by the Rich Could Pay Off the Deficit

    Conservatives force the deficit issue, ignoring job creation, and insisting that tax increases on the rich wouldn't generate enough revenue to balance the budget. They're way off. But it takes a little arithmetic to put it all together. In the following analysis, data has been taken from a variety of sources, some of which may overlap or slightly disagree, but all of which lead to the conclusion that withheld revenue, not excessive spending, is the problem.

    Written on Saturday, 01 September 2012 22:27 Read more...
  • Women Speak Truth Inside Republican National Convention on Opening Night
    Women Speak Truth Inside Republican National Convention on Opening Night

    CODEPINK will be with PDA at Progressive Central 

    “And the Republicans are particularly bad when it comes to women’s rights. I can’t be quiet while the GOP tries to take away the reproductive rights my parents’ generation worked so hard for.”

    Written on Wednesday, 29 August 2012 14:33 Read more...
  • Romney, Ryan, and The Devil’s Budget: Will America Keep Its Soul?
    Romney, Ryan, and The Devil’s Budget: Will America Keep Its Soul?

    America was born with a great soul, a moral view of Democracy in which citizens care about their fellow citizens and join together to take responsibility not just for themselves but for each other, for America as a union, a joint enterprise. The government’s job was to carry out that moral vision and to do so it created what we call The Public, the provision of basic protection and empowerment for all.

    Written on Friday, 24 August 2012 19:50 Read more...
  • Will Latino voters fully flex their voting power in 2012?
    Will Latino voters fully flex their voting power in 2012?

    This election season there are two dominant stories about the much-discussed "Latino vote." One, that President Obama enjoys a strong advantage among Hispanic voters. But two, it may not matter much because, even though Latino communities are growing fast, they have yet to be a major force at the ballot box.

    Written on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 12:49 Read more...
  • Is Your Neighbor a Democrat? Obama Has an App for That
    Is Your Neighbor a Democrat? Obama Has an App for That

    Curious how many Democrats live on your block? Just download the Obama campaign's new mobile app. The app, released last week, includes a Google map for canvassers that recognizes your current location and marks nearby Democratic households with small blue flags.

    Written on Saturday, 18 August 2012 01:40 Read more...
  • Romney choice of Paul Ryan for VP sets up bruising battle over federal budget
    Romney choice of Paul Ryan for VP sets up bruising battle over federal budget

    Ending four months of speculation and mystery, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney Saturday chose House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate.

    Romney announced the pick in Norfolk, Va., the first stop on a four-day campaign bus tour through Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio, all swing states that President Barack Obama won in 2008.

    Written on Saturday, 11 August 2012 13:36 Read more...
  • What’s Needed for Change at This Political Moment? 5 Well-Known Progressives, 5 Strong Opinions
    What’s Needed for Change at This Political Moment? 5 Well-Known Progressives, 5 Strong Opinions

    An amazing dialogue about class, race and movement-building by five progressive journalists and activist scholars.

    Written on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 20:14 Read more...
  • With New Burden on Unions, Court Tips the Balance Toward Corporations
    With New Burden on Unions, Court Tips the Balance Toward Corporations

    The most politically partisanand politically activist—Supreme Court in modern American history has already assumed that, when it comes to electioneering, corporations have pretty much the same rights as human beings.

    Written on Friday, 22 June 2012 23:32 Read more...
  • It’s One Person, One Vote, Not 1 Percent, One Vote
    It’s One Person, One Vote, Not 1 Percent, One Vote

    The failed effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is widely seen as a crisis for the labor movement, and a pivotal moment in the 2012 U.S. presidential-election season.

    Written on Friday, 08 June 2012 02:55 Read more...
  • Probing Obama’s Secrecy Games
    Probing Obama’s Secrecy Games

    Will high-level Obama officials who leak for political gain be punished on equal terms with actual whistleblowers?

    Written on Friday, 08 June 2012 02:52 Read more...
  • Big shot banker proves big banks are too big
    Big shot banker proves big banks are too big

    In April, Jamie Dimon–the swaggering chief of JPMorgan Chase–scoffed at critics who warned that his bank's high-flying investment division was dangerously overextended and risking collapse: “A complete tempest in a teapot,” scoffed Dimon.

    Written on Friday, 08 June 2012 02:43 Read more...
  • Time For Outrage On Behalf of the Planet--It's Time to Fight the Status Quo
    Time For Outrage On Behalf of the Planet--It's Time to Fight the Status Quo

    My solution is: get outraged. Campaigners marched in Copenhagen under the banner "System Change, Not Climate Change." On the eve of Rio+20, that message again will rise, but slogans and proposals and will mean nothing without the requisite power standing behind them.

    Written on Friday, 08 June 2012 02:34 Read more...
  • Medea Benjamin on How Drones May Be Used Against US Citizens Soon
    Medea Benjamin on How Drones May Be Used Against US Citizens Soon

    Internationally renowned activist Medea Benjamin has written a compelling case against drones. One of the most fearful aspects is that drone technology is growing so rapidly in so many nations that soon the nations the US deems enemies will be using them against our forces and us.

    Written on Saturday, 02 June 2012 15:42 Read more...
  • Defense contractors eye cuts to jobs, plants
    Defense contractors eye cuts to jobs, plants

    Defense contractors already are preparing for the layoffs and plant closures that will occur if Congress fails to reach a deal on the federal deficit this year, triggering $600 billion in automatic Pentagon spending cuts.

    “We are running towards a cliff, all telling each other like lemmings that somehow this isn’t going to happen,” said Marion C. Blakey, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA). “But the cliff is coming up.”

    Written on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 19:29 Read more...
  • Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Slam Latest Chapter in Republican War on Women
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Slam Latest Chapter in Republican War on Women

    Washington, D.C.--Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) today released the following statement after the House passed H.R.4970, the House Republican version of the Violence Against Women Act:

    Written on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 22:49 Read more...
  • I can best serve from outside the Congress
    I can best serve from outside the Congress

    Dear Friend,

    I would like to thank you for your support, and thank the tens of thousands of concerned Citizens for Kucinich who in the past few months have written, emailed and called to discuss my running for Congress in Washington State.

    Written on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 20:48 Read more...
  • Bush Convicted of War Crimes in Absentia
    Bush Convicted of War Crimes in Absentia

    It’s official; George W Bush is a war criminal.

    In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were yesterday (Fri) found guilty of war crimes.

    Written on Tuesday, 15 May 2012 19:52 Read more...
  • PARODY: Mitt Romney: I Can Relate To Black People, My Ancestors Once Owned Slaves
    PARODY: Mitt Romney: I Can Relate To Black People, My Ancestors Once Owned Slaves

    In yet another seemingly faux pas moment for the former governor and presidential candidate, Mitt Romney tells a crowd of supporters in Alabama that he can relate to the plight of black individuals because his ancestors were slave owners in the 1800′s.

    Written on Saturday, 12 May 2012 16:50 Read more...
  • New York Times reports on NC Marriage Ban, WI Recall
    New York Times reports on NC Marriage Ban, WI Recall

    North Carolina's voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage, joining 29 other states and the rest of the South.

     


     

    Democrats in Wisconsin have a month to persuade voters to unseat the governor, Scott Walker, in a recall election with Tom Barrett as Mr. Walker's opponent.

    Written on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 17:42 Read more...
  • Chicago pulls permit for nurses rally planned for NATO summit
    Chicago pulls permit for nurses rally planned for NATO summit

    The city of Chicago today yanked a permit for the first demonstration planned for the weekend of the NATO summit in a dispute over where the National Nurses United can hold its rally May 18.

    Written on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 13:28 Read more...
  • Socialist Wins in France: Two Articles Explain the Historical and Current Context
    Socialist Wins in France: Two Articles Explain the Historical and Current Context

    "France, Okay, But Could a Socialist Gain Power in the US? Here's How It Almost Happened" by Greg Mitchell of the Nation, and "François Hollande wins French presidential election" by Angelique Chrisafis of the Guardian.

    Written on Monday, 07 May 2012 17:44 Read more...
  • NNU Rally to Tax Wall Street and Heal America
    NNU Rally to Tax Wall Street and Heal America

    Nurses, Robin Hood and the band of merry women and men, and scores of friends
are strapping on their boots and preparing to head to Chicago Friday, May 18.

    Written on Monday, 07 May 2012 16:29 Read more...
  • 9 Swing States, Critical to Presidential Race, Are Mixed Lot
    9 Swing States, Critical to Presidential Race, Are Mixed Lot

    Since the housing bubble burst, Nevada has been plagued with record foreclosures, the nation’s steepest drop in home values and its highest unemployment rate.

    Iowa, on the other hand, may have missed out on some of the boom but was spared the worst of the bust: its housing prices have stayed relatively stable, and it now has the fifth-lowest unemployment rate in the country.

    Written on Sunday, 06 May 2012 22:46 Read more...
  • Defense trumps poverty in Republican House
    Defense trumps poverty in Republican House

    American soldiers learned the hard way not to walk down enemy trails in Vietnam — and certainly not twice. But here come the House Republicans, marching into the sunlight by shifting billions from poverty programs to the Pentagon, all within hours of adopting an entirely new round of tax cuts for those earning more than $1 million a year.

    Written on Friday, 04 May 2012 16:50 Read more...
  • McDermott Will & Emery's Pardo discusses impacts of EPA's fracking rule (video and transcript)
    McDermott Will & Emery's Pardo discusses impacts of EPA's fracking rule (video and transcript)

    How will U.S. EPA's oil and gas air rule affect the fracking industry? During today's OnPoint, Jim Pardo, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery, discusses the broader impacts of the rule ....

    Written on Thursday, 03 May 2012 23:19 Read more...
  • One Year After Bin Laden’s Death, Bring the Troops Home Now
    One Year After Bin Laden’s Death, Bring the Troops Home Now

    Today marks one year since the death of Osama bin Laden. The CIA estimates there are fewer than 100 al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. Since ‘getting Bin Laden’ and defeating al Qaeda were the stated reasons the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, President Barack Obama should use the anniversary to announce the end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

    Written on Thursday, 03 May 2012 23:12 Read more...
  • Obama's Afghanistan Speech: A Guide for the Perplexed
    Obama's Afghanistan Speech: A Guide for the Perplexed

    President Obama’s dramatic speech from Afghanistan should be parsed as a careful election-year orchestration of his plan to “wind down” the war. It is no accident that the speech came during the first-year commemoration of the killing of Osama bin Laden, the event providing Obama the rationale for ending American combat while placing hawks and political rivals on the defensive.

    Written on Thursday, 03 May 2012 23:05 Read more...
  • End Student Debt!
    End Student Debt!

    The student loan crisis finally reached center stage in Washington after the House GOP budget called for letting interest rates double on government-subsidized loans (and for deep cuts in Pell grants and other student support). If it passes, students who borrow the maximum will end up paying as much as $1,000 a year in added interest.

    Written on Thursday, 03 May 2012 20:13 Read more...
  • Women: Occupy the Left
    Women: Occupy the Left

    Women’s rights have always been a bit of an add-on for the left. At this spring’s Left Forum, only fifteen of 440 panels touched on any feminist issue, broadly understood. New Left Review is famous, at least in my apartment, for its high testosterone content (despite being edited by a woman); ditto Verso, the left’s flagship publishing house, where women authors are as rare as Siberian tigers.

    Written on Thursday, 03 May 2012 20:06 Read more...
  • Conservative Nonprofit Acts as a Stealth Business Lobbyist
    Conservative Nonprofit Acts as a Stealth Business Lobbyist

    Desperate for new revenue, Ohio lawmakers introduced legislation last year that would make it easier to recover money from businesses that defraud the state. It was quickly flagged at the Washington headquarters of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a business-backed group that views such “false claims” laws as encouraging frivolous lawsuits. ALEC’s membership includes not only corporations, but nearly 2,000 state legislators across the country — including dozens who would vote on the Ohio bill.

    Written on Monday, 23 April 2012 19:50 Read more...
  • Meet the US media companies lobbying against transparency
    Meet the US media companies lobbying against transparency

    Corporate owners or sister companies of some of the biggest names in journalism against FCC order to post political ad data. News organizations cultivate a reputation for demanding transparency, whether by suing for access to government documents, dispatching camera crews to the doorsteps of recalcitrant politicians, or editorializing in favor of open government.

    Written on Sunday, 22 April 2012 15:31 Read more...
  • Former ALEC Supporters Now Find Connection Toxic
    Former ALEC Supporters Now Find Connection Toxic

    With thousands of consumers expressing their concerns about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to corporations across America, even former supporters of ALEC are feeling the heat, and some are rushing to distance themselves from the organization. YUM! Brands (owners of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut) became the 12th corporate member of ALEC to announce it is leaving the organization yesterday.

    Written on Friday, 20 April 2012 15:24 Read more...
  • A Cruel Ethos - Pay Upfront or Die
    A Cruel Ethos - Pay Upfront or Die

    Our acceptance of death for those who can’t afford medical care is unique among the advanced industrialized nations of the world. This ethos allows people who don’t have enough money or enough medical insurance to die everyday. We remain blind to the humanistic healthcare ethos of other nations, that result in greatly reduced costs and superior outcomes.

    Written on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 03:20 Read more...
  • Drug War Nightmare: How We Created a Massive Racial Caste System in America
    Drug War Nightmare: How We Created a Massive Racial Caste System in America

    The drug war has created a new Jim Crow system. Ever since Barack Obama lifted his right hand and took his oath of office, pledging to serve the United States as its 44th president, ordinary people and their leaders around the globe have been celebrating our nation’s “triumph over race.”  Obama’s election has been touted as the final nail in the coffin of Jim Crow, the bookend placed on the history of racial caste in America. 

    Written on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 19:15 Read more...
  • How ALEC Is Creating Florida-Style Messes in Other States
    How ALEC Is Creating Florida-Style Messes in Other States

    Wisconsin is a rod-and-gun state, with a hunting history that has fostered traditions of broad gun ownership and respect for the right to bear arms.

    So how did Wisconsin get saddled with a “Castle Doctrine” law that mirrors some of the worst aspects of the Florida legislation that's now at the center of the controversy over the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

    Written on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 17:42 Read more...
  • We Need More Heels Running Around Capitol Hill
    We Need More Heels Running Around Capitol Hill

    "[I]t will come, but I shall not see it ... It is inevitable. We can no more deny forever the right of self-government to one-half our people than we could keep the Negro forever in bondage. It will not be wrought by the same disrupting forces that freed the slave, but come it will, and I believe within a generation."

    Written on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 13:31 Read more...
  • The 1%’s Doctrine for the 99%
    The 1%’s Doctrine for the 99%

    Many on the American Right insist federal actions from the Civil War to recent banking regulations were encroachments on states’ rights and personal liberties, but underlying these claims – in the 1860s and today – is the greed of the richest 1 percent treating the 99 percent as chattel, writes Mark Ames.

    Written on Monday, 26 March 2012 21:21 Read more...
  • Congress Takes a Step or Two Forward, Two Steps Back
    Congress Takes a Step or Two Forward, Two Steps Back

    Watching some of the news coming from Capitol Hill this week, two old music videos started buzzing around in our heads. One was the classic “I’m Just a Bill,” from Schoolhouse Rock, in which a beleaguered piece of legislation sits outside on the marble steps hoping to someday become a law.

    Written on Monday, 26 March 2012 21:15 Read more...

PDA In Your State

Join "Countdown to Coverage" Share TPP with your Daily Newspaper

CWA devised a simple plan for which they were uniquely suited: drag TPP out of the shadows and into the light - one city at a time - using a medium they understand intimately: Daily Newspapers!

Two CWA members - Dave Felice in Denver, CO and Madelyn Elder in Portland, OR have started the ball rolling. We just need to keep up the momentum leading up to a big day of petition deliveries.

Button-ShareTPPWithNewspaper

Step 1 is to send an Op-Ed to your Daily Newspaper.

Sign the TPP Fast Track Petitions

MoveOn.org Petition - Congress Don't Renew Fast Track

Public Citizen Petition - Congress Must Reject Fast Track Authority

MoveOn.org Petition - Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership

CREDO Petition - Stop the Massive Corporate Power Grab

 

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of