Tag Archives: Michigan

‘I Took the Helmet Off and Laid the Batons Down’: Michigan Sheriff and Police Didn’t Disperse Their Town’s Protest—They Joined It

“Do I think this has solved the issue between police and unarmed black, human beings? No. But I do believe that this type of leadership is a positive step in the right direction and gives me hope for black men and women around the world and for all of humanity.”

By Common Dreams. Published 5-31-2020

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson joins protesters as they walk for George Floyd. Screenshot: YouTube

Amid a national wave of uprisings against police brutality in response to last week’s brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota—but in contrast to a wave of aggressive and violent responses from law enforcement to those demonstrations—a scene in Flint, Michigan that played out Saturday evening offered an alternative to aggressive police tactics as a local sheriff and his fellow officers laid down their riot gear and joined with those members of the community who came out to voice their outrage and sorrow.

When Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson, his deputies, and local officers were confronted by community members who marched on the Flint Township police station, witnesses described how Swanson told the crowd he wanted their pleas to be heard and that the police wanted to be in service of their demands and the protest itself. Continue reading

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‘About Damn Time’: Detroit Pauses Water Shutoffs Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

“It shouldn’t take a crisis like the spread of coronavirus to restore people’s right to drinking water.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-9-2020

A demonstrator holds a sign during a Detroit water shutoffs rally in 2014. (Photo: uusc4all/flickr/cc)

Progressives heaped praise on grassroots activists in Detroit on Monday after the Michigan city announced, amid the spread of the coronavirus, it was temporarily restoring water services to thousands of residents who’ve had their water shut off.

“About damn time,” said Abdul El-Sayed, a former head of the city’s health department and 2018 gubernatorial candidate. “It’s been six years since the U.N. declared Detroit water shutoffs an insult to human rights.” Continue reading

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After Admitting “It’s Always Been Republicans Suppressing Votes,” Trump Advisor Says Party Will Get Even More Aggressive in 2020

“It’s clear there’s no law Donald Trump and his right-wing machine won’t bend, break, or ignore to try to win the presidency.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-21-2019

Justin Clark. Photo: Political Dig

Reporting on Friday shows a top advisor for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign caught on tape in November bragging  of the Republican Party’s history of voter suppression—and promising to go on the offensive in 2020.

The revelation came from the Associated Press in a report Friday on comments by Trump re-election advisor Justin Clark at an event in Madison, Wisconsin. Continue reading

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‘Despicable’: Internal Emails Reveal Water Contractor Knew About Lead Risks in Flint Months Before City’s Public Confirmation

“I think anyone has to ask themselves how the story in Flint would be different five years later now if Veolia had made those private concerns public.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-10-2019

Photo: George Thomas/flickr/CC

Internal emails reported on Tuesday by The Guardian and MLive reveal that executives at a water company contracted to assess the water system in Flint, Michigan privately expressed concerns that residents “might be at risk of being poisoned by lead in their tap water months before the city publicly admitted the problem in 2015.”

The emails, obtained by the watchdog group Corporate Accountability, came to light through a lawsuit filed in the Genesee County Circuit Court by the Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat who took office in January. The state’s suit accused the company, Veolia, of “professional negligence, negligence, public nuisance, unjust enrichment, and fraud.” Last month a state judge threw out all but the unjust enrichment claim. Continue reading

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To Stave Off ‘Climate Disaster,’ 29 States and Major Cities Sue Trump EPA Over ‘Dirty Power’ Rule

“President Trump’s attempt to gut our nation’s Clean Power Plan is foolish. It’s also unlawful.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-13-2019

Xcel Energy’s Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, near Becker, Minnesota. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia/CC

A coalition of 22 states and seven major American cities sued the Trump administration Tuesday over its repeal of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and a replacement that critics have dubbed the “Dirty Power” rule.

The lawsuit (pdf), filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, targets the administration’s so-called Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which eases restrictions on coal plants imposed by the Obama plan, the first national policy to limit power plants’ carbon emissions. Continue reading

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After Supreme Court decision, gerrymandering fix is up to voters

The Supreme Court is empty days before the justices vote to on the U.S. gerrymandering case. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

 

John Rennie Short, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court has ruled that partisan gerrymandering is not unconstitutional.

The majority ruled that gerrymandering is outside the scope and power of the federal courts to adjudicate. The issue is a political one, according to the court, not a legal one.

“Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority decision. “But the fact that such gerrymandering is incompatible with democratic principles does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary.” Continue reading

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Citing ‘Conscience Shocking’ Conduct, Federal Judge Reinstates Former Gov. Snyder in Flint Water Lawsuit

City residents, said the judge, “could have taken protective measures, if only they had known what the Governor knew. Instead, the Governor misled them into assuming that nothing was wrong.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-1-2019

Screenshot: Fox 17

A federal judge on Monday—who agreed that allegations of “conscience shocking” conduct claimed by plaintiffs were “plausible”—reinstated Michigan’s former Governor Rick Snyder as a defendant in a class action lawsuit by the victims of the water crisis in the city of Flint that first captured national headlines in 2014.

After earlier removing Snyder from the suit, brought by city residents harmed by the poisoning of the municipal water supply, U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy reversed that decision as she noted the plaintiffs had shown the allegations against Snyder and his fellow co-defendants “plausibly describe ‘conscience shocking’ conduct” as the people of Flint were stripped of 14th Amendment protections from bodily harm or injury. Continue reading

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In ‘Craven’ Bait-and-Switch Attack on Workers, Michigan GOP Guts Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Proposals

“Imagine hating working-class people this much.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-5-2018

Michigan voters—joined by a “lame duck”—gathered to watch in Michigan’s capital as Republican lawmakers gutted a minimum wage hike and paid sick leave protections. (Photo: @LindsayVanHulle/Twitter)

Three months after ensuring that Michigan voters would not have a say in proposals to hike the state’s minimum wage and provide sick leave to workers, the state’s Republican-led Senate pushed through major changes to the initiatives on Tuesday, effectively gutting legislation that hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents had demanded.

Under the original minimum wage proposal, the state’s minimum wage would have gone up from $9.25 to $12 per hour by 2022—but workers will have to wait until 2030 under the GOP’s version of the bill. Tipped workers’s wages will go up to only $4 from $3.52 per hour by that time under the Republican proposal. Continue reading

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Election Day Was Filled With Frustrations, Claims of Mischief and Glimmers of Hope

Some states had ballot measures aimed at making it easier to vote or designed to take some of the politics out of how electoral districts are drawn up. In nearly every case, Americans seized the opportunity — with what the vote totals suggest was enthusiasm.

By Jessica Huseman. Published 11-9-2018 by ProPublica

Photo: Tom Arthur [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Election Day in America brought its familiar mix of misery and allegations of mischief: Aging voting machines crashed; rain-soaked citizens stood in endless lines; laws that many regarded as attempts to suppress turnout among people of color led to both confusion at the polls and angry calls for recounts and investigations.

 

The root causes have been at play for years. The neglect of America’s elections infrastructure, after all, has persisted, and all levels of government are responsible. And since the Supreme Court in 2013 voided a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, local governments have been emboldened in crafting hotly debated requirements for people to cast their ballots. Continue reading

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The national prison strike is over. Now is the time prisoners are most in danger

Heather Ann Thompson, University of Michigan

Photo: Pixabay

Over the last few weeks men and women across the United States – and even as far away as Nova Scotia, Canada – have protested to demand humane treatment for the incarcerated.

In 2016, when prisoners engaged in similar hunger strikes, sit-ins, and work stoppages, their actions barely registered with the national media. As someone who regularly writes about the history of prisoner protests and prison conditions today, this lack of interest was striking. Continue reading

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