Thursday, April 10, 2014

Important Bankruptcy and Pension Articles


I am very concerned about what is going on nationally about public pensions and how it may, in my opinion, be connected to the Detroit bankruptcy. On March 24 Governor Snyder and Kevyn Orr, Emergency Manager, went to speak at the Manhattan Institute about Detroit's bankruptcy. http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140324/METRO01/303240067

The Manhattan Institute has worked with the John Arnold Foundation to implement pension reform which is highly questionable. Jones Day is suggesting that a person from the Manhattan Institute lead the bankruptcy experts in the trial in Detroit! This should not be allowed. http://www.freep.com/article/20140331/NEWS01/303310064/Detroit-bankruptcy-expert-witness-Edward-Glaeser.

The Detroit bankruptcy should be put on hold until this national pension issue is thoroughly investigated. Below are articles to educate you about the wide scope of what is going on with public pension "reform" in the United States.

Detroit is pension reform's whipping boy Commentary: Clawbacks on earned benefits is
the equivalent of a poll tax - Wall Street Journal Marketwatch
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/detroit-is-pension-reforms-whipping-boy-2013-09-24

Rhode Island's Pension Pirates
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rhode-islands-pension-pirates-2013-10-24

Rhode Island Public Pension Reform: Wall Street's License to Steal - Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsiedle/2013/10/18/rhode-island-public-pension-reform-wall-streets-license-to-steal/

Looting the Pension Funds - Rolling Stone
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/looting-the-pension-funds-20130926

Rhode Island Drops Hedge Fund Criticized by Unionized Teachers
http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20140130-r.i.-state-investment-commission-drops-hedge-fund-criticized-by-unionized-teachers.ece

Jacksonville Buyers Beware: Pew Partners with the Arnold Foundation to Bring a Crippling Plan for Public Pensions to Jacksonville - the National Public Pension Coalition
http://www.truthaboutpensions.org/media/releases/jacksonville-buyers-beware-pew-partners-with-the-arnold-foundation-to-bring-a-crippling-plan-for-public-pensions-to-jacksonville

New Reports Reveal Depth of Corporate Collusion in Pension Attacks - the Public Pension Institute http://www.publicpensioninstitute.org/public/10450.cfm

Promise Breakers: How Pew Trust Is Helping to Gut Public Employee Pensions - California
Federation http://www.calaborfed.org/index.php/site/page /promise_breakers_how_pew_trust_is_helping_to_gut_public_employee_pensions

Arnold Foundation Mess Has Gray In A Tizzy - Page One Kentucky
http://pageonekentucky.com/2014/02/21/arnold-foundation-mess-has-gray-in-a-tizzy/

Report: Pew and Arnold Working Together to Slash Pensions - Rhode Island Future
http://www.rifuture.org/report-pew-arnold-working-together-to-slash-pensions.html

ALEC and TIAA-CREF Join the Assault on Public Pensions
http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/19556-alec-and-tiaa-cref-join-the-assault-on-public-pensions

Slash and Burn: California Pension War
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/03/california-pension-war_n_3862157.html

These two articles are from the groups who are acting, in my opinion, questionably:

This one shares info from the John Arnold Foundation - Pension Reform: Litigate, Negotiate or Go Bankrupt
http://blogs.reuters.com/muniland/2013/01/11/pension-reform-litigate-negotiate-or-go-bankrupt/

Why Detroit Needs Bankruptcy - from the Manhattan Institute
http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/miarticle.htm?id=9853#.U0SZiqJEwuY

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Livin' Like Charlie: A Tale


Once upon a time there was a little boy named Denzell. He lived in a town with his mom and grandma. The town was on the water and had a big bridge to another land. It should have been a very happy, rich place.

One day, Denzell's dad came by and picked up his mom. They gave him a strangely tight hug, told them they loved him and went off. He thought they were acting odd but soon forgot about it. He got out his book, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", and began to read. It made him think. He asked his grandma why they lived like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with so many people in their family in one house and no one lived in castles like he kinda remembered when he was little. Grandma sat him down by the open oven that they use to keep warm. Their heater had broken from the very cold winter. They didn't have the money to pay for their heat and there was no one to help them pay for it, so they lived with no warm water to wash with and sat around the oven for warmth. She looked at him in his dirty clothes - there was no laundromat nearby and they didn't have the money for a washer. The cold water was much too cold to hand wash clothes in often. She looked at him and with her teary eyes, told him the tale.



"Many years ago, everyone in the town lived in beautiful castles.Until the trolls came.


The trolls lived outside the town - they would never live in the town.They thought they were too good for that. The trolls only understood money and never helped the townspeople. They hated the people and wanted them out of the town because they wanted it. They were also afraid the people would find out that they had made the town into a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory town and had stolen everything from the people.

They told the people that they could give them a lot of money if they signed a paper about their castles and they would ask for a little money each month in return. They all signed. The king of the land didn't stop the trolls. The trolls were giving him money to let them have the people sign the papers about their castles.

The trolls came by for their money each month. But each month, the trolls told the people they owed more and more money, their light eyes glistening with greed. Many people couldn't pay. So the trolls took their castles, forcing the people to move in with other people in their families or to leave the town. The trolls wanted ALL the castles, so the town could become a place just for the trolls and all their money.

The town used to help people pay to heat their homes or help you  pay for their castle. The trolls made sure the king did what he was told and took away all the help. The trolls made sure all the laws put many of the townspeople in jail, especially dads. When trolls got old, they were sent to castles full of old people until they died. The townspeople tried to keep their old people at home with their children. The trolls gated their castles off from each other. They lived in fear. The townspeople all knew each others' families and watched out for each other.

Every four years, when the townspeople elected a king, the trolls got some of the crooked townspeople who worked for the town to cheat in the election. They didn't want a king who would help the people, so they wrote the name of king who would help them and put it in the voting boxes. They even got one of the kings put in jail for a very long time. He had stolen from the people, it was true, but they did it to make sure no one knew that the trolls stole more and had been stealing for years.

The trolls would meet on the outskirts of the town and plot and scheme. Their hearts were black. Trolls never laugh, except to laugh AT other people. Trolls never have a happy day. They want everyone to be unhappy like them. They take more and more money, but never can be happy.
The trolls paid the judges from the town and from far away to be sure the people didn't get any justice. The trolls were stealing the water from the people of the town and the surrounding towns, their land, their art, and their precious island. The old people who used to work for the town had saved a little money each week when they were young, so they would have it for when they were old. The trolls saw how big that pot was. They wanted that too! The trolls wanted the castles the old people lived in. They lied and told the old people they were going to fix up the castles, then wouldn't let them come back in.

Trolls blamed the townspeople for their own stealing. Now how was that? The town newspaper always blamed the people, while the trolls set them up and stole from them. The people themselves began to believe these lies. When in truth, the trolls had been stealing for years and no one from the faraway kingdom who watched over all the towns stopped them. The townspeople are kind and don't understand that it was never them. We are good people who have slowly, quietly had everything taken from us."

And the grandma looked at the little boy. She said, "That is why your mother and father are not home today. They want their castles back, the land, the water, the island, the seniors' money and the art. Denzell, they went off to fight today. They went to fight for you and your brothers' and sisters' and cousins' futures. The children in the surrounding towns have started to ask their parents these same questions you asked. They used to believe the trolls...until the trolls started to steal from them. The trolls must be taken down, by any means necessary, so children from this town and the surrounding towns may live in peace and equality. This town's values of sharing, caring, and taking care of each other are so much better than the empty greed of the trolls. Your mom and dad and I hope your children will never know what it was like to live like Charlie."

THE END

______________________________________________________________________________
This story is purely fictional. Of course.

Monday, January 13, 2014

What Happened: 2013 Detroit Primary Election and Recount



THE NON-EXISTENCE OF MY VOTING RIGHTS AS A DETROITER

I ran for mayor in what turned out to be, in my opinion, a fraudulent election. I thought I would lose, but I had no idea I was participating in a farce. It gave me a front row seat to understand why Detroit never reflects the actual people who live here. I am aggrieved first in that it happened and second in how the investigation is being handled. Detroit is the graveyard for democracy - the Emergency Manager, the pre-planned bankruptcy and this election. If the rest of the country does not help us, this will spread. Below are my issues with elections here.

1. Fraud
A write-in won the 2013 Detroit Primary Election with ~40% of the vote. It was impossible. There were signs throughout campaigning that something was amiss. The press only showed up for the write-in candidate. Questions were geared toward him and there were many other signs that there was a negative undercurrent. From there impossibility upon impossibility piled up. So I sent in $10 for one precinct to be recounted. That $10 bought me truths I want to share with you and the sense of injustice I carry with me each and every day.

At the recount, challengers started to take photographs of the write-in ballots. A write-in’s lawyer asked if it was allowed. There was no rule saying that we couldn’t. So the county started to make up rules. We had 30 seconds to photograph a batch for so many seconds a ballot etc. In one of the hearings, someone asked the Wayne County Board of Canvassers (WCBC), “They are allowed to take photographs of the ballots?”. A board member said, “Yes, we might want to look into changing that.” To me, it is imperative that that right is preserved.

Challenges of individual and groups of ballots were written down and were logged on a spreadsheet by the county’s lawyers. At one of the investigative meetings the WCBC missed including me in a challenge which I had also made. So later back in the ballot recount, I went to photograph the paper the challenge was written on as a record. One of the county’s lawyers ripped the challenge from my hand and said, “Oh no, you’re not going to get me like that!”.

There were no meeting notices sent out by email after the first or second meeting and I have never seen any minutes. I don’t believe minutes were taken when they opened the ballot boxes, but I cannot know for sure since I was not privy to the minutes. You just had to find out yourself. This was a lot about shaking people off, frustrating them and making them miserable. To watch some of it, visit www.detroitrecount.blogspot.com The challengers were treated as annoyances by many of the people running the WCBC meetings, judging from their eye rolling and the tone of voice they used which was insulting.

All the recount candidates and their supporters signed up as challengers for each others’ campaigns. These people, many unemployed and fixed income seniors, spent weeks as volunteers and spent a fortune on parking.

HANDWRITING 

During the recount I saw many ballots across precincts in the same handwriting. So I made a list of similar letter styles that many challengers agreed on. Please see some samples of matching ballots here for yourself http://detroitrecount.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-handwriting.html The most interesting specimen would be the one that has two of the write-in’s name on the same ballot, which are then similar to writing on two different ballots in different precincts. I had seen both styles of writing across the city. Once you have seen this sample and understand that the challengers saw thousands of them, you might understand how this is a cloud of injustice that we live with every day.

How the samples were chosen for the handwriting expert to analyze was illogical. One can conclude nothing from the “investigation” the WCBC did. At first a member of the WCBC told us that they had never agreed to bring in a handwriting expert – until I did not back down and she looked at the minutes from a previous meeting. The handwriting expert was then scheduled. This was the first in an array of red flags throughout the investigation.

The WCBC had Tom Barrow, Mr. Cole and I go over to the table where they opened ballot boxes one at a time, laid some on the table and told us to go to the table and choose the ballots we thought were fraudulent. Randomly. We were allowed to spend about 15 minutes on this.

--Pause here and consider that this is a city of 700,000 people with a billion dollar budget – we are alleging fraud about the position that controls that and we are being asked to randomly do what might take the FBI a very long time. At this point, it is clear that fraud investigations should be in the hands of specially trained law enforcement from day one.--

We were expressly forbidden from comparing sets of ballots that fit on the tables from the same precinct and between precincts.” No commingling of ballots,” one board member said, again and again. The board members took each stack of ballots from us as we picked them. We did the best we could, choosing writing styles we had seen over and over in the process as samples. It was too soon in the recount for us to be able to clearly identify them and without being able to compare precincts and stacks of ballots it was impossible to get a set in this ludicrous game of memory, which we expressed to no avail.  

About 100 dedicated volunteer Detroiters took photos of the ballots during the recount. They were printed out and matched. In about two days we had developed a methodology and matched about 40 sets of ballots with similar and near exact handwriting. We already had an alphabet of the styles of individual letters used when we started. Its not so hard when you can compare and stack them into piles with similarities. Children could probably match them it was so obvious. Its just a huge job. When Tom Barrow gave the envelope of copies of about 40 matched ballots to the board, she said it was too late – the handwriting expert was already there and she didn’t have enough people to vote to have him look at them. The handwriting expert from the write-in used the light from his phone and a magnifying glass to examine the ballots. No photography was allowed. At another meeting during the investigation I identified new sets matching ballots right in front of the WCBC and they quietly put them back in the case. Actually when the ballots were laid out and I continued to match, even being able to match to ones that were already put away, they went and sat down and looked in the distance while I pointed to matches. When they passed the matched ballots from Tom’s envelope around, they looked at them and put them back in the envelope. The end. In the envelope from a ballot box that says “originals from which copies are made” in an absentee case, the ballots which were supposedly originals were in the same handwriting I had seen over and over. I also realized that one poll book I had seen had on the last day had the familiar handwriting. There is a possibility that there were more questionable poll books but we had not been trying to match them.

Additionally, the amount of the sample – 19 – was a ridiculously low percentage of the write in ballots.  If we were to ballpark it at 40,000 ballots that were a write-in (the number of actual votes changed through each count so I am not even trying to give an exact number), 400 ballots would have been just 1%. I believe 19 ballots would be considered negligible.

On the ballots with the write-in familiar handwriting was also a similar slate of people chosen for clerk and city council. There were also ballots where the grey boxes were dark and some were light.

ABSENTEE CASE 
When the WCBC opened the case with MORE ballots in the box than in the poll book, the WCBC went and had a meeting in the corner and decided to address it another day. There were also missing blank ballots. The City explained that some ballots are just on a counter and not given out in order. There were so many issues with the absentee ballots (everything from who is verifying the signatures when the ballots come in to how the blank ballots are given out…) that it should be an investigation unto itself.

BLANK BALLOTS 
The list from the printer showing how many ballots printed was supposed to be in each ballot box. They were in none that I saw. When the WCBC produced a list from the City Clerk, it was simply a spreadsheet. When that was not accepted, the next list produced was some sheet from the printer interspersed with spreadsheets. The spreadsheet also had the wrong year on it at the top center. Having been a graphic designer and worked with a printer, I had never seen a bill like that. Bills came on the printer’s letterhead with very detailed explanations of what was printed.

JUSTICE 
The election was sent to the prosecutor for fraud because of 9 computer generated ballots all misspelled (not by the Automark for people with disabilities). It was NOT sent for the glaringly obvious handwriting or absentee issues. Red flag. As I understand it, sending it to the prosecutor opens the whole election up for investigation, not just those 9 ballots.

I understand that other candidates have taken this to Wayne County court and received little justice. The write-in candidate was the Wayne County Prosecutor in the past. Perhaps the county should have recused itself as a whole. When the WCBC was served notice that they had been called to court by many of the candidates, a lawyer from the county literally ran to the other part of the conference room with the write-in’s lawyer to speak to each other. I sat through one case where the judge openly admitted he had contributed $1000 to the write-in candidate and had been to a fundraiser and did not recuse himself. The group tried to change judges - it was sent to the chief judge, then sent back to the original judge to be heard. They lost. He was the judge in two of the cases. At the trial about the very oddly printed absentee ballots for the general election, a judge basically argued the case for the lawyers from the write-in.

The investigations so far have circumvented any real methodology to find out if what the challengers saw was true. That in itself is telling. I had never understood what it meant in legal terms “to be made whole” until this experience. During this entire process I felt my human rights were taken away, seen a justice system that was nothing I had even imagined from bad TV, and suffer every single day knowing what was done to me, a third generation Detroiter and former citizen of the year, and to my neighbors, friends, and all the good people I met while campaigning across the city.

Whose job is it to investigate this? I sent an email on September 30, 2013 to the Michigan Attorney General about my handwriting similarity concern and got my reply on January 2, 2014 simply to refer to the election law statute. I have contacted the Wayne County Prosecutor at least twice. I know from an October letter to WCBC from the Michigan AG Criminal Division that Wayne County Prosecutor sent it  to the Michigan AG, where it sat for a month and was sent back to the WCBC saying they had not done their job properly. The link the Michigan AG office provided me in the January email is no answer to my serious concerns that have not been addressed fully and justly by any entity that should be taking care of this.

Currently, I have an October 2013 FOIA request out for all the ballots and ballot materials to photograph them and save them from being destroyed. The city originally told me they would charge me about $7,000 for me to look at them. I cited case law that disputes the charges. It should be free for me to do it. These ballots are the key, the answer to why Detroit never reflects the voice of the people who live here. I am still waiting for their response.

This made me curious about past elections. I did an analysis for 2 campaign reporting periods for Dave Bing. It showed that less than 10% of donations and less than 10% of individual contributors were from Detroit. I suggest further study go into this. I would also be interested to see which individuals have given the most money over the past 30 years.

There is something malicious about this election. Blatant fraud is disturbing to everyone who saw it. Even as we have told every authority we can, every person getting paid in this country to watch over democracy as Detroiters do their jobs for free, all recount candidates and citizens have heard from day one was crickets chirping.

STEP-BY- STEP JUSTICE FOR CANDIDATES AND FOR DETROIT

What would make us whole again as a city? To redress our grievances and make us whole:

1. A full real investigation into the primary election

2. If wrongdoing is found: 
  • prosecutions to all involved and a public apology by all involved
  • repayment of funds to all campaign contributors to all campaign funds who ran except those guilty of involvement
  • repayment to the city for the primary election and general election and all time spent of the election dept on the election
  • repayment to the county and the state for all time spent concerning this election
  • repayment to the candidates for their recount fees, repayment of any legal fees in pursuing justice
  • repayment for a special election to elect a real mayor of Detroit
  • repayment, hourly, to all the candidates for their time spent campaigning and for the recount and for any paid staff and volunteers
  • full prosecution for each and every ballot which was not filled in by an individual real Detroit voter 
  • full prosecution of any involvement of the press
  • an investigation into involvement in previous election debacles in Detroit 
  • and further corrections of the entire election system below:
1. Campaign Finance

It should be government financed, with all candidates getting a strict amount of money, TV, online and newspaper time. It should be a short period of time and should be when the weather is not vicious. When I ran, I had little money so was relegated to the outdoors.  I understand that they just increased the amount of money that campaign contributors can give individually. This just makes it worse. Also, campaign reports are not fully checked. For Detroit, some people are giving their business address instead of their home address on the finance reports and some are giving no address at all. It would be easier if there were some campaign finance accountant from the government who just kept track of all candidates’ finances. It is a difficult process that should be made easier for average people to run without a support staff. If there was just in-kind TV, flyers, and Ads paid for by the gov’t and a decrease in the amount of cash going into political campaigns, it would clean up a lot. I believe there are models in Europe and Canada.

2. Corporate Contributions

A white woman appeared at the recount with a name tag from a VERY large Detroit business on her purse, that contributed to one or more candidates. She greeted the Wayne County election worker and said “if 2009 didn’t make me crazy this one will”. She looked around the room crazily.

3. Emergency Manager

I did not vote for the emergency manager. I don’t have to explain all the arguments against it. I would like to add that you should see the book Law in Times of Crisis: Emergency Management http://books.google.com/books?id=XgbEUxcKBgAC&pg=PA237&lpg=PA237&dq=article+48+weimar+republic&source=bl&ots=1ucqixHgbm&sig=5l9PXLxM_hbgNW1g6SIcWfS1DMQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VpO_UabSB6rsigK5gIGIBA&ved=0CEAQ6AEwBDgo#v=onepage&q=article%2048%20weimar%20republic&f=false and understand how the Second Reich used Emergency Management and that is partly why much of what Hitler did was legal. The emergency manager law seems to legalize also much of what would normally be prosecuted under RICO. There needs to be some new super sized version of RICO to enable prosecution of everything that is happening to Detroit. It should be looked into to see if the EM, bankruptcy and election are connected.

4. Fraud vs. Recount

If fraud is alleged, investigation into the fraud should be first before there is a recount. It should be done by trained professionals from the FBI from far outside of the area of the election. This would save money on using staff for recounting if fraud is found. Using specially trained professionals that can move from city to city is cost effective. I am sure the cheaters have them, so why don’t the American people?

5. Voting Machines: Old school is better

I understand that before I was born, votes used to be counted by hand in each precinct with the public watching. I think this should be done again. I am also against absentee voting as there is a huge latitude for fraud. For the homebound, sets of three people would go out on election day to get their vote. I am also against voting on any other day but election day. If it is important to you, you will be there, end of story, in the effort to prevent fraud. The more electronic it gets the more chance there is for fraud to go undetected by the average voter. It may be interesting to try instant run off voting. There should be no expense spared when protecting voters from fraud.

6. Transportation to the polls

In my neighborhood, I vote so far away from home it would take me about twenty minutes to walk there. The public transportation in Detroit is abysmal and makes it impossible for many of the neediest people here to vote. It should not be left up to churches and other groups because I suspect some of them are bought to bring groups to vote for certain people. People who live outside of a short walking distance (I would say about 8 blocks) from a polling place should be provided with government door to door transportation that day.

7. The press

They were AWFUL during the mayoral race. A full page announcing the write-in ( a red flag) and a small article after the debate calling most of the other candidates crazy? A PhD, three had masters, two had law degrees, two state reps and the man who cried – he was one of the kindest men I’ve ever met. I suspect that an analysis of all major AND alternative newspapers will show a wildly unequal distribution of press. Again, a regulated race without ads, with gov’t paid for debate time, time to present your ideas, would be great.

The media was only there for the write-in candidate and once in awhile for the sheriff. As I understand, for the televised debate Tom Barrow got all the candidates on – the station had originally only wanted the top few. Then when the day came they split us up, putting most of the “trailing” candidates in a room with no TV while the top candidates went on first. Quickly we dispersed into the overflow audience to watch. Weren’t they surprised to see us, all made up and fixed up! The questions by the crooked mainstream media were meant to make the write-in look good and the rest of us look bad. When Tom mentioned ALEC and walked right up them and said the press were the problem, I busted out laughing. After that the editor of the Detroit News referred to me as “the crazy white lady”. I realized that they may have been purposefully making bad press for Tom Barrow for the exact reason that he knows the truth about the core of Detroit’s problems – the election system.

8. Getting on the ballot

It should be NOT allowed to pay people to get signatures to put you on the ballot nor pay people to sign. If you can’t find volunteers or do it yourself, too bad so sad. I did it with help from my friends. It was a great opportunity to speak with people and campaign. I suspect there is something going on with shelters here and paying homeless people for the signatures, but I had no time or energy to investigate. The amount of signatures required actually went up while I was gathering the signatures. I think it is too many. The old amount was fair.

9. Endorsements/slates should be illegal

They are riddled with corruption. A union, church or other organization has only a responsibility to democracy and presenting all choices to their groups in a thoughtful/fair manner. Slates etc. are just as corrupt. None of it. Stand on your own, speak your mind and if people like you, fine. At forums I suspect people pay to speak first or to be invited. This is another form of corruption from the community side. Everyone or no one.

10. Unrecountable precincts

If the numbers on the poll book DO NOT match the number of votes on the tape from the voting machine, a ballot box is NOT recountable. That is counter to common sense.

11. Recount cost

Purposefully the State passed a bill making the recount impossibly expensive for large cities and impossible for trailing candidates who believe there was fraud. As if we don’t know that is aimed at Detroit. The elections have been corrupt for possibly my whole life. They want to maintain that and so are making it out of regular folks’ price range. Unjust, uncalled for. As well, if they checked for fraud first, they would not have to recount anything. Not in Detroit at least.

12. Gerrymandering

I live in the 14th district for congressional representative. It has been gerrymandered. Look at it on the map. It is shaped like Maryland.

13. No transfer stations for ballots

There should be no transfer stations. No place in Detroit is more than 20 minutes from downtown. Transfer stations here are more than likely used for fraud.

14. Door knocking

It was unfortunate when people lived in gated/enclosed areas and apartments. It was not possible to knock on their doors.
_____________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Banks and Billionaires

Association of Banks and Billionaires*
United States of America 

November 2013 

Dear Detroit Pensioner, 

We are writing to thank you for your past and future contributions to our income. Our yachts are not big enough, we do not have enough land, homes or companies. We always want more and we are never happy. We got the idea to reach out to you, pensioners, since the emerging markets are slowing down. You know we have planned to give you 16% of your pension. So, if you were getting $2,000 a month, that would become $320/month. We are sure you can find a way to make ends meet. If you can’t, it sure will be a load off healthcare costs. We are hoping to dump you into that new government insurance because putting 30,000 people in it at once will help make crash like we have been working at. If you can’t pay for your healthcare, you shouldn’t have any. We will take whatever is left from your pension funds after we pay our banks, billionaires, bondholders and bond insurers and put it into high risk, high banker fee hedge funds. They are super exciting to us because we make money hand over fist in the fees and it is so risky for you. We love the excitement and the profit. Maybe we will even hedge the bet that you will lose money! It’s a crazier bet than the casino. But some of you give us your money through our casinos, so certainly you understand our view. We practiced in other states first with their pensions. Your pension was just so well funded, how could we resist? We had been chewing away at the teachers’ pensions for some years. But this is now wonderful! 
 
We have made sure that the laws for banks that were made after the Great Depression have all been taken back. Freedom for banks to make great fortunes again, the way it should be! We have so much money we have bought most of the press, courts and politicians. It has taken us a very long time to plan this, but we are proud it is going so well! We have set Detroit up to slide into bankruptcy. You see, we are not fond of poor and middle class people. Our plan is to get all of you out of Detroit. We had arranged for white flight to the suburbs because there was money to be made in developing all that useless farmland. We built thousands of cheap houses, more than would ever be filled. And now we want Detroit back, and we want all you to take those cheap houses built on toxic landfills. We knew crippling good schools would drive the middle class out of neighborhoods. We also think schools should be for profit – our profit! Then we layered on the mortgages we knew no one there could pay back. We even bet that people would loose their homes in our hedge funds. Isn’t it supreme that we set you up to lose your houses and then bet on it and made money both ways??!! 

Some of you are still hanging on. Don’t worry, we have a plan for you. We have made sure the streetlights in certain areas are not fixed, that buses don’t come, police and EMS don’t respond. We have slowed everything like molasses. We think that leaving you all in the dark without any safety measures will drive the last of you out! Arson helps us clear out the old houses so we have slowed the investigation department up. We have a redevelopment team and plans. We want the land for gated communities and condos. We have been each amassing large plots. We even started our own demolition company and the federal government gives us the money! We make sure insurance is the highest in the country so you can barely get by. Its not based on any real numbers. Are you kidding? We do it because we can. This country is great. We are living the American dream! Who can imagine a water department owned by a city? Its crazy it has gone on so long. Once we slowly shift the water over to us, first as a regional authority, then a private-public partnership, finally to private - wow will we be able to raise the water rates. We have everyone in the suburbs fooled that it is Detroit that mismanages the water. Lol! Most of the people running it are from the suburbs, and it is mismanaged by our people on purpose. We want to use the water to frack with and to sell. We have been fighting amongst ourselves as to who gets this gem. Its too good!! Wealth beyond even our imaginations! 

We control the press. They are our mouthpiece. And you believe it!!! Its is awesome for us. We are pretending like you are bankrupt and that you have to pick between pensions, art, assets and services. It’s a brilliant marketing scheme. We invested well in our marketing plan. We know Detroit isn’t really bankrupt but we really need that pension money and your assets. One of our group just loves art, so you can imagine what a score some of those works would be. Oh, the bragging rights. He already cleared out a corner of his third home for the ones he has picked. He had them evaluated so he knew how much he could undervalue them. He has it set up that if one part of Detroit goes into default, he gets the pieces he wants. And the negative news reporting about Detroit has finally paid off. It set the right backdrop for the bankruptcy. When people oppose us, we set them up to look crazy. We torture them in the press so they learn a lesson. We rule this city and no one can cross us. Money is everything to us. What other way is there? 

We control your elections. We have for decades. No one has really won. Are you kidding? We cheat every time – why do you think it is mostly candidates with suburban contributors connected to us who win? What do you think we are spending those contributions on? The ads and the postcards are just smoke and mirrors to hide our now finely tuned cheating machine. Your mayors are simply figureheads who serve at our request. We have been working for years to make sure all minorities lose faith in their own leaders. Our assistants are are from all backgrounds, activists, union leaders, and even civil rights groups. Most people can be bought and we certainly have the funding. We see it more of an investment to preserve our system. We use think-tanks and business associations to mask our real alliance. We coordinated this emergency management/bankruptcy/election package. We have our futures to consider. We have children who need to follow our legacy – we know their grades aren’t that good, but under legacy the universities let them in and keep your children out, no matter if our kids are not achievers. 

We have to upgrade our jets, and you can imagine the counseling bills for the whole family – wealth is very stressful! And our wives – you know they are always joining clubs, running foundations for the tax breaks and shopping for clothes and jewelry. Not to mention our performance enhancing drugs at the request of our wives/mistresses and our plastic surgery! Our plan is to have nothing in public hands anymore. No group of people in a city should own an island park or art. Its absurd. There is money to be made. And city workers?! Everything must be privatized so money can be made off tax money. The idea of putting tax money directly in the pockets of city workers is a travesty. We want money out of circulation. While we realize this may hurt the population in terms of numbers, we are in the midst of the fabulous opportunity to make this country the way it should be for the rich. We are finally free to do as we please. 

We want all the federal funding that comes to Detroit to come to us. So far, that is working. The federal government is so happy to work with us on the people mover #2 and our high cost, government funded housing plan downtown! Seniors shouldn’t be in those apartments – brings the property value down. We know there are few buses in the neighborhoods. We don’t want lowly people to be able to get around the city or to jobs, and certainly not to get to our downtown. We stopped the bus to the island park long ago - we have boats docked there and golf games to be played and condos to be built. We can’t even comprehend the idea of a public park. Exclusive is the name of the game. Most of us went to the same exclusive university just an hour outside the city, same business and law school. They taught us how to form alliances and how to use our knowledge to make money. Ethics, diversity – a waste of money that we are happy we never had to learn. The universities have now joined our alliance and are working toward a more free market philosophy for their students – no more of that liberal, critical thinking and ethics! 

 Soon there will be a new Detroit, rid of the pesky middle and lower class, and any liberals. The new Detroit will be one of the wealthiest cities on earth. And just think, you will know you were a part of that by handing over your pension fund, you had helped us build it. Too bad you aren’t rich enough to stay and enjoy it. If you have a pet, you may want to consider letting it go. If you are supporting grandchildren, you may want to suggest their lazy parents get a job (but we make sure there are none so they can’t. lol!), if you have a sick spouse who needs medication, you may want to say your good-byes. Just some things to think about as you plan ahead. I am off to our annual golf outing in the Cayman Islands hoping the caviar is better than last year!

Warmest Regards, 
Ima Fat Greedypig 
President Banks and Billionaires Association _______________________________________________________________________________ 
*There is no such thing as this association. This is just me in a creative writing kind of mood expressing my opinion.This is reprinted from another blog of mine.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Detroit Bankruptcy: A Judge and a Pastor

Just came back from a little looksy at the bankruptcy trial. If you haven't gone, you should. Detroiters are paying this bizarre circus of wealthy lawyers from Jones Day to spin yarns and tell tall tales. Why not go watch the storytelling festival? The lawyers for the union and retirees (Detroit's real side) are on point. Too bad its all a sham. They would probably have won by now if they even had a chance from the get-go.


The legion, army, gaggle, cacophony, herd of rich white lawyers plus Orr is an astounding sight. All of them ridiculously unhappy in their ill gotten gains, their faces showing a life down the wrong road. I imagine a group in an unfriendly trailer park would be their equivalent.

I was surprised at how sheepish Orr is acting. Perhaps he sees his future. People like the ones spearheading this sham bankruptcy will throw anyone to the dogs. He knows he might be next at any time. When he started, he acted like he was king of the world, all talking junk about the patrons of the city (who are a big part of why we are being bankrupted - scrooges of the city would be a better description) and his threats. Now he sits sheepishly off to the side. Scared to face us Mr. Orr? Turn your chair around. Detroiters like to look people in the eye.

Sitting in the back of the courtroom is a wonderful group of souls who are the guardians of Detroit. At most protests and bankruptcy hearings you will see many of them, faithfully in pursuit of the truth. It is unfortunate that they are not the group governing. Everything seems to be flipside upside down in Detroit. They are incredible researchers, organizers and caregivers for humanity. When I am with them, I am proud to live here, proud to live in this time and place. I feel pity for all the expensive suits and shoes on the other side. They and their overlords want to just make money to go back to their gated communities and do something. What do people do in gated communities? That's like a different country from Detroit. Detroit love is something they will never know.

So today at the bankruptcy hearing, your blood can just boil sitting a few feet from these robber barons, these representatives of scardy-cat bankers and superrich who would never show their faces in this whole scandal. We realize they are just their paid servants. Their clothes are entitlements - a gift Detroiters didn't want to give, welfare we did not vote for, but somehow they are getting their government assistance checks from us. Only without our consent, Jones Day pays their lawyers $800 per hour instead of using our tax money to give jobs, food and heat to Detroit families who live in desperate poverty.

Suddenly from the pews across the way, in the midst of the judge talking, I hear the awesome Pastor Bill Wylie Kellerman bellow out that Jones Day doesn't represent Detroit. They represent Bank of America. Indeed, as the pastor was wrestled out of the courtroom, the judge ran off to his chambers. You can say that was procedure or you can see there is some deep symbolism of a judge fleeing a pastor speaking the truth about Detroit.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Vote August 6 Jean Vortkamp for mayor!

Just a reminder that election day is Tuesday, August 6, 2013. The polls are open from 7 a.m to 8 p.m.

To find your voting spot, visit https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/mivote/

This is a low budget campaign. Telling friends & family, sharing this blog or my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jean-Vortkamp/557606727590273 are the best ways you can help me get elected. Thank you for your support.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Garbage pick up late? SnydOrr's Trashy Garbage Plan

Have you noticed your garbage getting picked up late over the last few weeks? Maybe your garbage pick up, like in my neighborhood, has been in the past something you could set your clock to. It was one of the very few things I could point to in this city and say, yes - my tax money is working. Our garbage man even waves to us. Now, our garbage trucks are up for sale.

Oddly & suspiciously the garbage has been being picked up late for the past few weeks all over this city at the same time the move for privatization of garbage pick up is being floated in the now stinky Detroit air. Perhaps it is purposeful to make people THINK we have bad service so they will support this trashy SnydOrr plan? I am 100% SURE there is more to this story. Please clue me in to what you know - about recycling as well. Detroit has no secrets (which is just another reason to love it).

Here is an article that explains it in depth and another. The RFP is even out there.
 
For this one, the company may even have a good chance of being from out of state.  This plan is especially hideous in its organization, having four sections for a possible four different companies to pick up trash. That is a steaming load of compost waiting to happen! The plan says they are not required to hire city workers. More filthy trash from SnydOrr. Orr even says they aren't saving that much money.

Privatization in general encourages bad service and corruption. Giving out huge contracts opens the door for unparalleled corruption - oftentimes elected officials/appointees are paid off to get the contract. Money is taken from the hands of the unionized workers and put into the hands of the contractor company owners and non-union workers who are usually paid less and get less benefits. Citizens get worse service because of the layers and lack of accountability. Every time privatization is proposed, just say no.