Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday news in mid July of 2014

The current administration has deported more than two million human beings, which is more than any President in American history. There have been Ice raids where many people have been detained too. The White House wants to deport the children who escaped a civil war in Central America. Many of these children suffer in inhumane conditions in facilities in America. Fascists and reactionaries have called these children leeches and other names that I can’t repeat here, which is disgraceful. Regardless of where we stand on this issue, human dignity is an important concept for us to respect. The situation with the children is a humanitarian crisis. The White House is not progressive on this issue as he wants to jail these people, process them, and gradually deport them. The undocumented human beings are victims of a broken system which has been broken for decades. A real solution would be to give these refugees humane treatment, find out their identities if they can, and find ways of family reunification (where they can be reunited with their families in their home nations or be given asylum via due process. These children should be treated with humane treatment. The kids are suffering. These children need due process and compassion). The overall immigration issue is complex. There must be humane border security. Yet, there must be more than that. There must be a multinational dialogue in dealing with the civil war in Central America (there must be other discussions about Mexico too). If the poverty decreases, if the crime goes down, and if the gangs are further defeated over in Central America, then less refugees will go into America. America has to further discuss and work with nations in that region, so plans can be made to decrease illegal immigration. Also, we need a fairer trade policy, we need a higher minimum wage, we need to work on revising the guest worker program (if it is to exist, it must be fair to American workers), and we need to establish better border security in a humane fashion. There has been a cargo train that recently derailed in Mexico. It has stranded 1,300 migrants. These human beings are fleeing violence and violence in their homelands. They are refugees and they should be treated as refugees. Other derailments have happened in Mexico where some migrants have been injured or even killed. A derailment earlier this month killed a migrant passenger and a similar incident in August 2013 killed five passengers and injured 35 more. Officials say the derailments were a result of old and poorly maintained train tracks, overloaded trains, and heavy rains. About three-fourths of the recent migrants come from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

This is a serious issue, because many of these migrants have been raped by traffickers. There has been the existence of U.S.-backed reactionaries regimes harming the human rights of people in Central America. Even the drug traffickers and smugglers have bribed corrupt police officials in Mexico and they pay thousands of dollars to get past checkpoints. The Obama administration wants to spend money to transport unaccompanied children back home, to the same violence and misery they sought to escape. Just last week, Obama requested $3.7 billion to expand border police and provide food and shelter for immigrants who are in the process of being deported. He has entertained the idea of sending in National Guard troops to prevent more border crossings. The militarization of the borders sends a very wrong message to the world about how we should act as Americans. We don't need militarization of the border. We need compassion and rational action expressed at the border. These people are refugees and international authorities seek to classify these human beings as refugees. Extremists in the Republican Party and the Democratic Party want to revise a 2008 law that says that children (as a means to prevent child sex trafficking) from Central America caught crossing the border have to be processed first before they are deported back home. Now the President and leading Democrats and Republicans want to revise this law so they can send children back even faster to their countries of origin. That is a disgrace. The gang violence itself is a direct result of the 2009 US-backed military coup and American interventions in Honduras and Latin America over the last century, first under the guise of a war on “communism” and now a war on “narco-terrorism.” So, these human beings need asylum. Black people have every right to advance our socio-political interests. Any comprehensive immigration policy must respect the interests of black people.

The big picture is that the Israeli government is dominated by extremists and reactionaries, who activated repressive policies for decades. AIPAC is also allied with the extremist neo-conservatives (who were blatantly wrong on their views on the Iraq War) from the States too. Benjamin Netanyahu is such a hardliner that he wants to bomb Iran if his stringent dictates aren’t met. We know that the Israeli bombings of Gaza had killed many innocent civilians. Any innocent life dying is tragic regardless if the person who died is an Israeli or a Palestinian. There is no justification for the murder of innocent human life. The issue is that the leadership of Israel has used policies that have repressed the human rights of the Palestinians. When you have militarized checkpoints, huge walls around occupied territories, and select multi billionaire oligarchs dominating the region, then we have a problem here. Even income inequality in Israel has grown. The Palestinians suffering injustice should be recognized. The death toll in Gaza is very huge. Ultranationalist Israelis kidnapped the 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir in East Jerusalem. Last week, they murdered him by pouring gasoline down this throat and setting him on fire. There is a connection between the violence done by the Israeli government against the people of Gaza and the fascistic elements in Israel. The people of Gaza are helpless when they are attack by a brutal colonial regime. Since the year 2000, Israel has killed 1,500 Palestinian children, while Palestinians have killed 132 Israeli children. That means Israel has killed over 1,000% percent more Palestinian children than vice versa. There is a massive discrepancy between the hapless rocket attacks by Hamas and the massively deadly Israeli bombings of Gaza, often disregarded by Western media. Such focus obfuscates the responsibility of Israel under international law towards the population of Gaza and tends to limit Israel’s breaches to that of using excessive force. There are progressive Jewish and Arabic voices in the region that want real change. They are tired of the constant violence. These voices should be supported. Hopefully, the violence can cease & the occupation can end, but ultimately the people in the region must stop it. The USA can send advice and mediation, but in the final analysis, the solution deals with input from both rational minded Israelis and Palestinians. Any imperialist policy should be opposed. Many experts like William Binney, etc. have exposed the nefarious spying done by the intelligence community (The NSA is not the only agency involved in such actions). Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, being monitored by authorities in that fashion is wrong in my eyes. He has done no illegal actions and he has condemned terrorism explicitly. Also, progressive Muslims or most Muslims in general have nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks or horrendous terrorism at all. So, this spying by the NSA & the FBI is nothing new. The FBI and the NSA illegally spied on people from the black liberation struggle (including people from the anti-war movement, the labor movement, etc.) back during the 1960’s and during the 1970’s as well. Civil libertarian groups have every right to ask questions and to advocate transparency including civil liberty protection.

As I am getting older, I do not view a solution (to the violence in Chicago) as solely monolithic. Dr. King had it right. As he said, we must synthetize plans and advance a combination of solutions as a means for us to solve issues. In this situation, the people should do both. There should be an improvement of morality in the homes and in the families of the communities. I have no issue with local empowerment. For the record, there are grassroots, independent organizations in Chicago now that are fighting crime, poverty, and other evils. Their work should never be minimized at all. Also, we have the right to demand accountability from our elected officials. We pay their salaries and they should have personal responsibility too. There are no excuses for unjust violence or evil crime at all. Criminals should be blamed for criminal activities not all black people collectively. It is not an either or proposition with me. We should do both improve our communities morally and fight for economic justice (since imperfections are found in the system. The fallible system must change since widening income inequality, discrimination, racism, etc. are evils in the world just like violence crime is evil. There must be more investments in schools, after school problems, other forms of urban reconstruction, etc.). Social change and political change are necessary. Of course, it is a human rights issue. There must be a combination of community improvement and a radical reconstruction plan in Chicago. People should be able to walk down the streets in communities without being in risk of being killed by bullets. No one real is making excuses for unjust violence or murders. People have the right to demand changes and individuals have the right to be part of the solution. There should be both improvements in our families (and our ethics), and there has to be economic justice too. Illegal gun trafficking and drug trafficking have to be addressed. People have the right to vote for whom they want, but facts will not lie. The fact is that many Republicans have not stood up to the extremists in the GOP. Black people have the right to reject the GOP’s ideologies. African Americans have a great cooperative tradition (as documented in the book entitled, “Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice." The Sister Jessica Gordon Nembhard is the author of the fascinating, excellent book). Also, the GOP must either change and be revolutionary or expect a small percentage of African Americans voting for them continuously. Insanity is when you try to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. The Republicans have done insanity for years and that has not worked. Society is enriched when we have equal pay, an end to voter suppression laws, an end to injustices found in the criminal justice system, when healthcare is expanded in various states, and when economic justice is advanced. These ideologies have a basis in truth. We just have to promote the general welfare in society. No one is an island. We all have a stake in improving the parameters of the world.

The water crisis in Detroit continues. More people are talking about this important issue. Men, women, and children have protested the evil planned shutoff of water services in Detroit. This is a struggle for the most basic of human rights. Drinking water is a human right. Protesters and others want Michigan Governor Rick Synder to stop the city’s Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) from shutting off water to 150,000 homes. "This is everybody's fight, water is a human right!" shouted demonstrators, as passing motorists honked to show their support. The demonstrators are courageous. The activists want an immediate moratorium on the shutoffs to the state’s Republican governor, because he ruled Detroit now since March of 2013. The city’s mayor now has no authority under the emergency manager law pushed through the state legislature. Demonstrators have also marched on the Detroit Water Board building to insist that the shutoffs are a violation of human rights. On June 18, a coalition of social justice and welfare rights organizations submitted a report to the United Nations describing how poor Detroiters can't afford their bills and asking for intervention as a human rights issue. "[Detroit] residents have seen water rates rise by 119 percent within the last decade," according to the report. Cutoffs cause major problems for some of the city's poorest residents. "People recovering from surgery can't wash and change bandages," the report states. "Children cannot bathe and parents cannot cook." The submission of the UN also describes about how water shutoffs are straining class and racial tensions. We see poor Detroiters, who are disproportionately African American, lose their homes. According to the Michigan Wlare Rights Organization, overdue water bills are being transferred onto homeowners’ property taxes, which make them vulnerable to foreclosure if they can’t pay. The report concludes that the shutoffs should be seen as part of a ploy to push the city’s poor out of their homes, so that they can be snatched up on the cheap by investors (which can grow Detroit’s gentrification agenda). These actions violate human rights. The city grapples with creditors in bankruptcy court over an 18 billion dollar debt. The poor and the black residents are enduring the brunt of the attempts to shore up revenue not the big banks responsible for the mess in the first place. In March, the DWSD announced it would begin taking action against customers with balances exceeding $150, or who are two months behind on payments. The average household owes about $540. In May, the department sent out 46,000 warnings and cut service to more than 4,500 residents. Meanwhile, as the city was cutting off service to thousands of homes, the Detroit City Council approved an 8.7 percent rate hike for water in mid-June. Detroit suffered before the Great Recession. Foreclosure and unemployment in Detroit skyrocketed since 2008. Detroit is a poor city with median household income being about $25,000 a year. The emergency manager is privatizing the water system. On June 23, a team of experts issued a news release calling the water shut-offs "a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights." One member of the team stated that if the shut-offs disproportionately affect African-Americans, then they are racist and a violation of treaties ratified by the US. The emergency manager has authorizes 12 charter schools. Neoliberalism is harming Detroit. The city is also catering to wealthy business owners who want to own more of Detroit’s infrastructure. We don’t need gentrification or radical privatization of Detroit’s schools, transportation, and other public services. We need a radical redistribution of economic and political power. The truth is that access to water is a human right.

By Timothy

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