Developing a program to defeat austerity

first_imgDetroit activists demand end to tax foreclosures, Sept. 5, 2017.March 24 will be an important date for the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and more than 50 other organizations and individuals who have endorsed the National Conference to Defeat Austerity in Detroit. The gathering is being held at the historic St. Matthew’s-St. Joseph’s Church.This event has its origins in several developments in the city. Hundreds of thousands of residents have seen their standard of living drop precipitously amid massive layoffs in the retail and service sectors, along with the ongoing property tax foreclosure epidemic and rising rents.The corporate media narrative promotes the city as making significant progress after emerging from what was in actuality an illegal municipal bankruptcy during 2013-14, while simultaneously overlooking the plight of the majority African-American, working-class population, many of whom are mired in poverty.The NCDA concept arose after the Moratorium NOW! Coalition mobilized people for the World Conference of Mayors meeting held last Oct. 23-27 at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel. The billionaire ruling class, headed by Quicken Loans and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and the Illitch Companies, sought to use the World Conference of Mayors to spread blatant misrepresentation of the social and economic situation in Detroit.A citywide town hall meeting titled “Real Detroiters Speak Out!” was convened Oct. 27 after a week of activities, including an intervention at the World Conference of Mayors itself. At subsequent meetings in November and December, organizers decided to build a broader event that would thoroughly analyze the present crisis and develop a programmatic response to the domestic and U.S. foreign policies devastating cities and whole countries around the world.Why the people struggleThe recently enacted first phase of federal tax legislation will result in enormous cuts to social programs and environmental safeguards under the guise of providing incentives for corporations and allegedly workers and consumers.However, subsidizing financial institutions through a formal 14 percent corporate tax reduction means that the masses of working and poor people will be denied desperately needed housing, health care and food assistance while the Pentagon budget continues to grow.Relating to Detroit, Moratorium NOW! has stressed over the last three years that more than $700 million has been redirected from the federal Hardest Hit Fund, initially designed to assist homeowners negatively impacted by foreclosures and evictions, to questionable projects related to so-called “blight removal.” A significant portion of these funds has been turned over to the Detroit Land Bank Authority, described as a quasi-public entity, although it is run in the interests of the banks, corporations and real estate investors. The DLBA has been under federal investigation over allegations of bid-rigging and deliberate cost overruns.Business-friendly Mayor Mike Duggan has opposed the use of federal funds earmarked for homeowners to stabilize neighborhoods. Working on behalf of the billionaires based downtown, both Duggan and the compliant City Council have repeatedly voted in favor of the transfer of public assets such as taxes, land and infrastructure to an array of prestige projects which provide no tangible benefits to the majority of people.From Detroit to Puerto Rico Highlighting the NCDA program will be activists from Puerto Rico, the devastated island nation which has long been a colonial outpost for U.S. imperialism. Ricardo Santos Ramos, the former president of the Electrical Industry and Irrigation Workers Union (UTIER), will attend and address the conference.Like Detroit, Puerto Rico was placed into an unprecedented bankruptcy, which claimed that the people owe $72 billion to the banks. Compounding this financial crisis, hurricanes Irma and Maria caused extensive physical damage, destroying homes, electrical grids and production centers.The delay in reconnecting power, rebuilding homes and facilitating the general restoration of normalcy for the people is clearly related to the dominance of the U.S government, which has stifled the economic growth and development of Puerto Rico in order to further facilitate its exploitation of the people.Another prominent speaker will be the Rev. Edward Pinkney, a former political prisoner who was targeted, framed, prosecuted and imprisoned on two occasions since 2006 for opposing the imposition of so-called emergency management in Benton Harbor, Mich.Yvonne Jones, co-founder of the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association, will discuss the character of austerity in the city. Tens of thousands of municipal retirees were subjected to cuts in their pensions and annuities during the bankruptcy in 2014. Guaranteed lifetime health care coverage was completely eliminated.Other invited speakers include Dior Gabrielle, organizer for the event; Dante Strobino with the Southern Workers Assembly, also bringing news of the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, United Electrical Workers Local 150; representatives of the Southern Workers Assembly; Maurice B.P. Drew of the Refund America Project, ACRES; Yexenia Vanegas, Detroit organizer for the Poor People’s Campaign; Elena Herrada of the Detroit School Board in exile; Jonathan Roberts of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan; Julia Kassem of  the U.S. Palestine Community Network in Detroit; Jesus Rodriguez Epinosa, former Counsel General in Chicago for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; Jerry King of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute in Detroit; Kristy O’Connor of the Library Defense Network; S. Baxter Jones, a disabilities rights advocate and former member of the Homrich 9; and the Rev. W.J. Rideout, an organizer for the Fight for $15 Campaign and Defenders for Truth and Justice.A packed agenda There will be workshops on housing, water shutoffs, the Poor People’s Campaign, education and public transit. A national town hall panel will give voice to people across the country, while another session on the international struggle against austerity will illustrate the global aspects of the crisis.The conference will close with a community meal and cultural program in the evening. Organizers will live-stream portions of the proceedings to reach broader audiences.This event will be both educational as well as activist. Several resolutions will be introduced calling for actions around pressing issues in Detroit and nationwide. Over the next several months various struggles against poverty and racism and for labor rights and environmental justice will intensify.Conference organizers will seek support for demonstrations to demand a moratorium on 36,000 scheduled property tax foreclosures in Wayne County. The delegates will be asked to support anti-war demonstrations slated for April 14-15 in several cities.Organizers hope the NCDA will serve as a partial springboard for broader participation in Michigan and around the country for the National Poor People’s Campaign. Plans will also be discussed for unified actions on May 1, International Workers’ Day. Additional resolutions and action proposals will be accepted.To attend or support this important conference, visit its Facebook page; registration information and other resources can be found at tinyurl.com/ycx68v2s. Although conference registration is free, donations for printed materials and food will be accepted.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Computer Workshop: Beginning Internet Exploration

first_imgLearn how to use search engines to find information on the World Wide Web.Date: 3/26/2007Time: 3:00-4:30 pmFREE!Pre-registration is required: Please sign up at or call the Reference Desk at 865-7217.Visit our web site for a complete schedule of workshops:http://www.fletcherfree.org/ComputerCenter.htm(link is external)last_img

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Spain, U.S. Want Latin America To Assume New “Global” Role

first_imgBy Dialogo February 02, 2010 Spain and the United States agreed on the need for Latin America to assume a role of “global interlocutor” to participate in overcoming problems like the economic crisis and confronting challenges like climate change. The Spanish secretary of state for Ibero-America, Juan Pablo de Laiglesia and Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela met in Madrid. The two officials particularly discussed issues like the humanitarian situation in earthquake-stricken Haiti and the political crisis in Honduras, as well as cooperation between the United States and the European Union on Latin America. De Laiglesia took advantage of the meeting to explain to his U.S. colleague “the objectives Spain hopes to achieve during its six-month EU presidency,” he said in an interview with Efe once the meeting had concluded. “We found full agreement that Latin America is a global actor who must be recognized as such and that we have to recognize that role in the solution of problems on the global agenda,” De Laiglesia said. He emphasized that the exchange of views with Valenzuela was “extremely fruitful and constructive,” and he announced that Spain and the United States have the intention “not only to continue it but to provide it with a more solid institutional structure via the constitution of working groups on specific questions.” The first of those issues will be development aid to Latin America, he said. De Laiglesia emphasized that the various efforts among Spain, the EU and the United States will “always be recognizing the leadership” of the Latin American countries themselves “in setting objectives and mechanisms for that cooperation.” Regarding Haiti, De Laiglesia said that he had discussed with Valenzuela “the need and the urgency of refining all the mechanisms of coordination to ensure efficacious help in attending to the emergency, but also in the area of reconstruction and support plans in the medium and long terms” to overcome the devastation of the Jan. 12 earthquake, which left more than 170,000 people dead and some 1.5 million homeless. Honduras was another central issue in the conversation between Valenzuela and De Laiglesia, the latter of whom expressed the stance of Spain and the EU with regard to the crisis sparked by last June’s coup against Honduran President Mel Zelaya. “The assumption of the presidency by (Porfirio) Lobo and the resolution of the totally unacceptable situation that President Zelaya was in imply the creation of a scenario in which it becomes possible to contemplate a recovery of normality in relations between Honduras and the rest of the Ibero-American and global community,” said De Laiglesia.last_img read more

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Mexican men confront machismo culture in therapy to combat violence against women

first_img‘Violence, domination and force’ “Masculinity has always been associated with violence, domination and force, but now that’s changing. New (perceptions of) masculinity propose the idea of promoting equal treatment of men and women,” said psychotherapist and Gendes director Mauro Vargas.He aims to teach the 1,200 men per year who attend his meetings to understand and confront the different types of violence against women: sexual, physical, economic, verbal and cyber.Mexico has long faced governmental indifference and ineffective policies when it comes to tackling violence against women.Women have begun to take to the streets to demand immediate action to reduce the number of femicides, which grew by 136 percent between 2015 and 2019.Two brutal murders last month, including that of a seven-year-old girl, highlighted the issue ahead of International Women’s Day March 8 and ignited protests. Vargas says daily occurrences such as wolf whistling, sharing photos of naked women or sexist comments about female colleagues perpetuate an inequality that results in violence against women.The therapy at Gendes helps men “unlearn what society has taught them within a macho and misogynistic environment,” said Vargas. Founded in 2009, Gendes conducts studies about social inequality and supports activism in a bid to rehabilitate male chauvinists. In an improvised therapy room in a large house in the center of Mexico City, a group of men aged between 20 and 70 close their eyes, inhale and exhale.Each places his hand on his heart and — in a moment of honest reflection — takes time to think about the violence he inflicted on women and the consequences of those actions.”I’m Jaime. This week I committed verbal and emotional violence against my partner. I’m here to help and be helped,” said a 63-year-old before a dozen other men replied in unison: “I will help you.”  ‘A man in deconstruction’ Although there is no official data on their numbers, groups exploring a non-traditional type of masculinity to break from a patriarchal culture are multiplying in Mexico.Using mostly social medial, men organize meetings in spots such as urban art galleries or book shops to debate their role in a growing feminism movement.But Arturo Reyes, a 29-year-old psychologist and an instructor at Gendes, says he believes men cannot themselves be feminists.”There are allies to feminism, but there are no men feminists. The fight is for women only,” said Reyes.He says machismo is “a cultural decision” rather than an individual affliction.”A macho in rehabilitation is a man in deconstruction,” he added.In the house in the central Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, those in therapy fix their eyes on the floor.When they’re ready, they raise their faces, take a deep breath and drum up the courage to relate their own personal experiences.One visibly stressed man confesses to having assaulted his son.For Reyes, the most satisfying element of the therapy is when one of the men approaches him afterwards with a hug and says: “Thanks to these sessions, my wife and children can now approach me without fear.”center_img Mexico is suffering from a femicide crisis, with 10 women murdered every day, and increasingly men are questioning the prevalent male chauvinism — or machismo — deeply entrenched in society.”I’ve never been physically violent with a woman, but yes I’ve done it in other forms: emotionally, verbally and sexually because several times I was unfaithful,” said Jaime, who withheld his surname to protect his family.”I recognize that and I want to change.”Jaime approached Gendes, a gender and development center,  a couple of years ago on his partner’s advice as they struggled with relationship problems. Topics :last_img read more

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Do more to stop coronavirus price gouging, US states tell Amazon, Walmart, Facebook

first_imgThe steps include triggering price-gouging protections prior to emergency declarations in a state, being proactive in setting policies and restrictions on sellers instead of playing catch up and creating a “fair pricing” page where consumers can report incidents.“They should use their data and analytics tools to stop price spikes, not play whack-a-mole when they find something on their platform…We are seeing them handle this on a case-by-case basis, which is really not practical,” Shapiro told Reuters in an interview.The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Read also: E-commerce platform Tokopedia shuts down COVID-19 profiteers A group of 32 US states have a message for the nation’s leading online platforms: You are not doing enough to stop price gouging amid the coronavirus crisis.In a letter sent on Wednesday to Amazon.com Inc, Walmart Inc, Facebook Inc and eBay Inc a bipartisan group of US attorneys general outlined specific steps it wants the online platforms to take to end this practice.Pennsylvania’s Josh Shapiro is leading the effort along with attorneys general from the states of Connecticut, Vermont and New Mexico. Shapiro said his office has received approximately 2,900 tips of price gouging on online platforms and brick-and-mortar stores in the past eight to nine days and issued 90 cease-and-desist orders to sellers engaged in the activity. He said if these orders fail to deter merchants, his office can fine them up to US$10,000 per violation.The issue of price-gouging on online platforms has become a hot topic among law enforcement agencies, officials and lawmakers as panicked consumers look to stock up on essential items during the outbreak.It also reflects the intense pressure online platforms are under to protect consumers while delivering goods during a pandemic.Earlier this week, Amazon said it had removed 3,900 seller accounts involved in this activity. In early March, the company said it is working with state attorneys general to identify and prosecute third-party sellers.A report by the US Public Interest Research Group released March 11, found nearly 1 in 6 of the products sold directly by Amazon had prices spike 50 percent higher than the 90-day average.“Even new protections by your company including heightened monitoring, bans on certain advertisements, and bans on selling certain items, have failed to remove unconscionably priced critical supplies,” the letter said.Topics :last_img read more

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Dutch property manager Bouwinvest to add care housing to portfolio

first_imgWith a total return of 8.1%, Bouwinvest’s Retail Fund showed the best result, while its Hotel Fund generated a 7.1% return.While Bouwinvest incurred a 0.3% loss on its offices investments, the return on its €2.6bn Residential Fund was 0%, after direct returns of 3.6% and an equal indirect loss.Last year, the property manager invested €165m in Dutch housing, in particular in apartments and single-family homes.“As most investors are still waiting, we have been able to acquire first-class assets against reasonable prices,” the company said, which also made significant investments in the retail sector.Last year, it committed itself to a total of €677m in new investments.Although Bouwinvest noted that property prices were still under pressure, and its Dutch sector schemes dropped 4% in 2013, it said it expected that the prices for rental housing would bottom out this year.“The first external investor seems to confirm this trend,” it said, referring to the Rabobank Pensioenfonds, which invested €50m in its Residential Fund earlier this year.Bouwinvest also said that Dutch direct property deals, with a volume of €5.6bn last year, were approaching the long-term average of €6bn.The property manager’s €1.9bn global real estate portfolio returned 7% due chiefly to higher valuations of non-listed North American property as well as listed investments.However, Bouwinvest Development still suffered from the downward revaluations of plots and projects last year.Last February, the property manager received an AIFMD licence, and it is now in a better position to attract European investors, it said, adding that it received the ISAE certificate for “all correct control procedures” last year.Dick van Hal, chief executive, is currently also acting as CFO, since Roel de Weerd left the company at the end of last year. Bouwinvest, the €6bn property manager of the pension fund for the Dutch building sector, has said it wants to add facilities for combined care and housing to its portfolio as part of plans to grow to €7.7bn over the next two years.It is also committed to reducing management costs to make itself more attractive to external investors, according to its 2013 annual report.The company, which has €750m available for new investments, reported a total return on its Dutch activities of 0.8%, which almost equals its 2012 result.The company’s overall direct return was 4.2%.last_img read more

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And AEK…Goalless

first_imgAEK rounded off a awful weekend for the SuperLeague’s “Big 4” as the Dikefalos played to a goalless draw at home to Iraklis. In matchday 5, the “Big 4” did not score a single goal, recording 3 draws and one defeat (Olympiacos away to Larissa). AEK had a difficult time breaking down a stubborn Iraklis defense with both teams creating minimal chances for a winner.AEK came into today’s match with high hopes of returning to the top of the SuperLeague standings after Panathinaikos, PAOK, and Olympiacos (also Panionios and Platanias) all lost points in this weekend’s matches. It seemed that AEK had a sense of nervousness in their play as they only created one decent chance in the half, through Patito’s header that was saved by Huanderson. After a poor performance in the opening 45 minutes, Ketsbaia decided to make changes at the break by subbing on Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and Platellas while Bakasetas moved to the top of the attack. Iraklis had one good chance with Leozinho’s free-kick, but from that point on, AEK began their pressure in Iraklis’ half. However, the hosts could not take advantage of the few opportunities they created. Ketsbaia played his final card by subbing on Aravidis, but the Iraklis defense was well disciplined, leaving no space for AEK to create anything on the offensive end. In stoppage time, Christodoulopoulos was “easily” brought down in the box, but the referee rightfully did not award a penalty. The final whistle came and AEK saw their opportunity to go atop the SuperLeague standings go to waste.AEK will now have their eyes on the first derby of the season when they travel to Pireaus to play Olympiacos next Sunday. It is expected to be a heated match as both teams will look for all three points in their quest for the SuperLeague title. Iraklis will host Panionios, who fell at home to Veria on Saturday. Source: AGONAsport.com (Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and Twitter)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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10 months agoNewcastle inviting offers for Rob Elliot

first_imgNewcastle inviting offers for Rob Elliotby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveNewcastle United are inviting offers for Rob Elliot.Rafael Benitez confirmed that Newcastle keeper Rob Elliot will be available during the transfer window with Martin Dubravka, Freddie Woodman and Karl Darlow currently ahead of him in the pecking order.Asked if Darlow could be sold amid speculation linking him with Sky Bet Championship promotion-chasers Leeds, he replied: “I know some of our players, the agents are telling us this club is interested or another one, but we are not ready at the moment to sell anyone.“The only one that now is available in the window is Elliot because the others, at the moment we need them.“Obviously, we have too many keepers and we have to manage, but Rob is available in the window.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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9 months agoTottenham chasing Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong

first_imgTottenham chasing Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jongby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham are chasing Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong. The Mirror says Tottenham have entered the race to sign Ajax’s brilliant youngster De Jong — as Real Madrid prepare to launch a £100million bid for his fellow midfielder Christian Eriksen.De Jong will be sold to the highest bidder at the end of this season.Paris Saint-Germain are in pole position, after telling Ajax they will pay £67million.But Madrid have made Eriksen a top summer target as they look to revamp an ageing squad, and Spurs have responded by contacting De Jong’s agent, Ali Dursun, and giving him guarantees that will match the current highest bid for his client. De Jong, 21, looked destined for Manchester City late last year, only for the Premier League champions to request that the deal for him was put on ice. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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a month agoArsenal fullback Kolasinac talks for first time about car-jacking incident

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Arsenal fullback Kolasinac talks for first time about car-jacking incidentby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal fullback Sead Kolasinac insists he is focused on football again.The Bosnia international and teammate Mesut Ozil were the victims of an attempted carjacking last month, with both players only recently returning to action.Speaking ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash with Frankfurt, Kolasinac insisted he is ready to play.He said: “About what happened I don’t want to talk about it in details. It’s happened. It belongs in the past. The same with Mesut.”We are back and we focused on our jobs.”Well of course I’m happy to be back. Of course mentally this was hard, missing also training for a couple of days. I made up for it. “I’m back and happy to be back with the team and able to perform with them.” last_img read more

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