Water is a right

first_imgDetroiters fight shutoffsDetroit, May 23WW photo: Kris HamelMay 26 — The city of Detroit recently began to cut off water to residents behind in their bill. The measure — in effect telling the people to “Go thirsty, dirty and sewerless!” — was part of banker and emergency-manager-imposed austerity. It aroused a rapid protest.The third “Detroit Freedom Friday” on May 23 shifted its location from the federal bankruptcy court to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department headquarters on Randolph Street downtown. Under a DWSD banner proclaiming, “May is Drinking Water Month in Detroit,” angry activists chanted: “Water is a right! We’re going to fight, fight, fight!”The Moratorium NOW! Coalition, one of the leading organizations opposing the emergency manager and the bankruptcy of this majority African-American city, says the primary reason the EM is shutting off Detroiters’ water is to “set the stage for the suburbs to take control of the Detroit Water and Sewerage System or to sell it off completely.”City retirees fighting deep pension cuts joined with other anti-bankruptcy, anti-EM activists as well as environmental activists and others in protesting what organizers call “the life-and-death matter” of water as a human right.According to Moratorium NOW!:The emergency manager’s contractors are cutting off water to 1,500 to 3,000 homes per week. Anyone with an outstanding bill of as little as $150 faces immediate shut-off. Ford Field [football stadium], Joe Louis Arena [hockey stadium] and other businesses owe more than twice what is owed by residential customers. Water Department workers are already being told they will lose their jobs and must reapply for new jobs even though the EM has not won approval to sell what is really the people’s water department. When a private company whose only interest is profit owns a city’s water department, water rates go up and the private owners don’t know how to run it! No to the privatization and suburbanization of Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department.“Water is a right — Stop criminal shutoffs” and “EM Orr lives in luxury while 3,000 families per week get water cutoffs” were among the slogans on handpainted signs. One demanded “Justice for Charity Hicks,” a Detroit homeowner and activist who was arrested and spent three nights in jail after calling police in an attempt to stop her water from being shut off.Visit moratorium-mi.org for information on the next Detroit Freedom Friday and the struggle against the city bankruptcy and austerity. A national demonstration is being called for July 24, the date the city of Detroit bankruptcy trial is to begin.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this The emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, refuses to try to get back the over $500 million that was supposed to repair the water system but was instead given in bad bank deals to Chase, United Bank of Switzerland and Morgan Stanley! The biggest residential bills are of bank-owned properties, where water is left running even after families are thrown out of their homes due to foreclosures.last_img read more

Action set to blockade Israeli ship in Oakland, Calif.

first_imgSan Francisco Bay Area people and organizations in solidarity with Gaza announced “a massive and powerful ‘Boat Blockade’ for Aug. 16 to block the Israeli Zim ship from unloading in Oakland!”Organizers have formed a huge coalition led by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, including upwards of 60 organizations. The demonstrators plan to meet at 5 a.m. at the West Oakland Bay Area Rapid Transit station. They will then march and carpool “to the Port of Oakland to show up for Palestine and stand down Israeli apartheid!” (From an announcement by the International Action Center)The leaflet calling for this action says the following: “Palestine is calling us to action! Palestinian laborers [and the] Palestinian General Federation Trade Union have called on workers around the world to refuse to handle Israeli goods. We will be answering this call by organizing community pickets at the Port of Oakland, asking the longshoremen to honor this request and to stand with the people of Palestine as they have done in the past.“During apartheid in South Africa, ILWU workers made history when they refused to unload South African cargo in San Francisco in 1984. … In 2010, … we built on ILWU’s history and successfully blocked the Israeli Zim ship from being unloaded at the Port of Oakland.”Symbolic demonstrations are planned in other cities around the country in solidarity with the action in Oakland.Already, on the morning of Aug. 13, people in the Long Beach, Calif., area demonstrated outside the Long Beach Harbor Pier A terminal, protesting the arrival of a ship owned by the Israeli Zim American Integrated Shipping Services Company.Some protesters carried Palestinian flags.  Others carried signs protesting Israeli apartheid and the massacres in Gaza.  Some passed out flyers in English and Spanish to port truck drivers and ILWU members. The flyer promoted a boycott of Zim specifically and Israeli goods generally, with statements by the International Transport Workers Federation, the South African Metal Workers Union and the International Dockworkers Council condemning Israeli military actions and occupation.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Buffalo, N.Y., residents fight gentrification

first_imgThreatened with displacement by the relentless development land grabs occurring all around them, residents of a historic Black neighborhood in the midst of Buffalo’s “medical corridor” building boom are fighting back.The Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Housing Task Force has been tirelessly struggling for decades to save their neighborhood from demolition and gentrification by bankers and developers.A press conference and rally held on Aug. 5 right in the Fruit Belt neighborhood demanded a community land trust (a nonprofit that holds land in trust for the permanent benefit of low-income residents) to give residents — who are mostly tenants — final control over land use in their own neighborhood. The organizing group intends to grow bigger and stronger and not back off until they win.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Hundreds block Brooklyn gentrification: ‘Kill the deal!’

first_imgTenants taking over Brooklyn Borough Hall in fight for affordable housing on July 10.Hundreds of angry protesters against gentrification lined the steps of Borough Hall, Brooklyn’s city hall, on July 10. Inside, the city Planning Board was about to convene a hearing on the future of the New York City-owned Bedford Union Armory. Developers were licking their chops over the chance to turn the building into high-priced condominiums.Outside, numerous speakers exposed the racist gentrification of Brooklyn and how developers are displacing working-class people who can’t afford to own a house, much less a condominium, and who now can’t even afford the fast-rising rents. Speakers also denounced the use of nonunion labor for building the new high-rise luxury buildings.As community organizer Bertha Lewis of New York Community for Change declared at the rally: “ I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired!”Inside Borough Hall, at the hearing over the armory’s future, the profit-hungry developers filled the front row. But nearly 500 people soon packed two large rooms, including people who had come in five school buses from the Brooklyn Latinx community to join the Black-led delegation of protesters from the Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant ­neighborhoods.These predominantly Black and working-class neighborhoods have for years demanded the use of the armory for much-needed affordable housing.At the hearing, the first speaker from the audience was Jose, wearing a Black T-shirt, “Bad for Crown Heights,” like those worn by many others. Jose was the voice of a community outraged about overpriced rental apartments and displacement. When he was quickly informed that his allotted time was up, Jose refused to stop speaking, and authorities sent security his way.Jose started chanting, and when he began to march through the room, hundreds of fed-up tenants stood up to follow. The entire crowd soon occupied two floors and the stairs of Borough Hall, including supporters from Construction and General Building Laborers Local 79 and Service Employees Union Local 32BJ.Enjoying the strength of working-class unity, the protesters shouted bilingual chants: “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Luxury housing’s got to go!” and “‘Kill the deal!” The real estate developers were prevented from taking the floor to argue for their application to sell off the armory to private owners.The movement won that hearing, just as protesters had also won a big “no” on selling the armory in a packed June 27 Community Board hearing. There are plans for more organizing for affordable housing. The struggle continues.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

NYC press conference: ‘Not one more’ immigrant detention

first_img“As [immigrants] become a target … we are here to protect!’ said Ravi Ragbir, a co-director of the New Sanctuary Coalition in New York City, at a Manhattan press conference on May 11 outside U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters.Ragbir was detained just months ago, not only for being an immigrant, but also, many believe, because he is a leader in defense of the sanctuary movement for immigrant rights. Thanks to the organized support of many, he won a temporary stay in February, just hours before he was to be deported to Trinidad and Tobago.The May 11 event attracted a large number of supporters and media. As speakers told why the New Sanctuary Coalition advocates for abolishing ICE, sanctuary members — said to be a “voice of the voiceless” — wore buttons displaying a large S. Speakers included immigrants who were recently released from ICE custody and relatives of the abducted or disappeared, all victims of racist discrimination.A former Honduran soldier, who escaped from his home country with his mother, described how he fears political execution in Honduras. Fifteen-year-old Marco of Queens, N.Y., recounted the pain of losing his recently detained mother: “I have lived with her all my life!” Guadalupe, a Latina born and raised here in the U.S., spoke of the deep pain in having to choose between living with a parent here or leaving the country to stay with her other parent in Mexico, who was deported there. She said, “We all have to be strong!”Other New Sanctuary Coalition speakers read the names of the abducted and disappeared. The group has helped to free three people from detention in the last month.ISAP denouncedThe coalition also exposed the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program, which imposes scary restrictions on a person’s freedom and rights. These including wearing a GPS ankle monitor, a 12-hour home curfew, three meetings with a so-called caseworker, and the unceasing stress of unannounced calls and visits. ISAP may also require the installation of voice-recognition technology on phones.Activists handed out fliers describing how ISAP operates via the privately owned BI (Behavioral Interventions) Incorporated, based in Boulder, Colo. According to the Center for Effective Government, the company has had $40 million worth of contracts with ICE since the program began in 2004.What is also alarming is how ISAP hides its operations. Advocates and lawyers are not allowed to accompany their friends or clients to an ISAP “check-in.” When an immigrant brings an advocate with them, the ISAP representative — who is called an officer — threatens to return them to jail.ICE profits off ISAP’s oppression. According to its 2008 budget, ICE spends $95 a day to detain an immigrant in a prison, compared with only $12 a day under ISAP.As Ragbir eloquently stated today, “Everyone here has to put bodies on the line to protect victims!” He inspired a cry raised by all: “No detentions! No deportations! Not one more!”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

The criminal injustice system is a bipartisan effort

first_imgFamily members and prisoners’ rights advocates gather outside the Contra Costa County Jail in Martinez to demand the release of a prisoner suffering from medical neglect during the COVID pandemic.On Jan. 15 at the death row prison in Terre Haute, Ind., with less than a week to go of Donald Trump’s presidency, Dustin Biggs became the 13th federal prisoner to be executed under Trump’s administration. This killing spree that began in 2020 broke a hiatus of 17 years and included last Wednesday’s murder of the first woman prisoner in 68 years, Lisa Montgomery, a woman diagnosed with bipolar disorder and complex post-traumatic stress disorder.For many of us who have spent our lives opposing the barbaric death penalty in the U.S., it was particularly painful to witness these state lynchings. Biggs, a Black man, maintained his innocence until death and was executed while suffering from COVID.Not surprisingly, Democratic lawmakers led by Mass. Rep. Ayana Pressley and others have sponsored a bill to end the death penalty. The real question we should be asking is: Why has it taken so long for Congress to take legislative steps to end the federal death penalty? And who is responsible for the mass incarceration of poor Black, Brown and Indigenous people in the U.S.?Just to ask the question is to answer it. While the criminal injustice system has been a tool of the entire ruling class to oppress, subjugate and murder the working class, especially its most oppressed sectors — no incoming president has done more to fill the prisons than President-elect Joe Biden. A 2015 tweet by Washington Post opinion writer Radley Balko said it all, “The martial/carceral state has had no greater friend in Washington over the past 35 years than Joe Biden.” (Vox, July 31, 2019) Biden and the growth of the carceral stateBiden was in Congress for a very long time. He was there in the 1980s when the racist drug laws were being written and passed. Not only was he responsible for writing many of the federal laws, his voice was one of the loudest for harsher and lengthier sentences. Biden authored the 1986 and 1988 federal drug laws, containing the gross sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, which opened the door to the racist prosecution and mass incarceration of Black people in disproportionate numbers. In 1991, during a debate over a bill that eventually became the infamous 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, Biden presented a plan that was tougher and more punitive than that of then-President George Bush Sr. He bragged that his version of the bill would provide greater opportunities for federal prisoners to be sentenced to death than under President Ronald Reagan. (Vox, July 31, 2019)This bill led to the exponential growth and expansion of the prison system in California and harsher sentences for prisoners everywhere. Naomi Murakawa, the author of “The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America,” openly stated that Biden’s efforts have made the so-called criminal justice system much larger and more deadly.Biden played a large role in supporting the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which received bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. This bill, besides increasing prosecutors’ ability to sentence people to death, limited habeas corpus appeals by prisoners on death row and mandated the immediate deportation of all undocumented prisoners upon the completion of their prison terms. So here we are again, only days away from Biden’s inauguration. Just this morning, the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced it was putting all federal prisons on lockdown, supposedly to prevent any prisoner unrest. The federal prisoners are certainly not responsible for the Jan. 6 fascist coup attempt in D.C., nor is there any evidence of an insurgence inside. This sounds like more racist scapegoating and fearmongering.The danger to the working class rests with the new presidency of a candidate and a party which crafted a racist criminal injustice system and then funded, built and filled U.S. prisons with poor people, predominantly Black, Brown and Indigenous. Donald Trump and the Republican Party may have resurrected the federal death penalty and murdered 13 people, but the seeds of the racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQ2S+ criminal injustice system were sown as a bipartisan effort wielded by the Democratic Party. Abolish the racist death penalty — once and for all!FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

USDA Scrambles to Assemble Data for November Reports

first_img SHARE Previous articleCrop Updates Return With Indiana Harvest ProgressNext articleBudget Deal Provision is Important to Hoosier Exports Gary Truitt Home Indiana Agriculture News USDA Scrambles to Assemble Data for November Reports SHARE USDA Scrambles to Assemble Data for November Reports Facebook Twitter By Gary Truitt – Oct 21, 2013 Facebook Twitter The USDA was already under fire for the credibility of its crop reports. Following the government shutdown, the agency is scrambling to pick up the pieces and get back on track with these key updates. The government shutdown came right in the middle of data collection for the October crop production reports, thus most of that data has either been lost or is no longer useable. Joe Prusacki, with NASS, says they have never had to start from scratch before, “We have had to postpone reports, for example during President Reagan’s funeral, the 9/11 attacks and even snowstorms that shut down Washington, but this was a first.” Right now he said they are trying to pick up the pieces and get back on track in November, “We are just going through everything trying to figure out where we are and what we can do and can’t do.” See a calendar of revised USDA reportshttps://www.nass.usda.gov/Newsroom/Notices/10_17_2013.asp Gerry Bange, with the World Outlook Board, says they are hoping to have export numbers ready for the November supply and demand report, but admits things are a bit unclear, “One thing we don’t want to do is put out data we can’t vouch for. The data we have at this point is old with regards to the international scene. It is a very difficult situation, but we are making the best of it.”  The next scheduled USDA crop report is November 8, and, at this point, nobody knows exactly what will be in that report or how credible it will be. The USDA announced on Monday that several livestock reports will be combined and released at the end of the month. Prusacki said the Cattle on Feed report scheduled for release on October 18 will be released on October 31. He is hoping that the November crop production report will have some of the data that was supposed to be included in the October report, “Like corn and soybean acreage figurers.” Audio Playerhttps://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2013/10/USDAreports.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.last_img read more

Indiana Ag “POP”ular at International Food Show

first_imgHome News Feed Indiana Ag “POP”ular at International Food Show Facebook Twitter Previous articleOil Futures Log First Gain in Three SessionsNext articleIndiana Ag Law Group Offers Big Data Seminar Gary Truitt SHARE Indiana Ag “POP”ular at International Food Show By Gary Truitt – Jun 26, 2014 Facebook Twittercenter_img Currently, US pork is at the center of trade negotiations. While this is an issue well beyond the scope of the trade mission, Ellspermann said the topic was discussed, “We are talking about pork where we can and learning about some of the challenges they are facing on the issue.”  The Lt. Governors from Washington and Missouri also attended the food show this week. The trade mission concludes this weekend; HAT coverage is made possible by Farm Credit Services of Mid America. SHARE One of the largest international food shows in Asia is underway in Taiwan, and Indiana is the star of the show.  Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann participated in the official opening of the show in Taipei, and she said the smell of Indiana popcorn is drawing big crowds to the Hoosier exhibit, “There are over 1500 exhibitors here. Indiana is part of the USA pavilion. We have been highlighting our Indiana popcorn along with other Indiana ag products.” She said interest in what Indiana has to offer has been strong.  Indiana Ag “POP”ular at International Food Show Ellspermann signed several memorandums of understanding with Taiwan involving Indiana hardwood products and soybean oil. She said there is a great deal of appreation in Taiwan  for the quality of US soybeans. In an interview with HAT from Taipei, Ellspermann said there are other market opportunities for Indiana agriculture in Asia, “I think there is a real opportunity for dairy products, including powered milk, cheese, and ice cream.”  Ellspermann said many young people in Asia have grown up on pizza and have thus acquired a taste for cheese. She added that there was also a great deal of interest in ice cream, “Many people were impressed to learn that Indiana is No. 2 in the US in the production of ice cream.”last_img read more

Butterweed is that Yellow Flower in Farm Fields

first_img Yellow flowers are ButterweedIf you travel rural roads in the Hoosier state and around the nation for that matter, you’ve probably noticed a lot of yellow flowers in the fields. The bright yellow in fields stretches from Texas east to Florida, northward along the Atlantic coast to Virginia, and back west to Nebraska. The growth is actually a weed called butterweed, says University of Illinois Weed Scientist Aaron Hager.“Butterweed is a species that typically germinates and emerges in the fall,” he explained. “It will overwinter as a small rosette of leaves, and then about late April to early part of May it bolts and produces these very bright, showy yellow flowers.”The bad news for farmers is that because the plant has flowered it is going to get much harder to control.“So when you see the flowers of the winter annual species that typically means that these plants are nearing completion of their life cycle. So we see the bright yellow flowers now and in a few weeks a lot of those yellow flowers would be replaced by little white tufts of actual seed at the top of the plant where the flower is right now. So many times on the larger plants, simply because of large they are, how close they are to completing their life cycle, some of the burndown herbicides can tend to struggle a bit more compared with the level of control we see when these applications are made say during the rosette stage or early growth stages.”Farmers always seem to find a way to control weeds and they’ll find a way with yellow butterweed too.Source: NAFB News Service Butterweed is that Yellow Flower in Farm Fields Facebook Twitter Home Indiana Agriculture News Butterweed is that Yellow Flower in Farm Fields SHARE Previous articleConsolidation Continues: Kubota to Acquire Great Plans ManufacturingNext articleNE Indiana Lagging Behind in Planting Andy Eubank Facebook Twitter SHARE By Andy Eubank – May 16, 2016 last_img read more

Ready Set Go, when Planting Window Opens

first_img Ready Set Go, when Planting Window OpensDan ritterA warm, dry weekend helped fields dry and perhaps even some planting got done.  The week also starts out drier before more rain moves into Indiana late Tuesday night. Soil temperatures in some areas are still below 50 degrees, but Dan Ritter with Brodbeck Seeds says that should not hold you back form planting, “The calendar says it is planting time so, if your soil is dry and workable, then I would not worry too much about the soil temperature.”  He said soil conditions should be a major concern, “If soil is fit, then let’s go and put some seed in the ground.”Ritter said some areas are dry while other areas of the state are still too wet. He says that growers should not panic and that no changes are needed yet in your cropping plans, “Stay with what has made you successful in the past. With the equipment we have, if we can get 12 to 14 good days, we can get most of this crop in the ground.”Ritter does say the cool, wet conditions will likely lead to a greater chance of seedling blight this year, “That is why I recommend a seed treatment on soybeans.” He added a fungicide seed treatment is standard on Brodbeck seed corn.Brodbeck Seeds will be presenting agronomy updates throughout the growing season, here on Hoosier Ag Today. Home Indiana Agriculture News Ready Set Go, when Planting Window Opens By Gary Truitt – Apr 22, 2018 Ready Set Go, when Planting Window Opens Facebook Twitter Previous articleCommentary: Take a Bold Step in Uncertain TimesNext articleIndiana Farm Show Lives Again, Hoosier Ag Today and Farm World Acquire long-running Hoosier Farm Tradition Gary Truitt Facebook Twitter SHARE SHARElast_img read more