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Moral Decline of America – Detroit’s Water Cutoffs ‘Blamed on Bankruptcy’

21st Century Wire says…

It has been nearly a year since Detroit declared bankruptcy, now thousands of residents have had their water cut off since March and 150,000 more are facing the same fate…


IMAGE: ‘Slice of Life’ – An ongoing water crisis is still unfolding in Detroit, as residents have been subjected to water cutoffs over late or unpaid bills since March. Some have suggested the city has been spiking rates to re-coup its losses.(Photo credit: thecuttingedgenews.com)

A brief history of monetary ruin

Detroit Michigan is known as the ‘Motor City’ and was once proudly hailed as one of the most innovative cities in America for all of its automotive manufacturing prowess, but those days have long-since ended, marking a great decline in production and job creation – but what exactly happened. Detroit’s transformation from the 4th largest city in the United States with nearly 1.8 million people to the 18th most populous city with just over 700,000 residents didn’t happen overnight – it took decades. 

Corrupt politicians like Kwame Kilpatrick, and a host of other city officials slowly sapped the city of its resources, leading to Detroit’s financial coffin. Kilpatrick, the former mayor of Detroit from (2002-2008), extorted the city out of $2 billion in contracts while he was acting as the special administrator of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Deparment (DWSD), illegally awarding the management of wastewater to outside parties without concern for the health and safety of those located in the municipality. Additionally, critics have charged that Kilpatrick’s restructuring of the city’s pension debt in 2005, fast tracked the city to ruin with a Wall Sreet loan of $1.44 bilion that will take an estimated 22 years to payoff.

As of this past March, water services have been abruptly cutoff in the city of Detroit for many residents, as the municipality has tried to recoup financial losses incurred following their Chapter 9 filing, while also blaming unpaid water bills. In the process those without water have soared to an alarming rate of 3,000 people per week, effecting mostly those in lower income communities who haven’t been able to pay their water accounts on time according to reports. It’s hard not to think that the contract corruption, as well as the Wall Street lending that occurred under Kilpatrick didn’t also factor into the current situation with DWSD, when you consider the financial deficit and strain the city was burdened with. Fresh water from the Great Lakes supplies Detroit and its governance could be a major concern in the future.

The UN, Detroit residents & human rights

When looking at transnational corporations and harmful trade deals such as NAFTA the picture becomes clearer, couple that with crony political scams – can the residents really be at fault for the monetary woes of Detroit? We don’t think so. This doesn’t necessarily excuse people not paying their bills, however, when you consider the history of job losses directly attributed to an engineered financial fallout, its hard to reconcile the DWSD’s decision in this situation as there are other accounts of them exorbitantly raising the cost of city water.

The United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights office described Detroit’s massive water shutoffs as a ‘human rights’ concern, as Catarina de Albuquerque stated:

Disconnections due to non-payment are only permissible if it can be shown that the resident is able to pay but is not paying. In other words, when there is genuine inability to pay, human rights simply forbids disconnections.”

Their is no doubt that what’s unfolding in Detroit is a humanitarian crisis, as many have been without access to water at their residence for several weeks and in some cases longer. There are also reports that activists have requested the UN’s involvement, while their actions appear to be appropriate in terms of drawing attention to the health concerns in Detroit, you have to wonder why the city itself has been incapable of figuring out this crisis themselves without the international body taking the lead. You also have to wonder if the UN has its own self-interest getting involved in a crisis like this. 

What will be expeccted of Detroit in the future for receiving help from the intergovernmental organization?

The de-industrialization of Detroit

Much of Detroit now looks as though it’s a post-apocalyptic scene out of  Cormac McCarthy‘s The Road and has been ravaged by inner-city crime, it is also a city that has been pillaged by predatory lending practices in the ramp up to the 2008 collapse and the auto-bailout which ultimately was the undoing for the cash-strapped city. America has lost much of its manufacturing jobs since so-called free trade agreements like NAFTA, GATT and CAFTA made their way into the corporate lexicon of US industry. These agreements opened the door to ship manufacturing jobs overseas, directly benefiting the globalist controlled corporations with less overhead by tapping into the ‘slave labor’ in  other countries like China, vastly reducing American factory production of which Detroit has become a casualty of. In 2011, it was reported that the United States has lost over 60% of its factory based jobs.

The $80 billion dollar bailout of the auto industry helped Detroit’s failing automakers like GM and Chrysler go from near bankruptcy to gigantic profits. This however, failed to solve the city’s rising unemployment, as auto companies slashed their budget stateside in favor of operations overseas.

When you factor corporate welfare as well as unions into the mix, you see the consolidation of wealth anchored to socialism that directly benefited banks and auto business owners while leaving Detroit running empty.

Subprime predators 

Between 2004 and 2006, 75% of Detroit’s mortgages were subprime loans. In 2012, Detroit homes lost over 30% of their value, as 100,000 homes were foreclosed on. Mike Shane of the activist group Moratorium Now!, had this to say in regards to paying back Wall Street debt, “We’re almost like economic refugees.”  A leading anti-foreclosure lawyer Jerry Goldberg has discussed the situation in Detroit and the dangers of  certain lending practices, “There was predatory lending against people, which precipitated the financial crisis.”


IMAGE: ‘Land of the Dead’ – The interior of Michigan Central Station in present day disrepair, it was once an iconic building in the ‘Motor City’ originally built in 1913. The Moroun family has slowly begun renovating the former picturesque structure (Photo: Islandbreath.blogspot.com)

Here’s an RT report on YouTube depicting the still unfolding humanitarian crisis in Detroit…

Cutting off water to Detroit’s poor ‘an affront to human rights,’ says UN

Russia Today

Residents of Detroit, Michigan who are $150 or two months past-due on their water bills are having their water shut off by the bankrupt city. Now, even the United Nations has stepped in, saying Detroit is in violation of the human right to water.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) is facing $5 billion in bad debt, and is scrambling to recoup its losses. The city, which filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in history last year, argues that the financial burden of paying water bills has been put on the back burner by many families who didn’t believe services would be shut off. Those bills have gone up 120 percent in the past decade, well beyond the national average.

“We sent out a little over 46,000 shutoff notices in May. Of those 46,000 shutoff notices, about 4,500 were actually shut off,” Greg Eno, a DWSD public affairs specialist, told RT.

Within 24 hours, 60 percent of the affected customers paid their accounts in full and had their service immediately restored. Forty percent of the remaining customers had their service restored within 48 hours, DWSD said in a statement.

“Many of the properties that we shut off are actually vacant structures, not occupied homes,” DWSD Director Sue McCormick said.

The public utility has threatened to cut off water to 150,000 Detroit residents so far, and the shutoffs could affect up to 300,000 of the city’s poor African-American community, according to the Root. Since March, water service for up to 3,000 customers per week has been cut off.

Read more from RT…

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