Jul 162014

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, In re: City of Detroit, Debtor Objection to “Plan of Adjustment”

Testimony by Kristen A. Hamel, Detroit resident and homeowner

July 15, 2014

In recent weeks, Detroiters have been experiencing the inhuman austerity agenda of Gov. Rick Snyder and Emergency Dictator Kevyn Orr. Thousands of families have had their water cut off, and tens of thousands more face imminent shutoffs if a mere $150 is owed.

The situation is so outrageous that a United Nations commission has condemned Detroit’s water shutoffs as a violation of international human rights. Freedom Friday marches starting at the water department building have been going on for weeks because no one should have to face forced deprivation of water, the most basic necessity of life and health.

The Detroit Free Press reported Orr’s office calling the water shutoffs “a necessary part of Detroit’s restructuring.” The real agenda is to make the water department more attractive for privatization to union busters like Veolia Corp., known worldwide for its crimes against humanity, especially against the Palestinian people.

While the poorest Detroiters have their water cut off for owing $150, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Loop Financial and Morgan Stanley were paid $537 million in termination fees on interest rate swaps out of $1 billion in bonds issued from 2010 to 2013, bonds that were earmarked to fund repairs of the water infrastructure system, not line the pockets of these four banks.

Orr, while cutting off water to the poor and raising water rates, has not taken one step to recover this $537 million giveaway to the banks. Orr and Buckfire were also ready to hand over hundreds of millions to Bank of America and UBS on the interest rate swaps associated with the pension obligation certificates. Because of community outcry against these swindles, they were forced by this court on two occasions to go back to the negotiating table.

As you have stated on prior occasions, Judge Rhodes, the buck stops with you in these bankruptcy proceedings. Continue reading »

 July 16, 2014  Posted by at 2:18 am Uncategorized No Responses »
Jul 032014

Appeal to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

ushrn_web_logoA Call for Assistance in the Efforts to Halt Racism, Racial Discrimination and Acts of Genocide Directed Towards the People of the City of Detroit in the United States of America

The following draft appeal was submitted and accepted by the United States Human Rights Network (USHRN) to be included in their report related to the gross human rights violations being committed inside the country. This appeal is an important contribution to the annual submission by the USHRN that is designed to point out the violations by the U.S. government of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The appeal requests the direct intervention by relevant UN agencies including, but not limited to, the High Commissioner for Human Rights based in Geneva, Switzerland.

This appeal is directed towards the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and all other agencies of this international body concerned with the prevention and halting of institutional racism, racial discrimination and genocide. Two organizations which have played a leading role in opposition to the imposition of austerity, the racist denial of the right to vote and due process under the law in defense against the predatory actions of multi-national corporations and international financial institutions in the City of Detroit, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), founded in 2002 and the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs, founded in 2008, are making this appeal to the United Nations due to the failure of the local, state and federal governmental structures to uphold the fundamental civil and human rights of the majority African American population of Detroit, but not limited to this predominant segment of the people, and encompassing all those who are impacted by the current policies enacted by a system of emergency management, forced bankruptcy and restructuring of the City of Detroit.

We are charging that deliberate actions by the State of Michigan through its Governor Rick Snyder and majority right-wing legislative bodies are calculated and well-planned to foster the disempowerment of the African American people. This program is specifically designed to destroy the political and social gains made by the African American people, but also severely impacts negatively the labor movement, social justice organizations and all other historically affected groups facing national discrimination and class oppression in the United States.

The Nullification of the Elections of November 2012

Continue reading »

Aug 102014

Firefighters in England and Wales start a new period of strike action in a long-running pensions fight with the government.

Where is Detroit’s????????

Pension attacks are happening around the world. Banks have wrecked governments with swaps and in the US with mortgages. They should pay not pensioners. These greedy pigs have no right to seize people’s survival money. They are maliciously confusing the issues and the fault. I look forward to the day pensioners are auctioning off these pigs’ private jets and the pigs are on trial at the Hague for this.

– Jean, activist

Firefighters in England and Wales begin series of strikes in a long-running pensions fight

Firefighters in England and Wales have begun a new series of strikes in a long-running pensions row.

Continue reading »

 August 10, 2014  Posted by at 8:35 pm Uncategorized Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Aug 052014

Detroit residents are fighting austerity for all of us.

John Nichols, July 30, 2014   |    This article appeared in the August 18-25, 2014 edition of The Nation.

Detroit Water Shutoffs

American austerity rarely receives the same kind of attention paid to Europe’s evisceration of its social programs in the name of balancing budgets. But American austerity is no less brutal. Consider Detroit: since Michigan Governor Rick Snyder imposed an “emergency manager” system on the city, stripping authority from local elected officials and steering Detroit into bankruptcy, residents already battered by deindustrialization have faced cuts to their pensions and services. The early months of 2014 saw thousands of families who could not pay their utility bills targeted for water shutoffs. Continue reading »

Aug 012014

Firefighters in England and Wales are to strike over eight consecutive days in an ongoing row with the government, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says.

Fire Brigades Union

BBC News, July 30, 2014

The latest action, from 9 August, will be held over three hours each day during the eight-day period, it said.

The union has said “unsafe and unrealistic” proposals will see firefighters working longer and having their pensions cut. Continue reading »

 August 1, 2014  Posted by at 8:42 pm Uncategorized Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jul 132014



Lay the blame for the manufactured crisis at the feet of those responsible: Wall Street Speculators, Gov. Rick Snyder, and Kevyn Orr

Join Registered Nurses as they declare a public health emergency and demand a moratorium on the unprecedented water shutoffs. Nurses, Detroit residents, clergy, labor, environmentalists, Netroots Nation opinion leaders, and others will march and rally to condemn this violation of human rights. Gov. Snyder is allowing the tragedy to continue with an endgame of privatizing the public water department — the latest in a string of gifts to Wall Street. The historic transfer of public wealth to private hands overseen by Snyder has cost the public jobs, pensions, vital public safety services, and our civic jewels. Now they have come for our water. – National Nurses United, July 9, 2014

Jul 072014

City now looks to be costliest Ch. 9

Bank-RobberBy Chad Halcom, Crain’s Detroit Business, July 6, 2014

Related post: Detroit bankruptcy bills, payments

Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy, which was already the nation’s largest by debt, population affected and number of creditors, now appears to have become its costliest in legal and professional fees after just one year.With the anniversary of its $18 billion Chapter 9 petition coming on July 18, Detroit has been billed more than $75 million in fees and expenses from 19 professional services firms through late June. It has paid out about $64 million of that so far, according to city records, including more than $38 million paid to law firms.According to city records, it still owes another $7.6 million in outstanding balances to the same 19 companies for the same period — mainly due to a bankruptcy court order last September to withhold 15 percent of most professional fees until after the invoices clear a review by a fee examiner. Continue reading »
 July 7, 2014  Posted by at 1:02 pm Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Jul 062014

In contrast to Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Governor Rick Snyder, and the Wall Street banks, who are shutting off  water to tens of thousands of Detroiters!.



By Beyene Geda, The Africa Report, July 4, 2014

Ethiopian legislators have ratified an agreement that will see neighbouring Djibouti drawing underground water from the country’s territory free of charge. Continue reading »

 July 6, 2014  Posted by at 2:10 am Uncategorized Tagged with:  No Responses »