Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

HomeLand Security Is A Major?

I've said just about all I'm going to say in regards to the water situation in Detroit. However, this one items caught my eye.
"It's frightening, because you think this is something that only happens somewhere like Africa," said Hill, a single mother who is studying homeland security at a local college. "But now I know what they're going through — when I get somewhere there's a water faucet, I drink until my stomach hurts."[my underlines]
Since when is "Homeland security" a major or course of study in college?

[edit]Apparently recently[edit]. Two side notes: In Africa, much of the continent does not have piped water. In "lucky" villages there is a single well from which people, usually women, get water from. In not so lucky villages people, usually women, travel a decent distance to get water from a fresh water source, put it in a container and then walk back with that water (usually on their heads). Like I said before, the water might be free but the pipes cost money.

Secondly, that accompanying photo? You see the spikes in usage? I don't know her entire situation but either there are a lot of leaks in her residence or people in that home like to leave water running. Why didn't the reporter ask Nicole about the usage patterns?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Detroit Water Issues Part II

As a follow up to the post on Detroit's water issues, lets look at the Blue Planet Project's document on the subject.
...heard firsthand accounts from residents who were having their water services cut off by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD). ..
Note that they didn't say why those persons were cut off. The implication is that the DWSD is simply being mean, arbitrary and capricious. That DWSD is just spinning a wheel to see who they can fuck with that day. They have no legitimate No mention that DWSD has cut off service for a reason, non-payment for services rendered. Are there a set of people who simply are unable to afford to pay for their utilities? Certainly and BPP should certainly advocate for those persons. Are there people who are not paying because they are simply irresponsible? Certainly. Those people ought not be let off the hook or conflated with persons who have actual needs.
to have these essential services restored to the thousands of households currently without water service pursuant to a just and affordable rate structure, and to prevent future cut-offs.
Restored to those who have a legitimate need for assistance? Fine. Everybody else? Not so much. And who determines what a “just and affordable” rate structure is? BPP? And what if the “just” rate of service is still beyond the reach of those who have been cut off? Who should shoulder that burden? The state? If it is the state, do we realize that means that they are saying that people in other parts of the state should underwrite the water needs of Detroit? Would you pay your neighbor's water bill? How about the family down the block? How about the ones 10 blocks away? Would you do so for a couple of months in a row? And if you ask the state to [further] underwrite the water use of Detroit citizens does the state get a say in the operations governing water use and in the lives of those using the water? Isn't the saying “he who pays the piper calls the tune”? Would Detroit citizens be OK with members of say Lansing deciding that in return for paying for Detroit's water needs, they want to see “reform” of whatever stripe? Just a few questions to consider. Now the next page of this report, which I will not quote here, describes the various interested parties. None of which mention ANYTHING about the costs of “freely flowing tap water” and exactly who and how the “freely flowing tap water” will be paid for. Certainly they don't think that the rates paid by the consumer is the entire cost of supplying water. It is quite impressive how folks are quite willing to talk about what should be “free” but not about who is going to pay for all that “free”.

Next:

The City of Detroit is facing a major water crisis as a result of decades of policies that have put corporate business and profit ahead of the public good and human rights. Social programs and investments in essential infrastructure have been slashed. According to the Detroit News, the City of Detroit’s water department runs a chronic deficit and, like many other public water infrastructure systems, needs more than $5 billion for urgently needed upgrades to the city’s water system.
“Decades of policies that have put corporate business and profit ahead of the public good...Social programs and investments in essential infrastructure have been slashed”

A couple of things here:

1) The Detroit Water and Sanitation Department is a non-profit entity. You can go to my previous post on the subject to find a link to their website where that is stated explicitly as well as detailed explanations of their costs.

2) Decades? As in after the victory of Coleman Young? They may as well have said “since black folks took over Detroit's government.”

3) Why doesn't BPP mention the severe drop in Detroit's population and as a consequence it's tax base when it mentioned "slashes" to "social programs and infrastructure". If you took a 60% pay cut I wonder how that would affect your ability to operate your household.

4) $5 billion just to upgrade the city water system. As of 2012 there were 701,000 people in Detroit. That comes out to $7,132 per resident if Detroit paid it's own way for upgrades. That is a MONTHLY bill of $594 if it were to be paid for in one year. A $59 dollar bill for each resident if it was funded over a 10 year period. And that's just for upgrades. This does not mention the regular maintenance. Somehow the alleged average water bill of $70 doesn't sound so bad at all.

Until recently, every winter, hundreds of aging pipes spewed water from leaks as the water had not been turned off in thousands of abandoned houses and boarded-up businesses. While there have been efforts to address this recently, it continues to be an ongoing problem.
Did someone mention maintenance? I like how BPP says “well there has been an effort, but we're putting these folks on blast anyway.” Did I read that BPP offered their services to DWSD to go to these places, inspect them and turn off water? No? I thought not. I mean who does that kind of work for free? And why volunteer to actually address problems directly when one can create a PDF where you can point fingers?
With globalization and the hollowing out of the once mighty auto industry, wealth and businesses fled to the suburbs in Detroit, draining the city of its tax base and the water department of its rev­enues. There are now 1 million fewer people living in Detroit than there were in the 1950s.
I assure you that the reason there are 1 million less people in Detroit has little to do with “globalization”. There are two reasons. One reason starts with a "B" and the other with the letter "C".
The case of water cut-offs in the City of Detroit speaks to the deep racial divides and intractable economic and social inequality in access to services within the United States. The burden of paying for city services has fallen onto the residents who have stayed within the economically depressed city, most of whom are African-American. my underlines
So...it is “unfair” that the people who live in the city pay for the services they use? It is unfair that people who no longer wish to stay in Detroit (for whatever reasons) don't have to pay for water use in Detroit? Should the people who used to live in Detroit be made to pay for services they don't use in Detroit? OK..Would you pay for the water use of the people who moved into the apartment you no longer lived in? Would you pay for the water use of the current residents of a house you used to live in?

No?

What if those residents fell on hard times and couldn't pay? Would you feel it OK if a state agent came to your door and said “Hi. The people currently residing at xxxx Way can no longer afford to pay for their water. Since you used to live there I am here to present you with the bill. You have 30 days to pay. Thank you very much.” You would be red with rage if that happens. But that is exactly what BPP is getting at.

These residents have seen water rates rise by 119 per cent within the last decade.
In the past decade everything has gone up. My electric bill is 5-6x (500-600%) what it was in the 90s. Inflation is a bitch ain't it? And guess what? A part of it is because workers want decent wages, decent benefits. I'm not against workers getting decent wages and benefits. Are you?
With official, understated unemployment rates at a record high and the official, understated poverty rate at about 40 per cent, Detroit water bills are unaffordable to a significant portion of the population.
I sympathise with that. Really. There are two things that have to happen. 1) The state will have to expand assistance to those who cannot work. And I do mean "cannot". 2) Folks will have to pool together and share resources.
The service cut-offs for anyone more than two months behind in payments appear to be the city’s last-ditch attempt to make up for lost revenues. A contract with a private operator seeking prof­its will only lead to greater hikes in service fees and even less affordable, more unjust barriers to equitable access to vital water.
Because the city has no right to demand payment for subsidized services rendered. Ok. While I think the issue of privatization can and should be debated. The argument that water rates will be hiked just to make a profit is problematic. As with any business, if the price of a good or service is too high there are no sales. It is simply not in the interest of any private company to price itself out of business. However, as pointed out by BPP, there is $5 billion in just upgrades that need to be done. Someone is going to pay for that if Detroit is to have a properly functioning water system. None of that work is going to be slave or volunteer labour. None of the companies that make pipes and whatever are going to donate their services or goods. So who gets to pay for that?
People’s overdue water bills are being transferred to their property taxes and people are losing their homes as a result. Given the utility’s lack of interest in cutting costs or generating revenues by collecting on the arrears of business users, fixing leaking pipes, and cutting off services to abandoned homes, the organization sees the crackdown as a ploy to drive poor people of color out of the city to facilitate gentrification – what the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization refers to as a “land-grab.”
Gentrification= “Was mad when white folks left. Now I'm mad they're coming back.”

Lets be clear here. If you own a car and you cannot afford to pay for it, the bank or the dealership comes and takes the property. What you cannot afford to pay for you cannot own. We all know how this works. Why do people think that if they fail to pay their property taxes, mortgages or bills that there will not be (or ought not be) any consequences? If you cannot afford your property taxes or bills for a house, then you cannot afford to live in that house and you should sell it and move, or rent it out to people who can afford it. You do realize you have exactly ZERO rights to permanently live in any location.

Secondly, didn't the BPP mention that the city was making an effort to deal with “leaky pipes”? If so, why ding them here over that? Also if BPP knows of businesses who are not paying their rates, why hasn't the BPP included a list of businesses that are in arrears?

In March 2014, the water and sewer department announced it would begin shutting off water ser­vice for 1,500 to 3,000 customers per week.2

According to a DWSD document obtained by the Sierra Club, there are more than 179,000 residen­tial water accounts in Detroit. By April 30, 2014, more than 83,000 of them were past due. The aver­age amount owed per household was just over $540.3

5 hundred and forty dollars. That number looks familiar. Earlier I pointed out that a per resident, per month bill of $594 (to raise those funds in one year which would never happen) would be required to just deal with upgrades. ….hmmmmm...., Since there are only 179,000 residential water accounts, that $594 rate is actually FAR LOWER than it should be
The Detroit People’s Water Board is hearing directly from people impacted by the water cut-offs who say they were given no warning and had no time to fill buckets, sinks and tubs before losing access to water. In some cases, the cut-offs occurred before the deadline given in notices sent by the city. Sick people have been left without running water and working toilets. People recovering from surgery cannot wash and change bandages. Children cannot bathe and parents cannot cook.
So I understand. Folks knew they didn't pay their water bills for at least 2 months. Then they got a message from the Water Department that they either need to pay up or have their water cut off and folks waited to stock up? OK. Look. I don't know when another Sandy is gonna come through, but I have my heater, solar panels, lamps, batteries, candles and water purification systems ready. If someone sent me a notice that a huge ass storm is coming in 30 days, please know that I will be ready to go. I learned this from my mom. I know folks reading this will be shocked to learn this, but I didn't grow up “rich”. One thing I learned early was that you stock up. Cause you don't know when the money is going to be short and run out. To this day, I stock up.

But even then we have to understand, that bathtub water is only going to last for so long. Pots of water will only last but so long and when the winter comes..... So as a long term strategy prepping for cut off day will not mitigate the base issue. Current living conditions do not allow them to afford water (for whatever reasons). That is going to have to be addressed. You don't get a $540 water bill over two months by being conservative with it's use.

The MWRO was contacted in June by a woman who had been living without water since February. She applied for State Emergency Relief, but was denied because she has no income, having reached the 60-month time limit on her welfare benefits. She was living on loans from friends and her church. According to the organization, there are thousands of other people in similar situations who have exceeded the five-year limit on their welfare benefits. Many have been told that they don’t qualify for disability benefits even though they are disabled.
This example is pretty bad. 5 years on welfare is, well quite long. There was no mention of whether this person was able bodied or not. There was no mention of the education level, age or work history of this individual. Clearly there is a larger issue than water if such a high proportion of the population is hitting a 5 year limit on welfare. Secondly though, why hasn't anyone from the church (or her friends) put her up? I would think that the responsibility to help Detroiters should be first expected from other Detroiters. Has anyone from BPP arranged housing (with water) for the people they advocate for? And I mean personally. Have any of them moved any of these folks into their homes?
With two-thirds of the water cut-offs happening in homes with children, families are concerned and afraid to speak out. They understandably fear, based on experience, that child welfare authorities will remove children from their homes in accordance with state policy that there be working utili­ties in all homes housing children.

According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, there are many low-income families that are strug­gling to keep their utilities on. “The need is huge,” said Mia Cupp, Director of Development and Com­munications for the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, one organization that is trying to assist families. “There are families that have gone months and months without water.”5

The MWRO says some families have been living without water for over a year and eventually be­come homeless as a result. These people are forced to abandon their homes after they run into problems with cracked pipes in the winter. Once people leave their homes, the houses get broken into, are stripped of valuable materials and become unsafe to return to.

Question: why all these children if one is unable to pay to care for them?

It also seems a number of these folks inherited property that they cannot afford to maintain. If you cannot afford to maintain a house you should sell it. It is not the government of Detroit's fault you are unable to maintain your home. It is YOUR fault you cannot maintain your home. We do realize that it is the property owner's responsibility to deal with water pipes. Detroit's responsibility ends at the sidewalk. Ask me how I know.

There seems to be a level of entitlement here. You may have a right to live somewhere with water but by no means are you entitled to live at a certain location and you certainly do not have the right to live at a certain location while asking other people (via the state) to pay for your upkeep. There are a lot of reports in the media about whole blocks abandoned with only one person on the street. That means entire infrastructure have to be maintained for miles to supply water and sewage to maybe 4 houses. This is entirely inefficient. So either you need a population surge in Detroit OR folks are going to have to move so that Detroit does not have to maintain water systems to abandoned parts of the city. I don't see any mention of this in the BPP report.

The MWRO was recently contacted by a woman who moved in to care for her ailing father, who had received a shut-off notice from the DWSD. She offered to make the full payment, but was told the DWSD would not accept the payment because the bill was in her father’s name and she did not have papers to show she was his representative. Her picture I.D. has the same address as his, but the DWSD would not accept payment.
My suggestion: http://www.dwsd.org/pages_n/billpay.html

They don't know WHO is paying. They don't even care what credit card or bank account it comes from.

“Yes, my water has been off since Friday, May 16, and I have paid my full bill in full ($320) on Mon­day, [May] 19, and still do not have water due to the extreme hurdle one has to comply with to get it turned back on, [including producing a] deed to the property, lease agreement-notarized, mortgage documents, tax records, driver’s licence, social security cards, notarized statements from the own­ers of the property, background checks, etc. My father’s house is in probate court and I cannot have the water turned on!”
Extreme hurdle. Look, it's called “fraud protection”. What if someone added water service to your property while you were away that cause you to get a bill that you did not intend? All that is to make sure that fraud does not happen. I can guarantee if he had shut the water off and then got a bill because some squaters decided to turn on the water that he'd be asking “how did you let so and so just up and turn on the water?”
In another instance, a woman was sent a shut-off notice, and then the contractor (the water department has private contractors doing the shut-offs) showed up two days prior to the date indicated on the notice. She reported that the contractor refused to give her or her pregnant neighbor time to fill any containers before they shut off the water.
Did I mention having children you cannot afford to care for? Yes I did.

The MWRO has heard from people who are being charged as much as $500 per month for water. One member estimated the average water bill for a family of four is $150 to $200 per month. The MWRO says, “for thousands of people in this city – and in the surrounding suburbs as well – this represents as much as 20 per cent of their monthly income.” These bills include two charges: one for water service and another charge for sewerage service. The sewerage charges are about twice the water charges.
Let me direct the reader to a chart of average urban water pricing: http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2010/world/the-price-of-water-a-comparison-of-water-rates-usage-in-30-u-s-cities/ You see Detroit? Down there at $40.55 a month for a family of 4 using 150 gallons per person per day. If your bill of $500 which is over 10x the average, it would be prudent to ask what this person is doing to get such a high water bill. Even if the sewage part of the bill is 2x the water bill, it would mean that on average the bill would be $120 so a $500 water bill is still nearly 4x above average and indicates that this person is using far more water than the average family. First thing that should be asked about that family is: do you have leaky faucets in your house? Do your toilets constantly run after being flushed? Do you wash clothes at home and if so how often? How many showers are being taken by all parties and for how long? When washing in the sink do you leave your faucet running? You would be surprised at the amount of water (and electricity) is wasted in daily use.

Now the next portion of the report is interesting:

A Sierra Club representative attended one of the department’s finance committees and learned that 57 per cent of “city commercial” users had not paid their water bills (10,042 out of 18,057) with an average bill totaling $1,976.98. Fifty-five per cent of “city in­dustrial” users were delinquent (869 out of 1,588) with an average bill totaling $10,817.96. In total, there are 10, 911 delinquent commercial and industrial users owing the city $29,253,599.93.
Certainly this is a problem. Of course I don't see why ANYONE should be off the hook when they owe for services rendered. However there is a wrinkle in this: Who are these businesses? There is no listings so we don't know who they are. Secondly there is not a statement as to whether these are "only" late payers who have not crossed the time threshold for cut offs or if they are in a comparable situation, time wise, as those who are receiving cut off notices.

Secondly, lets assume for a minute that the Water department shuts off the water to those commercial enterprises, thereby causing those enterprises to close down for the amount of time it takes to get the water service restored. How does that affect the income of the employees of those businesses? Again, this is not an argument that the businesses should be off the hook, just another angle. Certainly the city of Detroit could (and should) tack on their delinquent accounts to their taxes due and collect every April 15th. We know the IRS can and will reach into bank accounts to get their money.

So there is no "either or" situation. The $29 million owed by commercial and industrial entities is a drop in the bucket of the $5 billion that is needed by the city. Even if you account for the $29 million you still have a need for $4,971,000,000 in needed funds. Good luck with that. So lets go to the recommendations put forth by this group.

Recommendations: 1. We call on the State of Michigan and the U.S. government to respect the human right to water and sanitation.
2. We call on the city to restore services to households that have been cut off immediately.
3. We call on the city to abandon its plan for further cut-offs.
4. We call on the federal and state governments to work with the city to ensure a sustainable public financing plan and rate structure that would prevent a transfer of the utility’s financial burden onto residents who are currently paying exorbitant rates for their water services.
5. We call for fair water rates for the residents of Detroit.
6. We call on the City of Detroit to implement the original water affordability program immediately.
lets go over these: 1) As if they don't.

2) Translation, even if I don't pay for it, I should receive services thereby shifting the cost burden onto someone or anyone else.

3) Translation: because even if don't pay for it, I should receive services thereby shifting the cost burden onto someone or anyone else.

4) You are the someone else. The State= tax payers of the rest of Michigan. Federal= The tax payers of the rest of the country. Public financing is what already happens as the Detroit Water Department is funded in part by loans from the state (http://www.dwsd.org/downloads_n/about_dwsd/financials/2012_water_fund.pdf).

5) Well what's fair? Nothing in the report actually addresses the cost of supplying water to the residents. How can you have a call for “fair” pricing when there isn't even a discussion of what it actually costs to deliver water, what it costs to maintain the system and how that cost is maintained.

6) This program (http://mwro.org/water_affordability_program.htm) states in part:

   The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) will provide annual funding for a water affordability program for income-eligible Detroit residents, funded solely by customers in Detroit.  The initial annual funding level will be $5.0 million for Fiscal Year 2006-07, which begins July 1, 2006.
If 40+ percent of Detroit residents can't afford their water bill how do they plan on getting them to chip in for the 5 million? The 5 million represents 6% of the Detroit metro's revenues to DWSD. I do not see how $5 million/year would get 40% of the customers who are allegedly not able to pay to continue with service. They have this covered though:
While future additional funding levels cannot be specified at this time, DWSD will establish a minimum annual funding level of $5 million.
Translation: We'll be back for more.
2.    In addition to the funding level identified above, DWSD will implement during FY 2006-07 a voluntary checkoff contribution on water bills for all retail City of Detroit customer classes to help fund the water affordability program.  The checkoff program will provide for the following initial checkoff amounts: a.      DWSD proposed a $0.50 per month checkoff for residential customers; The MWRO prefers a $1 per month checkoff; b.      A $3 per month checkoff for commercial and all other non-residential, non-industrial customers; c.      A $20 per month checkoff for industrial customers; d.      The checkoff amounts will be reviewed on an annual basis to determine whether the amounts for one or more customer types should be adjusted.
This is a clear “you pay for my life” technique which is the entire point of the campaign. It is interesting to note a link off the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization's page to a Metro Times online has the following:
Perhaps inevitably, tension began to arise; the initial concern, however, was not suburban control of the water system but rather Detroit officials balking at the idea of subsidizing growth that would eventually drain away residents and erode Detroit’s tax base
Oh wait. Detroit didn't want to subsidize other people? Shocking. SHOCKING.
For the previous three summers drought had virtually dried up spigots in western Wayne County. Some areas had banned new housing, and industry would not locate in the area due to the shortages. Trucks were delivering water to residents. Lenhardt hung tough. He told them to build their own systems. Detroit, he said, was not going to sell them water that would facilitate the suburban exodus.
Well I suppose back in the 50's the idea of “water as a right” didn't quite exist.
Summarizing the prevailing view at the time, the Detroit Times editorialized that “the reason for unification of the water supply in Detroit’s department is because the Detroit system has the economic base — its present facilities and paying customers — to finance expansion. No other apparent combination of communities has such resources.”
Detroit had the economic base, present facilities and paying customers. Now it doesn't have the economic base. The present facilities probably need upgrading and the paying customers are mostly in the suburbs ($240 million vs $74 million).
Moreover, the rates Detroit does charge are a relative bargain. According to Black and Veatch, of the 20 largest U.S. cities, Detroit’s rates are the fifth lowest.
Wait? So are the prices “fair” or not? IN the end what really happened in Detroit is this: Black folks took over the political reigns (in FULL violation of the sequential equation) but were unable to support such a large city economically. Once "whitey" was put out the tax base time bomb blew up. Middle class black folks who did not want to deal with the high crime in Detroit ALSO ran out of the city, further fueling the atomic bomb that dropped on that city. The black folks that remained were, like their counterparts across the US, heavily dependent upon government jobs for their livelihood. But as Detroit shrunk in population it's actual need for a lot of these civil servants dropped. More middle class decimation. Take away the manual labour provided by the auto industry and you had a perfect storm.

Detroit is going to be gentrified. It will be gentrified because in America the tax payer is "king". No revenue means no services. So people who generate revenue are sought after. Guess what group in Detroit has shown that they are not net revenue generators?

I don't get joy from having to point these things out. It's actually quite tiring. This is the same thing Garvey warned us about in the 1920s. You gotta build it if you want to run it and benefit from it. However the more we stay in denial about the real deal issues in Detroit, Camden, Chicago, etc. the more we're going to see these things play out. Whether it be destruction of cities or high levels of homicide and other assault related events that happen way out of proportion in black communities.

China Plans Investment Bank To Break World Bank Dominance

Western dominance in the financial system will soon end. They really played themselves when they got Visa and Mastercard to stop taking transactions for Russians over the issue in Ukraine. I know it is not the World Bank but it is reflective of the goals and aims of those who run it.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will extend China’s financial reach and compete not only with the World Bank, but also with the Asian Development Bank, which is heavily dominated by Japan. The $100 billion in capital is double that originally proposed, the Financial Times (FT) reported.

A member of the World Bank, China has less voting power than countries like the US, Japan, and the UK. It is in the ‘Category II’ voting bloc, giving it less of a voice. In the Asian Development Bank, China only holds a 5.5 percent share, compared to America’s 15.7 percent share and Japan’s 15.6 share.

At the International Monetary Fund, China pays a 4 percent quota, whereas the US pays nearly 18 percent, and therefore has more influence within the organization and where loans go.

“China feels it can’t get anything done in the World Bank or the IMF so it wants to set up its own World Bank that it can control itself,” the FT quoted a source close to discussions as saying.

Oh yeah and this kind of move is what got Ghaddifi killed. Don't believe the "Human rights" hype. Difference is that the US and NATO can't go bombing China.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Water Is Freeeeeeeeee...But The Pipes Cost Money. Oh Yeah!

Lets start with the lead paragraph from this report from CBS Detroit:
It’s a basic human right: water. But could the United Nations soon help the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department provide the service to struggling customers?
The UN?

Wait. Look. I'm not even going to get into the debate on whether water is a human right. With the number of people who literally starve to death anywhere on the planet with the full knowledge of governments under which they live, it should be self-evident to anyone that water, like anything else you need to live, is something you should have access to but clearly is not a “right”. But you don't have to agree with me on that. Lets take that statement at face value. Water is a right. Fine. The process of getting it to your faucet? Not so much.

One of the recurring themes in various “conservative” white websites is that black people are unable to maintain a certain level of civilization. That wherever we set foot and take over, the previous levels of quality of life drops. When I read stuff like the above quote, all it does is provide evidence for this line of thinking.

And while Garner says water is “a God-given right,” she says there is a cost to move water from the water resource to the customer and that the infrastructure costs money.
Question: How did these so called “activists” miss this part? Answer: Because none of these “activists” ever considered what it actually takes to pipe water from where it is stored (not even considering what it takes to store it) to the various individual customers. Why? Because these “activists” are not “nationalists” on the level of Marcus Garvey who understood one must build that which one wishes to use.

With that in mind lets look at the “right to water” and what the folks are actually asking for.

Again, taking the “right to water” as a given, all that actually means is that you have the right to get water for whatever uses you have. That is you can go to a fresh water source dip in a bucket or whatever, scoop up the water and take it home, drink it on the spot, use it to wash your clothes, whatever. You have that right. The city of Detroit is not stopping anyone from doing that. For those who are more creative they are free to get huge containers and put them at the end of their gutters and collect all the rainwater that falls on their houses (if so situated). They may be able to hang collectors out of their apartment windows or otherwise route water into containers for their own use. Now some states and municipalities have restricted this behaviour because they have managed to somehow claim rights over rainwater. I have STRONG objections to this but it's worth mentioning. These are the “free” options available to anyone who wishes to have water without paying for the utility. Mind you it will be inconvenient but it is definitely within your “rights” to do.

For your convenience here is a link to instructions on how you can make a home rainwater collection system:

http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Rainwater-Collection-System

Now if you don't want to do the aforementioned things to obtain and store water for your personal use, then you contract with the city (or other utility) to bring water to you. Now here's the thing: While you may have a right to water, you don't have right to another person's labour for free. If you want someone to bring you water, then you have to pay that person to bring you the water. That's fair. Why should anyone give away their labour? Why should anyone be forced to give their labour for free? That's what we call slavery.

Are the activists in Detroit OK with slavery?

In order to get water to each resident of Detroit, a reservoir system had to be created. That involved the labour of a lot of people. Those reservoirs have to be monitored and maintained. That is not free.

*Ching*

Then pipes of various sizes have to be laid. That involved digging into the ground and all the stuff that goes with such construction. Not free.

*Ching*

There are various pumping stations to make sure there is enough water pressure for all that water to make it to the homes. Those cost money.

*Ching*

Then after getting to the home, the water has to be removed. That's waste water that has to be treated before it can be returned to a body of water somewhere.

*Ching*

And since those pipes and pumps and the like don't last forever money has to be spent on replacing them, preferably before they burst. That costs money, including the crews that will be doing the work.

*Ching*

Do the people of Detroit think that all this (and I've made a very very brief overview) is free? That they ought not pay for their share of the costs of running what we call “civilization”? Would the people of Detroit, who are complaining about paying for the convenient access to water be willing to give their labor to the Water Works department for FREE or in exchange for their “free” water? Do these folks even have the skills required to do ANY part of the work that does not involve holding up a stop sign in traffic?

So lets go back to the report:

Garner said the reality is that nearly half of Detroit Water and Sewerage customers can’t pay their bills; and that has led activists to lobby the UN to step up and take action.
Why should the UN get involved? What business does the UN have in Detroit?

How about the “activists” take a gander at the “understanding rates” section of the DWSD website. Then they can come back and tell us what exactly is “free” about that water that “magically” appears at the faucet. Lets stop giving ammunition to folks who say that black folks are simply incapable, as a group, to maintain a high level of civilization without the intervention of white folks. Pay your fucking water bill (and any other debt you owe).

Monday, June 23, 2014

"Allah" Belongs To Muslims....

The Church launched a court case to challenge the directive, arguing that the word Allah had been used for centuries in Malay-language Bibles and other literature to refer to God outside of Islam. But authorities say that using Allah in non-Muslim literature could confuse Muslims and entice them to convert, which is a crime in Malaysia.
Two things. Not only has Allah been used to refer to God by non-Muslims but so has the common Muslim greeting. This isn't really about who may use the word. It is really about the possible "criminal" conversion of Muslims to other religions.

It's interesting, because one of the claims that is commonly given by those adherents to Islam is that it is a universal religion and there is only one God. Well if there is only one God then why would any Muslim with such an understanding be bothered by any non-Muslim referring to Allah? Because it's not really about recognizing the One God. Rather it is about recognizing a specific way of worshipping that One God.

This is really about control. This is why in such places where the most insecure Muslims congregate there are laws against conversion (formal or informal). There are laws against speaking ill of the religion (formal or informal). There are laws against speaking ill of the Prophet (formal or informal). And those laws apply, oddly, to those who do not ascribe to said religion. It would be one thing if such laws (outside of conversion) were only applied to Muslims. That's fair. If you are in the group you abide by the rules. But when others are subject to the rules of the in group, then you have a whole other issue.

Stolen Legacy

No, not the book by George GM James. The children:

Syria

United States

Africa

“I thought of leaving [the fighting] a lot,” said Saleh, 17, one of the recruits. “I lost my studies, I lost my future, I lost everything. I looked for work, but there’s no work. This is the most difficult period for me.” Russia Times
The Ghost has said repeatedly that a man without a purpose, work, education or attachment to family is a danger. A community full of such men is a bomb waiting to go off. When we steal the childhood of our children we steal our own legacy.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Since We're Speaking Of Black Degree Attainment....

There is important and indeed some very bad news: Black women have built a huge lead over black men in college degree attainments. Today there are 2,670,000 black women with a four-year degree or better. This compares to only 1,909,000 black men. Therefore, it turns out that black women account for almost 58 percent of all the African Americans who have completed four years of college or more in our country.

For those African Americans who have only a bachelor’s degree but no higher degree, black women have an even larger lead. There are 1,874,000 black women with a bachelor’s degree compared to 1,341,000 black men.

Some 669,000 black women hold a master’s degree compared to 409,000 black men. Thus, black women hold 62 percent of all African-American master’s degrees, an even larger share of their total in bachelor’s degree attainments.

Black men continue to have a lead over black women in their numbers of professional degrees. Approximately 88,000 black men have a professional degree in the United States today compared to 62,000 black women. But black women are closing the gap. As we show on page 64 of this issue of JBHE, black women now earn nearly two thirds of all new professional degrees earned by African Americans. Therefore, it will only be a few years before black women overtake black men in the total number of professional degrees held by living African Americans.

Black men continue to hold the lead in doctorates but here too the gap is closing rapidly. Today black women hold 65,000 of the 136,000 doctorates held by living African Americans. But black women now earn 65 percent of all new doctorates awarded to African Americans. Therefore, the overall gender gap in favor of black men is likely to evaporate in the near future.
[my underlines]
And
Today black women hold a large lead over black men in enrollments in almost all undergraduate and graduate programs. And this gender gap has grown over the past 30 years. Most important, black women have a college graduation rate that is significantly higher than the rate for black men. This current and growing enrollment gender gap among African Americans, coupled with a far higher college graduation rate for black women compared to black men, means that in future years, the gender gap in African-American degree attainments is certain to grow even wider. The most serious news is that if present trends continue, a generation from now black women with a four-year college degree will outnumber black men with a bachelor’s degree by a ratio of 2 to 1.[My underlines]
It is already that case that unlike every other ethnic and racial group in the US, Black women are more employed than black men. With Black women representing 54% of those employed and 47% of those unemployed (median weekly earnings being less though).

Yahoo Joins the fray, The Ghost Breaks Out The Stats

The LA Tims reports on Yahoo's employee demographics. Headline:
Yahoo reveals its workforce, too, is dominated by men
Let me pause and address this very, very sexist title. Could you imagine the following:
NBA reveals its workforce, too, is dominated by Blacks
or
Chicago reveals its murderers, too, are dominated by blacks
And as if anyone really gives a shit.
[name a city public works department] too are dominated by men
Because you know, men do most, as in 99% of the hard and dirty labour that the public uses every day without so much as a though or a thanks. But when it's a field that women want in on, the fact that there are men all over the place is a problem. But when it comes to a field such as say, nursing do you ever see this?
Holy Name Hospital reveals it's nursing staff, too, is dominated by women
Or how about elementary education?
[anytown] USA school chancellor reveals that it's teaching staff, too, is dominated by women
Oh it is true that there are smatterings of discussions about the lack of men in teaching positions in elementary and high school education, but never is it presented in such a way that women dominating the teaching profession is a problem. With all that said, I'll go back to the original purpose of this post.
The company also reported that 50% of its U.S. workers are white and 39% are Asian. African Americans and Latinos make up just 6% of U.S. workers.
Once again the fact that Asians are so overly represented at Yahoo just as they are at LinkedIn and Google goes entirely uncommented on. I suppose a headline like:
Asians totally overrunning US tech Industry
Wouldn't fly partially because it would bring a LOT of attention to H1B visas. But looking at the fact that African-American and Hispanic employees make up a combined 6% of the employees brings us to why this is Yahoo's "fault" or "problem".

Lets' look at the data shall we?

Total Ph.D. production in computing programs held steady in 2010-11, with 1,782 degrees granted
That's very few people getting top level PHD's in computer science. I'm sure that they are in high demand as well. According to that paper. CS BS degrees awarded topped out in 2003 with around 22k degrees awarded. when we look at the ethnic and racial breakdown of those awarded said degrees we find that "Black or African-Americans" get 4.6% of those degrees [Pg 7]

Whites take 64.8% and Asians 15.3%

When we look at gender we find that women take 29.5% of Masters to 70.5% for men. When we look at Master's degrees by race and ethnicity we find:

Black or African-American: 2.6%
White 31.2%
Asian 12.4%
Non-resident Alien 50.4% (Why is "Non-resident Alien" recorded with ethnicity?)

When it comes to Phd level degrees, Men hold 80.2% of the degrees to women's 19.8% Black or African-American's hold 1.4% of PhD level CS degrees
Whites, 34.3%
Asians 12.3%
Nonresident Alien 49.6% (again why is this in the ethnicity section and WHO is it hiding?)

So returning to Yahoo's information we find that their employees reflect the educational attainment of the various groups mentioned. Why is this being presented as if Yahoo is or has done anything wrong?

Clearly then this entire "why are so many [white] men employed" run is about something other than facts. If black folks want to see their numbers go up, then it is clear that more of them will need to enter and graduate computer science programs.

It's always easier to cry wolf than to actually buckle down and do the hard work. I for one would appreciate it if one of these companies looked a journalist in the eye and say:

Our employees represent that overall demographics of those who complete various levels of computer science degrees. Don't bother us until or unless those demographics change. interview over.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Kathy Swift Is an Idiot

The things that make it onto Counterpunch pages these days. I tell you.
According to the biometric standards presented by Siegel, membership in gang culture can be determined by such commonplace behaviors as speaking Spanish and talking on cell phones. The appearance of tattoos — specifically those of Aztec and Mayan origin — and the wearing of “gang clothing,” described as being such things as 805 attire or professional sports clothing — also, signify definitive evidence of gang affiliation according to the prosecutor and the detective.

Other indicators of gang membership according to Dozer include graffiti writing and public intoxication, as well as the use of Spanish-sounding nicknames and/or the making of gestures like the “V” and “W” sign. The DA views graffiti as a particularly strong marker of gangsterism, so a great deal of the prosecution’s argument addressed the alleged coded messages gang members are said to be sending to each other through graffiti. Working like smoke signals on street corners, gang graffiti, according to city officials, indicates the presence of “criminal enterprises” that, taken along with tattoos, clothing, language, and gestures, serve to intimidate local residents.
Because you know, Gang members don't wear certain clothes that signify their affiliation.

No Latin Kings to see here. Move along please.

MS what? Oh never mind it's just a pretty tattoo. Nothing scientific to be gathered here. Move along.

Nortenos? What Nortenos?

No Crips to see here. Please move along.

Absolutely no Bloods in view. All that red? No, no no. Nothing at all to see.

Does that say Rivera Kills?

I could go on but really it is self evident that Kathy Swift is a bonfire idiot. What I don't understand is how:

1) With her intense distaste for facts she is actually far along into a PhD program. I mean SHIT, what exactly is a PhD worth these days when candidates for it can show a willful disregard for actual facts?

2) Counterpunch even allowed this piece of non-fact checked trash to grace its website.

Stating the Obvious Shocks People

Apparently it is actually news to people that companies such as LinkedIN and Google hire mostly white males. As a person who has not been living under a rock and reads material other than Salon, Counterpunch and Alternet I have long known that not only is the US a majority white nation (including white "hispanics") but it also follows that White folks create the vast majority of businesses. Not only that but white folks create the vast majority of businesses that hire people other than the principals (the majority of black owned businesses only employ the owner). Combining these two bits of information it is expected that the vast majority of those hired at companies started by whites (particularly males) would in fact hire mostly white folks.

In other news, Korean grocery stores employ mostly Koreans and Chinese restaurants have mostly if not entirely Chinese staff.

Nothing to see there.

Moving onto the more interesting data, these companies both hire a staggeringly disproportionate number of Asians. Asians make up a very small percentage of the US population. They are less than half the population of African-Americans, and yet in both Google and LinkedIn, they make upwards of 30% of the workforce. Now either there is a hella affirmative action program for Asians or Asians as a group have such desirable skills that they are sought after by high tech companies.

I'll take the latter for $1000 Alex.

In predictable fashion both LinkedIN and Google promised to "do better". Do better at what? Hiring black folks to increase that 2%? How do they figure they'll do that? In a recent report on black students at NYC's premier public high schools which are populated by students on a strictly merit basis: An entrance exam; Whites and Asians make up the vast majority of the students. With Asians once again represented far higher than their population suggests they should. Blacks? Well you could count them on two hands. No seriously. Two hands.

Are black folks going to actually blame white folks for the fact that they apparently cannot raise a decent cohort of students that can be competitive at science and math? I mean you don't need high tech equipment or even a computer to do math. Seriously. Paper, pencil and a book out the library will do. If the pipeline of top notch black programming talent is dryer than Califorinia reservoirs, how exactly do LinkedIn and Google "do better"?

Seriously. Explain this to me. How is this Googles problem or LinkedIN's fault?

Look. If HARPO Studios, created by none other than Oprah Winfrey herself cannot manage to employ 60% African-Americans at her studio why the hell should anyone be mad at Google or LinkedIN? Someone ought to send the EEOC to Harpo studios and get them to explain why a black company apparently cannot find qualified black staff.

I mean how is it that Oprah Winfrey could not find a BLACK CEO to run her company?

How about a Black CFO?

Nope. No dice.

No seriously. If I'm supposed to be mad at Google and LinkedIN for hiring their own and not hiring black folks, why should I let Harpo off the hook?

Question: If black people start businesses and employ white folks to run them and not other black folks, what signal does that send to the rest of the world about the qualifications of black professionals? And if black folks don't trust their own to run their own businesses why the hell should anyone else hire black folks to work for them?

Lead by example? No?

A little suggestion as to how to get black children to be good at math from a recent article in the NY Times:

Soon Chrispin and Christopher had no choice but to listen to Haelleca. In February, their mother disconnected the television and locked away the Xbox after discovering that Chrispin had not been doing his homework for weeks in a row.
The television, and the things attached to it are the greatest detriment to a child's education in modern creation. Black children watch more TV than any other group in the US.

This constant entertainment and stimulation that requires no effort is a top reason for the poor performance of students. Children who are watching TV are not reading. They are not being read to. They are not problem solving. They are not being creative with their time. They are not taking apart radios and other items out of curiosity (or straight boredom) and learning how things work. In short they are NOT LEARNING.

The Asians and whites who are clogging up the likes of Google, LinkedIn and Harpo are those who's parents did what they were supposed to do and made it clear to their children what was expected of them. Unlike say these folks:

Clearly a budding scholar in training. What are the odds that thing child will be suspended from school for discipline problems in the not to distant future? And surely the parents and others will blame racism and the all powerful white folks for that.

Cause you know, White folks are the reason for everything under the sun. Don't you know?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Misleading Headlines

The Guardian posts the following headline:
British public wrongly believe rich pay most in tax, new research shows
The clear implication that the rich don't pay the most in taxes. Now you and I know full well that when we say "more" we mean the amount that is asked for. If I get charged 20k for a car that you pay 10k for. Then I have paid more than you for the car. The math is clear 20K > 10K. But that's not actually what the Guardian is saying.
The poorest 10% of households pay eight percentage points more of their income in all taxes than the richest – 43% compared to 35%, according to a report from the Equality Trust.
Oh, you mean as a percentage of income. Well that's an entirely different argument. We can extend that argument too. How about the poorest households pay more, as a percent of income, for food, clothes, well everything that has a cost associated with it, than anybody else. By that measure, the poor are screwed aren't they?

But as taxes go, if I have 1 million Pounds and I pay 35% of that in taxes, then I put in 350,000 Pounds in the state coffers. However; if I have 10,000 Pounds and I pay 43% of that in taxes, then I put in 4300 Pounds into the coffers. Nowhere near what the rich me would be paying. So what's the solution to all this "inequality" of burden?

The survey of more than 1,000 people also found a strong majority – 96% – believe that the tax system should be more progressive than is currently the case.
Ahh "progressive" which means of course, you tax the wealthy at a higher rate than those who are not so wealthy. If you want to do that, have at it. Just don't lead a story with the wrong facts about who is actually paying more cause really though, the rich are paying more than the poor.

The public isn't wrong.

Silly People Running Ukraine

Russia has cut off gas supplies to Ukraine after a payment deadline passed and negotiators failed to reach a deal with Russia on gas prices and unpaid bills.

Gazprom's spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said that since Ukraine had not paid for the gas by Monday Moscow, had no legal grounds to carry on supplying it to Ukraine.

However, Kupriyanov added that the supply to Europe was continuing as planned and Ukraine was obliged to make sure gas reached its European customers.
One thing should be obvious to anyone who lives somewhere with neighbors. You don't piss them off in order to make friends with the people in another town.

Secondly. When you depend on that neighbor to say, get to work, you don't piss them off in order to make friends with the people in another town.

How any thinking person in government in Ukraine thought it was a good idea to piss off Russia in order to make friends with the US/EU is beyond me. There are a number of things that Ukraine could have done to not align themselves with either party, but they allowed themselves to be manipulated into a stupid conflict with its neighbor.

Lets be clear; Ukraine is broke. It is not paying Russia's Gazprom. the EU, IMF and whoever else is bailing out the Ukrainian economy (if you want to call it that) is who is paying Gazprom. I'm not entirely clear on how you "negotiate" the payment for services already rendered because you object to the costs of future services. If the costs of future services were of concern, then perhaps the entire debacle that was the coup in Kiev ought to have been considered more carefully.

Back here in the real world, we know that if we fail to pay our bills in full and on time, we get higher rates because we are considered a bad risk. If we want to get better rates, we behave in such a way that shows that we are good for the credit extended to us. It is really that simple. Not paying bills. Allowing embassies to be damaged and having "diplomats" [sic] talk about "Putin is a fucker" is really not how you show that you will make good on payments owed.

Ukraine is fortunate that this event did not happen during winter. This was, of course, on purpose. This gives the EU time to figure out how they will pay for Ukraine's gas needs before the cold comes. We'll see how long it takes for mature folks to take over from the children in the room.

Boris Johnson States Unequivocal Facts About Iraq

The reality is that before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, there was no Al-Qaeda presence in that country, none at all.” Despite his brutal tyranny, “Saddam did not have anything to do with the 9/11 attack and he did not possess Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

Hammering the point home about just what exactly British and American interventionism accomplished in Iraq, Johnson lays it out simply, “The truth is that we destroyed the institutions of authority in Iraq without having the foggiest idea what would come next. As one senior British general has put it to me, ‘we snipped the spinal cord’ without any plan to replace it. There are more than 100,000 dead Iraqis who would be alive today if we had not gone in and created the conditions for such a conflict, to say nothing of the troops from America, Britain and other countries who have lost their lives in the shambles.”
All you troops who have PTSD. All you troops with blown off limbs and other bodily injuries. All you families with losses of family members take note. There is an election coming up. You read the above and you VOTE accordingly.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Willfully blind

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Matthew 7:3-5 Norman Pollack writes
Let’s not forget my imaginative scenario: ten years from now, YFA to emulate the values of their elders and replicate the preceding history of war, intervention, surveillance, as carrying forward the fascist mindset into the American future. Come with me into the scene, for like Hitler’s “Strength through Joy” movement, aimed in this case particularly at the youth, as a vanguard group, we see fitness as a national priority, taking the form, beyond athletics, of political exercise of a more untoward kind: beginning with uniforms, arm bands, torchlight parades through working class, minority, and immigrant neighborhoods, then turned specifically to incendiary attacks on radicals, stoning of women who seek independent selfhood, and VIOLENCE as standard practice to be directed against critics, dissenters, any and all known to object to intervention, abridgment of the right of privacy, social injustice, gross class differences of wealth and power, in sum, malcontents presumptively under the control of a foreign government.
It is interesting that Pollack fails to see the situation he describes as existing right this very minute. The incendiary attacks? They happen to those who are described as "Christian". They happen to those who disagree with same sex marriage. It happens to those who oppose paying for abortions or birth control for other people. Far from stoning women who seek independence, it is in the form of death threats against groups attempting to hold conferences on men's issues. Let us be clear the fascism Pollack discusses is not something 10 years off. It is right here right now. Except the fascism he speaks of is currently directed at "approved" targets. These approved targets are conveniently referred to as "haters". And it is apparently OK to do these things to "haters" because "haters" have no rights.

See The Ghost stands on principle. Not ideology. Not party affiliation. Principle. This is why The Ghost doesn't deal in Right and Left. Because it is human nature to overlook one's own errors and the errors of your compatriots. furthermore it is highly likely that when one's livelihood is attached to appeasing a certain group that one will either willfully ignore facts that are in full view or willfully hide them from view. This is what happens when you engage in the "them always bad, we always right" game.

Get the partisan beam out of your eye.

GW Bush's Iraq War Blowback Arrives

We were lied to about weapons of mass destruction. We were told shit like "the Iraqis will party in the streets". We were told about yellow cake, marble cake and big cauldrons of biological weapons at the ready. We were told "Mission Accomplished". We were told that we were making the world safe from terrorists. Blah.

Blah.

And blah.

Now Al Qaeda in Iraq, which I remind the reader didn't exist prior to the US invasion, has essentially taken over 4 major cities. I remind the reader that Saddam Hussein, AKA (Our boy in Iraq) was "not liked" by Al-Qaeda. Therefore by toppling his government, the US opened the door to what we are currently witnessing..

I will also note the route allegedly taken by ISIS. They came via Syria. Why is this important? Because this administration has been supporting Al-Qaeda in Syria in its attempt to overthrow the government of Bashir (another leader who is hated by Al-Qaeda types). .

Not only that but I will put down cold hard cash, that the US government arms, which has been given to various rebels over the objections of informed people, have been used in these attacks in Iraq. I will further speculate that arms from Libya have also played no small part.

The question now for the citizenry of the US (and so called allied countries) is whether they will put GW Bush on trial. Whether Powell will be put on trial. We know they lied. We know the reason for US intervention in Iraq was fraudulent. It is high time that these fellows pay.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Black Agenda Report Asks The First Question, The Ghost Asks the Next Set

Today's edition of Black Agenda Report points out the following:
If a thousand armed Blacks had gathered in one place, pointing rifles at federal officers, and two of them later cold-bloodedly assassinated policemen, the federal response would touch every Black neighborhood in America. But the armed white Right gets a pass. Racists are resources to those in power. “The national security state’s legitimacy is based on (white) mass fear and loathing of the Other.”
Here's what we should ask next. Is it the collection of armed people (black, white or otherwise) pointing rifles at federal officers an actual problem? I know a publication has to be quite careful that it doesn't appear to be promoting the armed resistance (or overthrow) of the US Government. 'Cause we all know that we can get the Syria, Iraq, Libya or Palestine treatment if we do anything more than walk around with protest signs.
That’s why the FBI puts a bounty on the head of sister Assata Shakur, living peacefully in Cuba, while allowing white racists to point high-powered rifles at the heads of federal officers in rural Nevada. Two of those fascists later put bullets in the brains of policemen in Las Vegas, but there will be no general crackdown on the Millers’ comrades in arms, no assassinations of Cliven Bundys in their sleep, no great Gulag of lifetime solitary confinement for white militiamen. The Empire needs them. It always has.
So is it the case that the "white racists" ought to have bounties put on their heads for their opposition to the federal government (since, you know, they are a rare threat to black lives compared to say, random black men in certain cities are) or is it the case that the fed ought not be putting bounties on anyone's head who have not committed crimes? Or if the crimes are done with the aim of a social or political end? Also lets take Black Agenda Report to task for the following:
who earlier this year had been among an army of fascists gathered in defense of racist rancher Cliven Bundy, shot two Las Vegas cops in the head and killed a bystander at a Wal-Mart. After declaring, “This is the start of a revolution,” they committed suicide.[My underlines]
The actual definition of fascism is:
: a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government
By definition then, the events at the Cliven ranch cannot be defined as Fascist nor the participants "fascists" because they clearly object to the central government and believe that they can in fact disagree with the government.

This is what happens when one sloppily uses pejorative terms to describe those whom you disagree with. Those involved with the Cliven Ranch may well be racists (open or closeted) but does that mean their objection to Federal overreach is unwarranted? And if their objections are in fact warranted then perhaps effort is better put concentrating on those issues.

If There Is "No expectation"....

London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced the purchase of first water cannons for the Metropolitan Police. The move triggered uproar in the UK as deployment of the cannons has not been authorized and reportedly 98 percent of Britons are against their use
Why?
A document posted on the mayor's policing and crime website states claims “purchasing at this time considerably improves the possibility that the Metropolitan Police would have the tool to deploy in the summer.” It adds that such tools “are most likely to be needed” in spite of the fact “there are no expectations of violence.” [My underlines]
A classic case of doublespeak. If there is "no expectation of violence" then why are the Metropolitan Police prepared to deploy the water canons "in the summer"? For a case of "no expectation" that is certainly a well defined timeline.

And people wonder why political parties such as UKIP are gaining ground across Europe. Recall the transcript I pointed the reader to on the 9th:

MP: Sovereignty is the foundation of democracy. Without sovereignty, there is no democracy, because having the freedom to cast a ballot in a ballot box is one thing, but if the people you elected with your ballot have no power because the actual power was transferred to a supranational body, then we are no longer in a democratic process.
Or in this case, a clear mandate from the public against water canons that were purchased with their taxes anyway.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Anti-Racism Groups Condemn Far-Right Leader in France

Jean Le Pen says:
In a video posted on the National Front’s website and later removed, Mr. Le Pen, 85, lashed out against several of his critics, including the former tennis champion Yannick Noah and the pop star Madonna. When questioned about the French singer Patrick Bruel, who is Jewish and has been critical of the National Front, Mr. Le Pen said: “We’ll include him in the next batch.” In the comment, Mr. Le Pen used the French word “fournée,” which refers to a batch of bread to be baked, and was interpreted by his critics to be a reference to crematories at Nazi death camps.
First:

Translations of fournée noun batch lot, fournée, groupe, contingent, paquet, quantité lot lot, sort, lot de terrain, fournée, destinée, destine
Because obviously you can't take "fournée" is any other way.

Second:

I'm not all that conversant in French but I do know that among my people if someone has a harsh rebuke of a critic we sometimes say that he or shit "got lit into". My Jamaican brethren will say "more fiyah!" Anytime someone speaks out strongly against someone. Sometimes you might even hear a "burn dem" as a reference to eliminating your adversary, usually not literally.

So it is not unheard of for baking references to be used in reference to verbal "combat." So I'm giving LePen the benefit of the doubt.

Third:

This is the usual m.o. of certain Jews and Jewish organizations when they wish to squash dissent. You'll notice that nothing in the piece deals with WHAT Le Pen had to say about his critics. The entire piece is about his alleged Anti-Semetism. This is the fear narrative I discussed in the previous piece and all it goes to show is that the opposition to FN has no real argument against FN. There entire discussion is, Le Pen is against immigration. Being against immigration is bad. Therefore Le Pen and FN is bad. Do not associate.

Here's the thing though. This whole anti-semite dog and pony show is not going to work for too much longer. There are in fact substantial racism and anti-Semitism charges to be made against certain members (and they exist on the left and the right) but as a tactic to obscure the facts and misdirect the public? Soon burnt like cookies left in an oven too long.

Yeah, I made an oven reference. On purpose 'cause I'm done with left wing speech police.

PS: Isn't it kind of counter to the facts to call the political party that wins the majority of the vote "far" anything? It would seem that the political party that wins the most votes would be the mainstream party.

Taliban swapped for Bergdahl could be drone targets, Kerry indicates

Secretary of state John Kerry has indicated that five Guantánamo Bay detainees released in exchange for an American soldier could be killed by drone strike if they return to the battlefield in Afghanistan.
I made this same comment to a relative yesterday. If you think that these 5 are not under surveillance at this very moment, you are totally in the dark about what today's military is capable of. Not only that, I believe that these 5 men have had RFID of some sort implanted in their bodies to allow for their tracking and should they show up somewhere considered a "war zone" or where they can be taken out with minimal to no civilian casualties, they will be made to meet their virgins.

Believe that.

Marine Le Pen: EU political world indifferent to people dying in eastern Ukraine

The EU elite should be scared that people are listening to this. If all the EU has against this woman are charges of racism and anti-Semitism, they should be preparing to shut up shoppe.
MP: Sovereignty is the foundation of democracy. Without sovereignty, there is no democracy, because having the freedom to cast a ballot in a ballot box is one thing, but if the people you elected with your ballot have no power because the actual power was transferred to a supranational body, then we are no longer in a democratic process.
Right on! Or if a president up and decides to bypass congress to wage unconstitutional laws. Or decides he's just not going to enforce laws he doesn't agree with or because he's looking to curry favor with a certain group.
This is true for our territorial sovereignty – we are no longer in control of our immigration policy, since with Schengen all of our borders are open; this is true for our monetary sovereignty, since we are no longer in control of our currency; our budgetary sovereignty – it has just been transferred to the European Union, but also our legislative sovereignty, since currently 80% of the laws which are voted in the French National Assembly are actually a transcription of European directives.
Like you know, bailing out banks when we're supposedly in a recession. Too big to fail. Not prosecuting actual fraud. Setting up poor US Citizens to compete with immigrant labor even as automation continues to shrink the available job pool which impacts Black folks (particularly black males) FAR more than any other group in the US.
MP: Listen, obviously when the European Union made this partnership proposal to Ukraine, this basically meant a rupture of their relationship with Russia, it was a kind of blackmail that could only fuel the divisions of Ukraine, since we know that within the country, there are citizens in the East which look towards Russia and some in the West which look towards the European Union. We were well aware of this. And fuelling these divisions was obviously putting in place conditions for a danger of civil war. So the European Union started the initial fire and since then has only aggravated the situation via threats, blackmail and sanctions, which we can clearly see do not contribute to bringing everyone to the table to find a peaceful and reasonable resolution to this conflict.
Facts clearly stated and known by anyone who's paying attention.
The sanctions that were imposed, including those imposed on Russian deputies and even the president of the Duma, which are even more problematic, are a rupture in historical traditions on a diplomatic level. Generally, we do not sanction deputies because they are the expression of the people. So I am under the impression that there are no more rules, except maybe the ones imposed by the United States, which once again defend their own interests, but their interests are not ours.[my underlines]
Those rules were broken a long time back. One previous and recent example was the deposition of Ghaddafi by NATO. Like Ghaddafi or not, he was the recognized leader of Libya and NATO had no rights under any international law to interfere in the civil war [it fomented] in that country. But there has been no reckoning on that. Why?
MP: To defend ourselves against whom? [...] To defend ourselves against whom? Well, you know that we are for leaving NATO, for France leaving NATO, we have a Gaullian vision of what international politics must be like, we are for developing our relations with Russia, without breaking ties with the United States. We believe that France must maintain its relations with all of the world's great nations, and we do not want to be imposed with a way of seeing things by anybody.
This used to be called "non-aligned". But this fear narrative is what is used to keep people in check. The NSA caught illegally tapping your phones and the first thing is about terrorist and 9-11. Getting stripped searched at the airport without reasonable suspicion? Terrorists and 9-11. Your stuff confiscated by customs and border agents at an airport? Terrorism and 9-11. On a no fly list because you are a dissident? Terrorism and 9-11. Ukraine shits on itself? We gotta go because Russia is a danger. Really. It's a danger to you and me. Sure. And because citizens are too dumb to put these fear mongers out of office for insulting their intelligence and eroding their rights, the government continues to get away with it all.

When a party comes up and strenuously opposes these things, it's racism, anti-semitism, anti-immigrant, etc, knowing full well that most people, if told that so and so is racist or such and such organization is "anti-immigrant" won't even bother to check for themselves and evaluate the validity of claims for themselves because they don't want to be associated with anything like that. Which is another form of the fear agenda.

It seems that people in Europe are slowly waking up to the fear arguments and not having it anymore. And if the transcript above is indicative of the general positions of these so called "far right" organizations, then fear and intimidation politics will soon come to an end.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Chicago Gun Violence: Big Numbers, But a Surprisingly Small Network

Devastating. And I will say, with this in mind, black folks ought to remain mute when a random white guy decides to shoot up his school. With statistics like these we have nothing to say.
The data in the new paper is equally fascinating, and on one level, as you might expect, quite troubling. To begin with, the dramatic disparities the rates of nonfatal gunshot injury: overall it’s 46.5 per 100,000 for the city as a whole from 2006-2012. It’s 1.62 per 100,000 for whites; 28.72 for Hispanics, and 112.83 for blacks.

For all males, it’s 44.68 per 100,000; 239.77 for black males, and for black males from 18-34 it’s 599.65. As Papachristos and co-authors Christopher Wildeman and Elizabeth Roberto point out, that’s a staggering one in 200.
For black folks there are war zones that are probably safer than Chicago. I would think this would be of more interest than the ramblings of a now ex-basketball team owner.
One of the things that had me a little anxious in the first paper was that the gang member variable wasn’t significant. And I hypothesized that it was because there was so much uniformity in the data in the West Side.

In the AJPH study, everyone was black, 40 percent were gang members, and they were all young men; they were all exposed to the same neighborhood conditions as well. When you expand to the whole city, you get Rogers Park, you get Englewood, you get Little Village. You get different types of conditions—housing projects, no housing projects. And that puts a lot more variation in people, and they’re exposed to different things. If everybody’s coming from the West Side, there’s still some variation, but by and large they have the same institutions and sorts of structures.
So it's not gangs. It's not "the projects". What is it then?
This is a great example of how we think about health care and health. This last series of mass shooters—the discussion went to mental health, for good reason. We don’t want crazy people with guns; that discussion should be had. But the real reason we should be talking about mental health is, what does the mental health of, say, mothers does for their families. Even in adverse conditions, even in high-crime communities, high-poverty communities, disadvantaged communities, if the mother of the child is mentally stable and healthy, the child does better. We know this. We know this from clinical trials. We know this from all sorts of things. Yet we never discuss that as part of safety and childhood well-being. [my underlines]
Mother? Ok. And so we'll just pretend that women conceive all by themselves.
And that the same time we want them out there building community, preventing crime, which is not really what policing is designed to do, though that’s what they spend a lot of time doing.
I see this same thing. I recently had a "disagreement" in regards to the concept of "self-defense" where the other person was of the opinion that because there is "security" that an individual does not "need" to think of self-defense. This is the "police prevents crime" attitude. Police are almost always "after the fact". A person who thinks like this is actually saying that they are a willing victim of crime and simply hope to survive it.

However; beyond self-defense, in a community setting such an idea, that it is the police's job, meaning the state's job to "prevent" crime is one of the bigger problems in black communities. It is actually the community member's jobs to prevent crime by not tolerating the presence of members who commit crime and by raising the new members (children) to be morally against committing crime.

But we don’t really look at how health centers or schools can prevent crime. This is the one thing with school violence are about preventing crime tomorrow.
Yes schools can be very helpful in re-enforcing the morality of a community. The think is that when we see massive drop out rates we know that a large number of those who would enter a life of crime are not exactly known for paying attention to teachers.