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Archive for the ‘Legal Issues’ Category

The mid-terms are just a couple of weeks away.  There are some that predict that the Republicans will gain control of the Senate.  While others say it is still possible for the Democrats to keep it.  There are some conservatives that are almost giddy over the prospect of taking over the Senate.  Due to the gerrymandered districts, it is almost impossible for the Democrats to take over the House.

The real fact of the matter is that it really doesn’t matter if the Republicans take the Senate.  All it will mean is that the stagnation we have seen in Washington since Obama became President will get even worse.  All it will mean is that the Republicans will use their “hostage taking” practices even more than they have in the past.  That is not a good way to run a country.

We all know that the vast majority of the Republican agenda would not be signed by the current president.  Even if they take the Senate, the Republicans won’t have enough votes to over ride vetoes.  That means in general nothing will get done, except a lot more President Obama bashing.

There has been a lot of talk about the differences between the Republicans and Democrats during this cycle.  But, in my opinion, all of this talk has missed the point totally.  This isn’t about traditional Conservative vs. Progressive politics.  This is about whether or not we live in a country with equal rights and justice for everyone.  It is about whether or not we continue to be one of, if not the, true democracy in the world.  If the current batch Republicans were ever to win both houses of Congress and the White House, our democracy will take a drastic turn for the worst.

If you take a few minutes to look and listen to the current Republican Party, you will hear nothing but hate and discontent towards everyone who doesn’t agree with their backwards thinking.  If you believe income inequality is wrong, you are against Republican candidates.  If you believe that people should be allowed to marry whom they want, regardless of race, religion, or sex, you are against Republican candidates.  If you believe that women together with their families and doctors should be allowed to decide on whether or not to have an abortion, you are against Republican candidates.

Republicans have waged a war against women’s rights for decades.  They have fought against the right for workers to unionize for decades.  They have fought to force Conservative Christian Cult’s beliefs on the rest of society.  They are fear mongering idiots who believe that the only way to win an election is to take the right to vote away from different groups of people who just might vote Democratic.

The current batch of Republicans have formed an evil alliance between Conservative Christian Cult, Ultra-Conservative billionaires, Tea Party, and Racists.  Sorry, but that is the only way to describe this alliance.  Conservative Christian Cult members want to force their brand of Christianity on everyone else.  If you don’t follow their religious beliefs, you are considered a Christian in Name Only (CINO).  They say they are against the government meddling in your religious beliefs.  Yet they want a “Personhood” amendment that would totally ban abortions.  Even if your religious beliefs says it is okay.  They are against marriage equality.  They are even against the right of gays to live in peace.

The Tea Party is the ultra-conservative wing of the Republicans.  They will tell you that if you are not a Tea Party Member, you are a Republican in Name Only (RINO).  They just want to form a government that throws the poor under the bus.  You will hear all kinds of arguments against Welfare, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and Taxes.  But you won’t hear a word about the subsidies given to oil companies, utilities, farmers, etc.  These people also want government “out of our lives”.  Yet they are also against abortion and equal marriage rights.  It seems like every time a Tea Party candidate talks about liberty, they are demanding that about half of the country’s population not be allowed those same liberties.

The billionaire club led by the Koch Brothers simply want to form a dictatorship based on the philosophy that the country should return to the “good ole days” of the 19th century and the Robber Barons.  It is perfectly right for them to make millions of dollars every year, but the rest of us should have to work our asses off just to get by on $2 per hour.  It is the Tea Party and the Billionaires who want to eliminate the minimum wage and pass laws outlawing unions.

I don’t think we have to discuss much about the Racists.  You just need to look at the voter suppression laws that have been passed in several states to know their agenda.

In this mid-term election, one party is screaming about liberty all the while they are passing laws that take liberty away from anyone who isn’t like them.  They are screaming about getting government out of our lives, all the while they are passing laws that put government in the lives of women.  They are preaching about the American dream all the while they are fighting laws like raising the minimum wage and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

They have been screaming about our “porous southern border” but say nothing about our porous northern border.  They claim that Ebola will wipe us off the face of the planet, yet they continue to cut funding for the CDC and NIH.  They wanted a “Czar” for the fight against Ebola, yet screamed when one was named.  Their hypocrisy has no limits.  They believe that if they continue to fear monger, we will fall for their demagoguery.

In the last several years The Republican Party has seen a renaissance.  Unfortunately, unlike the renaissance in the past, this isn’t one of enlightenment, it is a return to the Dark Ages where religion and the wealthy rule the country.  We have already seen places that prove the Republican Platform is destructive to liberties and opportunity.  Just look at Kansas and Wisconsin.  These were supposed to be Conservative Republican utopias.  Yet they have turned out to be anything but utopia for the common citizen of the state.

There is still time to fight back.  To use their own phrase, “it is time to take our country back.”  This time we need to take it back from this evil alliance and restore freedom and democracy to the greatest country in the world.  But, we can’t do that unless you go to the polls and vote this mid-term.  Let the Republican Party know that they cannot bullshit us anymore with their fear mongering and their lies.  We have grown past the 19th century and refuse to go back.

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So, you think that all of those “stand your ground” laws will help protect women who are victims of domestic abuse.  If you believe that, you are very tragically wrong.  Two cases, one in South Carolina, and one in Florida prove that stand your ground does not include domestic abuse victims.

In South Carolina, there is a case of a women who stabbed her partner when he tried to keep her from leaving for good with her belongings.  The incident took place right after he beat her and dragged her down the street by her hair.  The prosecutor says the “stand your ground law” does not absolve her from her crime of murder.  Problem is that according to how the law is written, she is correct.

The case began one night in November 2012, Whitlee Jones fatally stabbed her partner, Eric Lee. She has testified that she did not mean to kill Lee when she issued the fatal wound, but that she only meant to fend him off while he blocked her from exiting the house with her belongings, attempting to leave him for good.

In a very lengthy report in the Charleston Post and Courier, neighbors saw Lee rip Jones’ weave from her head, saw it fall to the pavement across which he yanked her while she screamed. One witness called the police. Officers arrived while Jones hid outside the house; they spoke only with Lee, who said that their altercation never turned physical. The police left, and Jones returned to grab her things and go, forever. She later told police that her partner tried to attack her while she was leaving the house for the second time that night. So, allegedly fearing for her life, she stabbed him.

A Judge’s ruling granted Jones immunity in the murder case in accordance with the state’s Protection of Persons and Property Act — otherwise known as its “stand your ground” law.  But, the South Carolina prosecutors are appealing the ruling saying that the 2006 SYG law does not apply to housemates in episodes of domestic violence, as that was not the legislation’s original purpose.

“[The Legislature’s] intent … was to provide law-abiding citizens greater protections from external threats in the form of intruders and attackers,” Assistant Solicitor Culver Kidd, the case’s lead prosecutor, told The Post and Courier. “We believe that applying the statute so that its reach into our homes and personal relationships is inconsistent with [its] wording and intent.”

Taking the law’s wording literally, they are correct.  The law states that the “presumption of fear” necessary for one to take aggressive force does not apply when the person “against whom the deadly force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling.”  According to this wording, you are not allowed to use stand your ground against your partner even if that partner is beating you or trying to kill you.

You may ask way would such wording would be included in a law like this?  Well, wording like this happens when you don’t consider women to be people with rights.  If you think that women don’t deserve protection from being abused, you make sure they cannot hide behind stand your ground laws.

The second case is in Florida.  Angela Corey of Florida, the attorney who prosecuted George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin is currently attempting to put Marissa Alexander, a mother of three who fired a “warning shot” at her abusive husband, in prison for 60 years. Alexander has been refused immunity under the state’s SYG law twice — the first time because the court found that she did not have a “reasonable” fear for her life, and the second because the judge refused to retroactively apply changes to the law that made provisions for warning shots. She did not injure anyone and, at the time of the incident, had a protective order against her partner, who previously admitted under oath to beating her.

So the fact that her partner had acknowledged that he beat her, and that he had violated an order to stay away from her, does not constitute her having a “reasonable” fear for her life.  Of course, anyone with only half of a brain would say differently.  But, that is what happens when a judge decides what is reasonable fear and what isn’t based on archaic beliefs of women and their status in society.  Apparently he believes that getting abused by your partner is not “reasonable” fear.

Whether or not the rulings in these cases are legally correct or not, the fact of the matter is that even when states attempt to let people kill others because they fear for their lives, it does not include women who live in abusive homes.  That is what is wrong with the whole domestic abuse situation.  If we are truly going to get a grip on this problem, things like these SYG laws need to change to protect the victims rather than treat them as the problem.

Before any changes can be made, legislators need to start thinking of women as people and not property.  It is a shame on them that they don’t already believe this simple fact of life.

 

 

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As expected, the recent “Yes Means Yes” law passed in California has generated a lot of talk and arguments.  We hear the usual arguments about how men will be falsely accused of rape who really aren’t rapists.  The problem is that these arguments are coming from both sides of the political spectrum.

Even Jonathon Chaite wrote a piece about how bad the law will become.  The arguments he uses are not new either.  The one thing that stands out to me in the piece is when he calls the law illiberal.  He wrote:  “For various reasons, including the long stalemate in Washington, the movement to confront campus rape has shot up the list of liberal priorities. One can detect in this movement an impatience with balancing risk against liberty that, in other contexts, would be readily recognizable as a tone of creeping illiberalism.”

The problem with this statement is that is totally misses the point.  The California Law, which is not a penal law, requires universities to impose a standard of “affirmative consent,” which deems as rape any sex that does not have explicit, ongoing permission.  He argues that this law will have “unforeseen consequences.”

There is a problem with his argument.  The California University System had already put in place the affirmative consent policy.  So have several of the Ivy League schools.  There has not been a rush to falsely charge innocent people with rape.  I am not saying there isn’t the possibility of such cases arising.  But, then again, there are already cases of false charges being made.  This law won’t change that very much.

See, the problem is that the burden still falls mostly on women.  The arguments being made by Chaite and others are a mere continuation of the present norm.  Basically, they argue that it is the men who are threatened by these laws.  They totally ignore the fact that women have been abused and raped for generations and nothing has been done to stop the trend.

Vox’s Amanda Taub wrote a piece about the law as well.  Chaite claims that this little tidbit from Taub isn’t worth engaging in:

By exempting sexual aggressors from the responsibility of figuring out whether their partners are “eager and ready to sleep with them,” we’re asking their targets to either give in to sexual activity they don’t want, or to run the risk that a firm, assertive, continued rejection will end in violence.

This week, a Detroit man murdered a 27-year-old mother of three named Mary Spears after she rejected him in a bar. Right now, a woman is in critical condition in a New York City hospital because a man slashed her throat on the street after she declined to go on a date with him. In April, a Connecticut teenager was murdered by her 16-year-old classmate after she turned down his invitation to prom. Stories like these (and there are others) should remind us that women have a lot of reasons to fear the consequences of saying “no.” That’s all the more reason why silence shouldn’t be presumed to be consent.

He argues that these types of law are violating people’s Liberty.  But, he has no answer for the Liberty of a woman to live her life without be afraid of being raped because she attended a party.  Women have been denied their right to live fear free since the beginning of time.  I do hope that in these laws due process is followed properly.  Even College hearings on the case should probably be transparent so we can see the full story.  But, to argue that this law is infringing on Liberty is nonsense.  Men do not have the right of Liberty to force themselves on a woman.

The real sad part of this argument is that the necessity of such laws proves that we have a terrible lack of respect and dignity of over half of our population.  As I said once before, women are not property.  They are humans who deserve the same respect and liberties that we seem to want for men.  Until that cultural shift takes place, we will continue to hear lame arguments against reasonable laws to help women live a life free from fear of men.

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I haven’t decided yet if our friends over at Fox News is just having a much too slow news cycle, or if they are really only interested in speaking up about all of their perceived “attacks” on white Christians.  We are just 83 shopping days away from their annual attack on Christmas meme.  So, to fill the void, they are now arguing that there is a new attack.  This time we are attacking Columbus Day.

It has started because a Seattle school board has voted to redub the Columbus Day holiday as Indigenous People’s Day.  What the hell will they think of next.  As Fox News has put it:  “It’s a social and political statement that says Christopher Columbus was a violator of indigenous people. It’s a slap. It’s an attack on Columbus. Day.” (sic)

Ever since I was a child first learning about Christopher Columbus, I wondered why he was credited with “discovering America” when he never even saw the continent.  Remember, he never set foot on either North or South America.  He merely sailed around the Caribbean Sea landing on a few small islands.

Why don’t we celebrate Leaf Erikson Day?  It has been proven that the Vikings were on the North American continent 500 years before Columbus.  Not only were they here, at least in what is now Canada, they actually had a settlement there.  As a matter of fact, everyone in Europe knew that there was land to the west of Europe.  They didn’t think the world was flat as the myth of Columbus want us to believe, they already knew it was round.  So why all of the myth around Columbus?   Could it be that Fox News believes that only Christians can be credited with “discoveries” and not Pagans?

In recent years, there have been other “discoveries” about who was on the continent first.  There is some evidence and new theories about the Polynesians being in South America and even as far north as California.  There is evidence that the Chinese were on the west coast as well.  There are even theories about European people arriving as well.  All of these people arrived over a 1000 years before Columbus.

Since the first colonization of North America, our history is rife with the slaughter of indigenous people.  Manifest Destiny could not have happened without this onslaught.  Indian Tribes on the North American continent were systematically slaughtered in order to “make room” for white settlers.  Those who did survive were herded onto “reservations” where most of them still live, in poverty.

Besides the battles between indigenous people and the settlers on the East Coast, the first real egregious action came from Andrew Jackson.  He ordered the complete evacuation of all Indians from the East Coast.  The tribes were rounded up and sent to Oklahoma Territory.  Hence, the “trail of tears” when thousands of Indians died on the trek from starvation and disease.

The Indian Wars basically finished off the Indian Tribes of the Great Plains and Southwest.  They were herded onto reservations and forced to become “Americanized” by their conquerors.  Even as late as the early part of the 20th century, Indians were forced to attend boarding schools.  During their time there they were forbidden to speak their own language and their hair was cut short to be better Americanized.  Everything was done to wipe out their culture.

The elimination of the indigenous people’s cultures began with Columbus.  So yes Fox News, Columbus did violate the indigenous people.  As time went by, it became more and more barbaric.  It became policy that if they refused to change their ways, they would face total destruction.  The Indian Wars were extremely bloody.  Atrocities happened on both sides, as usually do in wars for survival.  But once the Indians were beaten, the peace that was forced on them was just as bad as the wars themselves.

This is a part of our history that is not always taught in History Class.  We avoid teaching that from the day Columbus put foot on a small island in the Caribbean, the survival of the indigenous people in the Americas was in jeopardy.  It all turned into a war of cultures.  When that happens, there is usually only one winner.   The modern-day equivalent is called genocide.

Columbus Day is one holiday that we can do without.  It is time for it to die off quickly.  Don’t you think we can find better ways to celebrate our country without honoring someone who started the culture wars in America?  I once had a T-Shirt I bought on the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina that read:  “Homeland Security.  Fighting Terrorism Since 1492.”  If you really look at it from the Native American perspective, that is an accurate statement.  Isn’t it time we stop honoring it?

 

 

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The right-wing conservative wing of the Republican party is in full hysteria mode.  As the election approaches, they have dusted off the old argument that the Democrats are soft on defense and security.  There are two items that have flamed their hysteria.  The first was ISIS and the second was Ebola.  According to the conservative wing, we are in extreme danger of both of these hideous things.  According to Fox News, we are in imminent danger of having our country wiped off the face of the earth by them.

So, how do Fox News and the wing-nuts envision these invaders entering the country?  Through Mexico of course.  Tom Tillis, the Republican candidate in North Carolina went into full hysteria mode during a debate last night.  He said the only way to stop both ISIS and Ebola is by “sealing the border.”  Naturally, in true Republican fashion he did not state how we are to “seal the border.”  And, of course, his is talking about our southern border with Mexico and not our northern border with Canada.

See, the theory goes that if ISIS wants to attack America, they simply put people ashore in Mexico.  Those people then walk however far is necessary and cross the southwest border with the U.S.  I can only assume that these people will already be armed since Republicans don’t seem to think they can buy guns in this country.  Once they cross the border with Mexico, they will do their worst to kill us all off in our sleep.

They also see that someone from West Africa who is infected with Ebola will fly into Mexico, take a bus to somewhere near the border, and then simply walk across.  All the while suffering from the disease symptoms that include organ damage and internal bleeding.  They make is sound so easy that GOP congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr. of California, told Fox host Greta van Susteren last night that ”[a]t least ten ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the border in Texas.” Pressed on how he knew this, Hunter replied that he’d “asked the Border Patrol.”

When contacted, the Department of Homeland Security flatly denied the charge and basically said Hunter was patently false in his assertion about ISIS people being caught at the Mexican border in Texas.  To be honest, I started laughing that these ISIS terrorists entered in Texas and not in California or Arizona.  Is that a subliminal hint that California isn’t a direct target?

So, is there any validity in the Republicans claim that both ISIS and Ebola are going to just walk across our southern border?  Well, history proves just the opposite.  I know that Republicans aren’t too keen on history and the facts, but let’s look at a few things here.

Before the 9/11 attacks, terrorists crossed our border to carry out their plot.  But please note, none of them entered the country through Mexico.  In order to be able to walk around without being harassed, they either entered the country via European countries on a legal visa granted under false papers, or they entered through, get this, CANADA.  See, if a terrorist wants to commit an act in the U.S. he needs to be able to enter the country without bringing attention to himself.  Entering through a European country or Canada is the best way not to bring attention to yourself.

Every case where the FBI and/or Border Police have captured potential terrorists have been at the Canadian border NOT the Mexican border.  For one thing, the Canadian border is longer than the Mexican border.  There are far more places where people can illegally cross.  There is even the Great Lakes where some can get a boat and simply enter the U.S. from Canada without even being noticed.  When you dock your boat at a marina in the U.S., there are no border police present to check IDs and “papers”, so it is far easier to enter through Canada than through Mexico.  I know, I lived on the Great Lakes most of my life.

So, what about Ebola?  The only case, so far, of a person entering the country with Ebola came through a U.S. Airport.  He did not cross the Mexican border.  He was legally entering the country to visit family living in this country.  As a matter of fact, every case of an epidemic problem that has entered the U.S. was through legal means, not sneaking across the border from Mexico.

So, when Republicans like Tom Tillis start talking about “sealing the border” we need to be asking him if he means both the southern and northern borders.  Even if we were to build an impenetrable wall along the Mexican border, it will not stop terrorists from entering the country through Canada or even our airports.  Besides, where do the Republicans think they are going to get the billions of dollars necessary to build such a border wall?  And, how are they going to pay to maintain it?

Finally, if we do build a wall between us and Mexico, won’t that also mean we will need thousands more border police to patrol the wall?  What about all of the security equipment necessary to let us know when it is breached?  What about the equipment necessary to find tunnels under the wall?

Republicans don’t really care about “sealing the border.”  What they care about is letting loose a hysteria that those “other” people are coming to get us and the only way to stop them is to lock off the “other” people from getting in too.  That is what brings the wing-nut voters to the polls.  We don’t need to worry about our northern border, because they are not those “other” people.  They are white Christian souls just like us.  Forget that is from where terrorists enter.

Terrorism and infectious diseases, not just Ebola, are real concerns that we face everyday.  The problem is that both of these concerns are more likely to enter the country via legal means and through our own airports than “sneaking” across the southern border.  But, Republicans know that hysteria can generate votes.  It is truly sad that they think they need to hype it up in order to win an election.  But then, they don’t have anything else to run on.

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I bet the NFL isn’t watching this too closely.  A New Jersey High School has suspended its entire football season after 4 games because of substantial and credible evidence of pervasive bullying, harassment and hazing in the program, including allegations of possible sexual assault.  This high school, Sayerville High School has won the state championship in its level 4 of the last 5 seasons.  It also has a running streak of 20 state playoff appearances.  So, this isn’t some scrub team where this action won’t be noticed.

In a news conference after he informed the players and parents, Richard Labbe said:  “There were incidences of harassment, intimidation, and bullying that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level, and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated and, in general, accepted.”  He also reported that the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office and the Sayerville Police Department were investigating “inappropriate conduct of a significant and serious nature” that allegedly took place within the football program. All three levels of the football program — varsity, JV and freshman — have had their seasons canceled.

Of course there are parents who disagree with the decision.  They have criticized the Superintendent for punishing players who were not involved — as well as cheerleaders and band members.   “It’s unfair for the kids that didn’t get to play this year that had nothing to do with it,” parent Joe Scirica told TODAY.

Now, Scirica may have a point about those not being involved and members of the cheerleader squad and band are also being punished.  But, the point is extremely minor.  There is a criminal investigation going on at the high school concerning “incidences of harassment, intimidation, and bullying on a pervasive level.  This appears to be on a wide-scale level and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated and, in general accepted.”  If that portion of the investigation proves out, how can a parent say their child was uninvolved?  If they knew about what was going on and failed to report it to the school, they are generally accepted it and thus were involved.

There have been many instances where high school, college, and professional players were involved in things of this nature and worse.  It is not uncommon to hear about football players intimidating and bullying other students.  I have never heard of another school, as prominent and successful in the sport as this school, cancelling the season over these incidents.  Usually, there is one or two scapegoats and the season goes along.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be the start of something big.  If a successful program like Sayerville can have its season cancelled over these incidents, hopefully, other schools will look to use the same standard.  That is probably going to be the only way for schools to put an end to this bullying behavior.  The action taken by this school district was honorable.  Of course, we have to wait and see what the criminal investigation proves as the case moves along.

But, I think Labbe did the right thing in cancelling the season.  About the only thing that is worse than the bullying going on in our schools is the fact that many schools silently approve it by doing nothing to stop it.  Sayerville chose not to silently approve bullying.  They decided to take a stand against it.  They should be applauded for that decision.

If we can stamp out the culture of athletes getting away with such behavior in high school, we may begin to see it end at the college and professional level as well.  I am dubious that other high schools will take such a brave stance though.  That is also part of the culture of bullying.  As long as championships are gotten, schools all too often look the other way.  Silence by administrators is the loudest approval there is.

 

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There two absolute necessities for maintaining life.  Food and Water.  Since the start of agrarian societies, food has been a commodity.  Meaning that you either live somewhere where you grow your own food, or you pay someone else for the food you need.  Water is also a necessity for maintaining life.  As a mater of fact, you can go longer without food than you can without water.  The UN formally “recognizes the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.”

Unfortunately, people in the U.S. have forgotten about all of the water battles that were waged in our past.  At one point, private companies were running water supplies.  At the beginning of the 20th century, they started having major cholera outbreaks, which led to it being turned over to public utilities.   However, since public utilities have had their budgets cut drastically by local and state governments over the years, they have been unable to keep up with their infrastructure.  That has led to many public utility companies facing financial hardships and budget deficits to raise their rates.

When I grew up in Chicago in the 50s, we did not have a water meter on our house.  My parents paid a flat rate to the public water company and used as much water as needed.  There was a huge fight when the city finally enforced water metering at private residences.  Yes, the water we drank came from Lake Michigan, but there was no need for metering because the utility was financed through the flat rate and taxes.

Today, no one gets water that way.  Even if you wanted to drop a bucket into a lake or river for free water, you wouldn’t be able to drink it without purifying it first because of all of the pollution that has been dumped into our lakes and rivers.  Utilities are struggling to maintain their infrastructures.  They are getting less and less money from taxes thus they are forced to raise rates on the consumer.  In essence, water which is a complete necessity to maintain life, has become a marketable commodity.  As a result of the financial problems with public utilities, private companies are looking to take over, again, for the potential profits.  The rising rates for water are making it more attractive for private companies to want to take over the public utilities.

There is no better place to look at this necessity becoming a commodity than the City of Detroit.  The so-called Emergency Manager and water utilities in the city has cut off water to thousands of their citizens who can’t pay their bill.  In a recent ruling, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled on Detroit’s hotly contested practice of cutting off water.  He said:

“It cannot be doubted that water is a necessary ingredient to sustaining life, yet there is not an enforceable right to free and affordable water.”

To my way of thinking, he is contradicting himself.  If water is a necessary ingredient to sustaining life, how can their not be an enforceable right to free and affordable water?  According to his ruling, water is a luxury item that for which you have to pay.  If you cannot afford to pay for it, you simply don’t get it.  One of the big reasons for this fight in the first place is that the State of Michigan wants to have a private company go into Detroit and take over the public utility.  If they cannot cut off water to people who can’t pay their bills, no private company will take on the task.

We have had discussions about how the Republicans want to privatize everything.  They want to privatize public education, social security, medicare, and now public utilities like water.  Basically, they want us to consider water as a “luxury” we have to pay to get.  Never mind the local taxes we pay that is supposed to help support and keep bills low in the first place.  This is the type of insanity that permeates the Republican mindset.  The next thing you will see is when a natural disaster strikes an area and the water trucks show up, you will have to pay for each gallon of water you need.

Cutting off water to private residences is not just wrong, it’s a potential health hazard.  It could begin spreading diseases that shouldn’t exist any longer in this country.  If there is no water, you will not be able to flush your toilet.  What are residents supposed to do?  Pour their waste in the gutter as in the “good ole days?”  Things like cholera are potentially waiting in the wings to spread through our communities again.

The biggest drawback in living in an industrialized country is that we have become an urbanized society.  The agrarian society that we used to have is gone.  Even in many rural areas, there are public utilities that provide water to residents.  This water is cleaner than well water.  If you do have a well, you still need to use a water softener or other treatment before drinking it.  Besides, with fracking going on all over, you have the added worry of your well being contaminated by the fracking chemicals being used.  As a friend of mine with a well says, “drinking well water is kidney stone heaven.”

Water is a basic necessity.  It is not a luxury item like Judge Rhodes seems to think it is.  One of the most fundamental responsibilities of government is to help ensure the basic necessities of life are maintained.  Putting public utilities in the hands of private companies, raising rates for water, or cutting off water to people who cannot to pay their bills is illegally abdicating responsibility, in my view.  It is simply another way to marginalize the poor.

 

 

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