Wednesday, February 29, 2012

John Conyers defends contraception mandate

John Conyers defends contraception mandate


The video is of the hearing has a bad reflector link but you can read the testimony.  I am working to upgrade Judiciary information access and hope to have streaming soon.

At a House hearing today, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, strongly defended the contraception mandate from the Obama administration that has been under fierce attack from conservative Christians.

Saying that access to contraception helps women’s health, Conyers said the birth control mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services “is not just good law but good science.”

Conyers gave several examples of how access to birth control prevents health problems, saying that: “Over 200,000 cases of ovarian cancer and 100,000 deaths were prevented because of the health benefits of contraception.”

Conyers also said that: “Over 10% of infant deaths could be prevented if pregnancies were planned and if women had better access to family planning.”

The hearing today was held by the House Judiciary Committee and titled: “Executive Overreach: The HHS (Health and Human Services) Mandate Versus Religious Liberty.”

Released in January, the federal mandate drew criticism because it required religiously-affiliated institutions like Catholic hospitals and universities to include contraception coverage for its employees. It gave churches an exemption. The Catholic Church teaches that using contraception is morally wrong.

After the outcry, Obama announced a compromise this month that asks insurance companies, not the institutions themselves, to provide contraception coverage.

Conyers called Obama’s compromise "a Solomonic solution to a difficult problem. It balances competing rights in a respectful manner.”

Some conservatives feel differently, saying the compromise is still an attack on religious freedom.

Last week, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette joined a lawsuit with other states against the Obama administration over the contraception mandate.

Conyers, Clarke, Peters, Scott, Jackson Lee, Waters, Cohen, Johnson, Chu Introduce “Shield Our Streets Act” to Fight Street Crime in Budget-Strapped Communities Across the Country

Conyers, Clarke, Peters, Scott, Jackson Lee, Waters, Cohen, Johnson, Chu Introduce “Shield Our Streets Act” to Fight Street Crime in Budget-Strapped Communities Across the Country

U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.
(WASHINGTON)–Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Representative Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.), Representative Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Representative Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), and Representative Judy Chu (D-Calif.) introduced H.R. 4098, the “Shield Our Streets Act.” As a result of state cuts, local governments face dwindling law enforcement budgets and police department resources are being stretched thin in order to make up the difference. The Shield Our Streets Acts creates additional law enforcement funding grants to help police agencies and local governments continue the fight against crime areas across the United States in spite of these budget cuts.



“As Ranking Member, I urge the House Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on this critical legislation,” said Rep. Conyers. “Our local law enforcement agencies and local governments face tighter budgets, so Congress must redouble its efforts to help them protect our communities from crime. Police officers are on the front lines in the fight against crime, and we need to do even more to ensure local law enforcement agencies are sufficiently staffed with officers and sheriffs. Local governments also need the funding and flexibility to pay for crime fighting equipment and programs which they identify as priority needs. For instance in my district, the City of Highland Park needs assistance in paying for street lights that will deter criminal activity on its streets.”



“We need to keep our streets safe to protect our children and our communities and to keep businesses and jobs in our cities,” said Rep. Clarke. “This bill will greatly improve the ability of cities like Detroit to fight and prevent crime, which will strengthen our nation as a whole.”



“Providing federal funding for high need areas to create and protect jobs for police officers is common sense” said Rep. Peters. “I'm strongly backing this legislation to support our brave officers and make meaningful investments in safeguarding our communities.”



“Research has shown that more police on the beat means less crime along with less costs and more vibrate, productive communities,” said Rep Scott. “For anyone interested in seeing the proof of this, I refer them to the recently released book by noted criminologist Frank Zimring, entitled ‘The City that Became Safe,’ which details how increased numbers of police on the beat contributed to New York City reducing crime by 80% over the last 2 decades.”



“This bill provides local communities with the monetary resources that they need to keep our streets safe,” said Rep. Jackson Lee. “The Shield Police hiring program will enable local governments to hire, train and retain additional police officers to combat crime. It gives me a great sense of pleasure and accomplishment to know that taxpayers’ dollars are being used for the important task of making sure our communities have the resources and manpower needed to keep our neighborhoods safe. I will continue to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that urban areas, such as Houston, get the necessary funds needed to secure our communities”



“Due to California’s budgetary constraints, the ‘Shield Our Streets Act’ will go a long way towards ensuring that Los Angeles has additional federal resources to hire the law enforcement professionals we need to keep our streets safe,” said Rep. Waters.


“More cops on the beat means less crime on the street,” said Rep. Cohen. “Public safety helps ensure our children and communities can grow and prosper in a productive way that will increase living standards in our neighborhoods. Our police officers risk their lives to protect our families and our neighborhoods. The Shield Our Streets Act would provide Memphis and other communities across the country struggling with crime the chance to hire more police officers and give them the necessary tools to combat crime and ensure public safety.”


“During another difficult budget year at home, I want to ensure public safety officials in the district have the resources they need to protect citizens,” said Rep. Johnson. “I'm proud to stand with law enforcement officers who are on the front lines keeping our community safe.”


“Many of our local law enforcement agencies are strapped for cash because budget constraints have made it difficult to hire and retain police officers” said Rep. Chu. “As a result, they are struggling to keep our communities well-protected. This bill addresses that issue by providing access to critical funds that will not only help our local police departments hire and retain more officers, but also invest in public safety programs. We must ensure that law enforcement have all the tools necessary to stop crime and violence and keep our streets safe. Shield our Streets is a step in the right direction for meeting that goal.”



The bill creates two new types of law enforcement funding grants:



· Shield Police Hiring Grants, a new category of grants to be implemented by the Attorney General, would provide additional funding to law enforcement agencies that operate in Elevated Need Localities. An “Elevated Need Locality” is a county (or unit of local government which is not part of a county) which (1) has a crime rate above the national average, and (2) has had budget reductions during the most recent 5-year period. These law enforcement agencies could apply to the Attorney General to receive funds to hire law enforcement officers, or to rehire officers who have been laid off due to budget reductions.



· The Shield Public Safety Enhancement Grants, a new program to be implemented by the Attorney General, provide grants to units of local government that has jurisdiction over all or part of an Elevated Need Locality. Local governments could apply to the Attorney General to receive funds to enhance public safety in a number of ways, such as purchasing public safety equipment, funding public safety programs, making infrastructure improvements for the purpose of enhancing public safety, purchasing and installing street lights to deter crime, funding activities related to crime labs, and funding public defender programs. Non-profit organizations operating in Elevated Need Localities may also apply for grants under this program to fund initiatives designed to reduce crime in these jurisdictions.





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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Committee Passes Chabot, Conyers Bill Encouraging Foreign Countries to Lend Cultural Works to American Museums

Committee Passes Chabot, Conyers Bill Encouraging Foreign Countries to Lend Cultural Works to American Museums

U.S. Reepresentative
John Conyers, Jr.
(WASHINGTON) – Today the House Judiciary Committee passed by unanimous voice vote, H.R. 4086, “Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act.” The bill immunizes foreign states from lawsuits that seek damages for artwork that is already immune from seizure pursuant to a Presidential determination when the work is in the U.S. for temporary exhibition. H.R. 4086 makes Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA) consistent with the aims of the Immunity From Seizure Act (IFSA).

Congress passed IFSA in 1965 during the height of the Cold War to encourage the Soviet Union to lend its artwork and other cultural property to American museums and educational institutions for the cultural and educational benefit of the American people without fear that it would be seized. H.R. 4086 is necessary in the wake of the decision in Malewicz v. City of Amsterdam, in which U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia broadened the scope of the FSIA expropriation exception to the point where it undermined exchange between American historical and cultural institutions and their foreign counterparts.

Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich), an original co-sponsor of the bill, made the following statement upon the bill’s passage:

“This bill will make it easier for American museums and other cultural institutions to arrange exhibits of foreign cultural property to the cultural and educational benefit of the American people,” said Conyers. “According to a letter urging my support for this bill that I received from Graham W.J. Beal, Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, both the Russian and Czech governments are currently refusing to lend works of art to American museums in the wake of this court decision.

“H.R. 4086 resolves the inconsistency between the IFSA and the FSIA created by the Malewicz decision by ensuring that any work that the President has immunized from seizure pursuant to IFSA will also immunize the foreign government owner of that work from a suit for damages under FSIA.”

“We recognized then, and continue to recognize now, that as a general matter, the benefits of the cultural exchange fostered by temporary exhibits or displays of artwork outweigh the provision of a U.S. forum for disputes about the ownership of cultural property that is held by a foreign government.

“We as a people and a Nation benefit from the cultural exchanges fostered by laws such as H.R. 4086. Cultural exchanges create understanding of and appreciation for foreign cultures, decreases xenophobia and prejudice, and perhaps even creates some diplomatic benefit in fostering mutual respect between our Nation and others.”

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Poor who owe child support could lose federal benefits

For every dollar collected by the state on behalf of children, there is a 4 to 1 ratio on Title IV-D.  This spells our to this:

The feds give the States $4.00 for every dollar collected in child support.  This includes the interest collected on arrearages.  The children do not ever see the other $3.00.

Poverty is a crime and the United States still has debtors prisons.  These individuals, mostly men fall into the category of "non-violent offenders", who we prefer to spend money keeping them incarcerated than being with their children.

Poor who owe child support could lose federal benefits


Thousands of poor and disabled men stand to lose their only income next year because of a change in government policy that will allow states to seize every dollar of federal benefits from people who owe back child support.

Previously, states could capture only 65 percent of benefits from people who opted to be paid by paper check. Advocates estimate that 275,000 men could be left destitute as a result of the change.The concern is an unintended consequence of the Treasury Department’s decision to pay all benefits electronically, including Social Security, disability and veterans’ benefits, starting next year.

A separate Treasury Department rule, in place since May in a preliminary form, guarantees states the power to freeze the bank accounts of people who collect federal benefits and owe child support.

By allowing seizure of the remaining 35 percent of benefits, the rules could cause thousands of poor men to lose their only income.

“It’s kind of Orwellian, what’s being set up here for a segment of the population,” said Johnson Tyler, a lawyer who represents poor and disabled people collecting federal benefits. “It’s going to be a nightmare in about a year unless something changes.”

In many cases, the bills are decades old and the children long grown. Much of the money owed is interest and fees that add up when men are unable to pay because they are disabled, institutionalized or imprisoned.

Most of the money will go to governments, not to the children of the men with child support debts, independent analyses show. States are allowed to keep child support money as repayment for welfare previously provided for those children.

In some instances, the grown children are supporting their fathers.

The rule change illustrates how a politically desirable goal such as cracking down on so-called deadbeat dads can have complicated, even counterproductive, effects.

“The rule doesn’t look at the fact that the money is mostly interest, the money is going to the state, the kids are usually adults, and it’s leaving the payer with nothing,” said Ashlee Highland, a legal aid lawyer who works with the poor in Chicago.

Highland said her office has clients in eviction, in foreclosure and unable to pay their bills because of states’ aggressive efforts to collect back child support.

Marcial Herrera, 44, has had his bank account frozen repeatedly since 2009, blocking his access to $800 a month in government benefits. Unable to work because of a severe back injury he suffered in 2000, Herrera fell behind on child support. He owes more than $7,000 — not to his 22-year-old son, but to the state of New York, because his son received welfare years earlier.

Herrera sought help in court and had his son speak on his behalf, but the judge could not erase the thousands he owed.

“I’m just waiting for them to lock me up,” he said. “I don’t see no other way of me repaying that debt.”

A legal aid lawyer suggested that Herrera collect his benefits by paper check. It costs him $15 to cash the check each month, but at least he can be sure that he will have money to pay his bills.States have had the ability to freeze accounts for years. That’s why people like Herrera rely on paper checks to safeguard part of their income.

Starting in March 2013, that option will disappear. The Treasury Department will deposit federal benefits directly into bank accounts or load them onto prepaid debit cards. Either way, state child support agencies will be able to seize all of it.Electronic payments are expected to save the government $1 billion over the next 10 years, the Treasury Department said. It costs the government about $1 to mail a check, compared with about 10 cents for an electronic transfer.

The Treasury Department understands that forcing people into direct deposit could deprive them of their income, say officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the rule-writing process.

States can garnish only 65 percent of benefits before the federal government sends them out. But the limit does not apply once the money is in an account and states ask banks to freeze it, according to a Treasury Department memo obtained by the Associated Press.

A Treasury spokesman declined to discuss the policy. The officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said they think the policy is legally unavoidable. They described a dilemma: Restrain states trying to collect child-support debts or risk depriving thousands of people of their only income.

Treasury’s legal justification assumes that receiving a paper check is still an option, said Tyler, the Brooklyn lawyer.

Letting state agencies seize the money contradicts the public stance of the Department of Health and Human Services, the federal agency in charge of child support collections. The department does not want states to collect child support so aggressively that poor people lose their only income, spokesman Ken Wolfe said.

“Child-support enforcement — getting that money and passing it on to parents and children — is a measure to fight poverty, and it doesn’t make sense to accomplish that by impoverishing somebody else,” he said.

Wolfe said HHS is developing guidelines for states to “make sure we’re not putting someone into deep poverty as a result of an automatic collection.” He declined to provide details of those plans.

Hamtramck, Michigan Voting Precinct Map of 2012

Hamtramck, Michigan Voting Precinct Map of 2012

Hamtramck, Michigan Precinct Map 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Take The Baby And Run - Baby LK Report For February 26th 2012

Baby LK recaps the week in news for the child protection industry.

U.S. Judiciary Testimony on the Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act 2012

The Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act would impose a moratorium on all significant regulatory action until the national unemployment rate drops to 6.0 percent.


Written Testimony of Robert Weissman President, Public Citizen before the The Subcommittee on Courts, Comme...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Feds seize former Pontiac school official's Jaguar, cash in probe

Feds seize former Pontiac school official's Jaguar, cash in probe


Detroit— The FBI has seized a 2002 Jaguar belonging to a former Pontiac School District official and more than $34,000 amid an ongoing probe of the cash-strapped district's finances, The Detroit News has learned.

The Jaguar XK8 belongs to Jumanne Sledge, a former Pontiac associate superintendent who resigned in August amid allegations of improper use of school district and federal money. He later was hired as deputy superintendent by Inkster Public Schools.

The seizures shed light on an FBI investigation that coincides with a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging financial wrongdoing inside the troubled district. Former interim superintendent Jonathan Brown sued the district this month in Oakland County, alleging he was fired in November after uncovering fraud and misuse of district funds.

"What the FBI is going after is an apparently incredible rip-off of taxpayer money," Brown's lawyer Deborah Gordon said in an interview. "It appears that we're talking about a really significant amount of money that has been stolen from the district."

FBI spokesman Simon Shaykhet declined comment on the seizures, which were revealed in warrants unsealed in federal court.

In the whistle-blower suit, Brown alleges he uncovered unauthorized payments to staff, misuse of school district credit cards and says contracts were awarded to vendors without appropriate approvals. He is suing for unspecified damages and to reclaim his job.

The lawsuit does not mention Sledge.

Sledge resigned Aug. 23. He did not respond to an email seeking comment and publicly listed phone numbers for Sledge have been disconnected.

"Although he resigned from the district, his resignation came amidst numerous allegations involving the abuse of his authority and improper use of district and federal dollars," Pontiac schools interim Superintendent Walter Burt said in a prepared statement.

The seizure warrants were executed Jan. 26-27, according to federal court records.

Affidavits that would offer justification for the seizures are sealed in federal court.

On Jan. 26, FBI agents seized $34,619 from a Michigan First Credit Union account. The account holder is not identified in court records.

According to the warrant, U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurie Michelson wrote that she was satisfied probable cause existed to seize all the money found in the checking and savings accounts.

At 6:30 a.m. Jan. 27, agents seized a 2002 Jaguar XK8 belonging to Sledge. A copy of the seizure warrant and a receipt for the car were left at Sledge's home on Augusta Court in Bloomfield Hills.

Sledge paid $260,000 in October 2010 for the home, which overlooks the Wabeek Country Club golf course.

The Jaguar seizure surprised Inkster Board of Education Trustee DeArtriss Richardson.

"It's alarming — very alarming. This is something that Inkster schools will have to look at," she said.

Richardson said she did not know about the FBI probe when Sledge was hired last fall. He had worked in Pontiac since August 2009.

The seizures and whistle-blower suit come at a time when the Pontiac School District, which has roughly 5,600 students, is coping with a multimillion-dollar deficit. The district has submitted a deficit elimination plan that's expected to wipe out $24.5 million in red ink by 2014.

The Pontiac Board of Education approved the plan, which includes $26 million in cuts, in December.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

11-year-old girl missing in Detroit

Is it just me or does anyone else see something terribly wrong here?  She ran away from foster care to be with her mother.  She wants to be with her mother.  I think someone should file a request for investigation to the Michigan Bureau of Children and Adult Licensing to look into why Lutheran Social Services did not make reasonable efforts to keep mother and daughter together.

I want everyone to close their eyes and imagine the moment when the police raid the home to return her, screaming and crying, to foster care, a tax payer entitlement program.  They will probably drug her up on psych meds so she will be too doped up to run again, creating more reasons to keep her in care.

11-year-old girl missing in Detroit


Tavia Bentley
Tavia Bentley
Detroit police are looking for Tavia Bentley, an 11-year-old who police believe ran away from her foster home early today in an attempt to be reunited with her mother.
Bentley had been in the home for about two weeks, said Audrey Burton, director of Lutheran Social Services, and police said she left the home, near Kelly Road and Moross in northeast Detroit, at about 4:15 a.m. Her mother’s home is in northwest Detroit, and Burton said the girl’s biological parents have been notified.
Bentley was last seen in all white clothing and black-and-white boots. She is 4-foot-9 and weighs about 70 pounds. She has a medium brown complexion and has brown eyes and hair. 
Anyone with information can call Detroit Police at 313-596-5900.

Michigan Emergency Manager Law is Unconstitutional


Michigan Emergency Manager Law is Unconstitutional

by Congressman John Conyers

This past Tuesday, I hosted a forum in Highland Park, Michigan regarding the legal implications of Michigan’s Emergency Manager’s Law. At the forum, I issued a House Judiciary Democratic Staff Report finding that the law was unconstitutional, that the Emergency Managers were not working and had engaged in mismanagement and abuse. The report also included a series of recommendations on how to address both the law's legal issues and the underlying financial causes. A copy of that report is here:
Democracy For Sale: Subverting Voting Rights, Collective Bargaining and Accountability Under Michigan's Eme...

A copy of my statement is here: Statement of Rep. John Conyers, Jr. Judiciary Forum on Legal Implications of Michigan Emergency Manager Law...

At the forum, the Nation’s leading expert on constitutional and bankruptcy issues, Professor Kenneth Klee, stated unequivocally that “as currently drafted, the [Michigan EM Law] is violative of the Contracts Clause … No prior legislature has had the audacity to legislate the unilateral termination, rejection, or modification of a collective bargaining agreement.” His testimony is here. We also heard from other leading experts on Voting Rights, Federal and State Constitutional and other legal issues who raised troubling questions about the law, as well as from the Emergency Manager from Benton Harbor. All of their testimony is here.

Our Nation was built upon the fundamental building blocks of voting rights and guarantees of contract and collective bargaining. Unfortunately, the State of Michigan has chosen to abandon these precious rights in a futile effort to balance our cities’ books. These efforts have not worked, and before we go any further, it is incumbent that we all to work together to craft a more sensible and constitutional solution.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Make Them Hear Us Detroit Women's Conference

Detroit Women's Convention, "Make Then Hear Us" sponsored by Detroit City Council Woman JoAnne Watson, March 17, 2012, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Coleman A. Young Municipal building.

Detroit Women's Convention: "Make Them Hear Us" March 17, 2012

George Clinton Asking Fans to Help Him Raise $50,000 for Recording Studio


George Clinton is asking his fans to help him raise $50,000 to preserve his recording studio in Florida. Clinton has had financial problems for years so he wouldn't be asking if he didn't need the help.

The Parliament Funkadelic frontman, 70, is using online fundraising website IndieGoGo to encourage devotees to contributeto the cause and aid the "restoration and preservation of original recordings, as well as urgent repairs and upgrades to the Parliament-Funkadelic family recording studio." So if you can donate, please do. You'll be preserving music history if you do.

Clinton is offering signed CDs, T-shirts and other memorabilia in exchange for donations, so donating will earn you more than good deed points.

Rewards increase depending on how much you donate. If you can donate $5,000, a pair of concert passes for all Parliament-Funkadelic shows for a year will be offered. If you can donate $10,000, you will get yourself a chance to collaborate with Clinton in the studio.

The online fund drive runs through April 16. It has raised $3,300 so far. So if you have the means, please donate.

Are you able to donate and to help George Clinton preserve his studio? More info at IndieGoGo

George Clinton Asking Fans to Help Him Raise $50,000 for Recording Studio - He has had financial problems for years

Obama adminstration rips 46 thousand parents from children

Obama adminstration rips 46 thousand parents from children
Destroying families is 'collateral damage' of immigration policy

In just the first six months of 2011, the U.S. government deported over 46,000 moms and dads, in most cases separating them from their young U.S. citizen children. These alarming numbers come from a recent report obtained by the publisher of Colorlines.com, the Applied Research Center. The report does not include the number of citizen children of these 46,000 parents, but the Applied Research Center estimates that there will be around 15,000 U.S. citizen children in foster care because of these deportations over the next five years.



Parents risk losing custody of their children forever, as children in foster care have been ridiculously deemed by the State as “abandoned” by their parents. In reality, they want nothing more than to be together. There are currently 4.5 million U.S. citizen children with at least one undocumented parent living in the U.S., and every day their right to live in a family, with a mom and a dad, are threatened.

On a personal note, despite being here for over 20 years, paying taxes, never being in trouble with the law and pursuing higher education, both my parents still face the risk of deportation even though their sons are now legal residents.

Citizens with parents who are deported or are at risk of deportation are forced to choose between following their parents and leaving the only country they know, or staying in the U.S. and being denied a parent-child relationship forever.

Living with parents: an internationally recognized right for children

The fundamental human right of a child to live with his or her parents has been articulated in the “United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” a document only two nations have refused to sign: the U.S. and Somalia.

Article 9 of the Convention states that nations “shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when ... such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child.” Furthermore, “In all actions concerning children … undertaken by … courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”

In a reminder of the shared struggles between the Black and immigrant communities, the criminal justice system has produced a similar human rights disaster in the Black community as the U.S. continues to imprison low-level property offenders and non-violent drug offenders at a record breaking pace. In 1990, one in four Black children had a parent imprisoned, and by the year 2000 the number of children with a parent in prison rose by over one-third to 1,531,500. The negative effects of these sudden and indefinite separations have been documented extensively over the past decade.

Despite the lip service both Republicans and Democrats pay to the “sanctity of the family” in the presidential election campaigns, neither are advocating for family rights when it comes to undocumented workers or the racist prison-industrial complex. The Obama administration claims that it only wants to deport the criminal element of the undocumented population. However, without calling for the immediate legalization of every hardworking person in the United States whose only crime is crossing an imaginary line, families will continue to be cruelly and needlessly separated.

The current administration does not attempt to hide this fact. The White House has wholeheartedly accepted the deportation of parents as unavoidable “collateral damage” in the prosecution of its immigration policies. The administration’s top advisor on immigration, Cecilia Muñoz, has herself said, “Even if the law is executed with perfection, there will be parents separated from their children.”

Politicians compete in racist, anti-immigrant posturing

In an attempt to score political points with the anti-immigrant sector of the electorate, all the presidential candidates are competing to pose as the toughest “defender of the border.” In reality, they are doing nothing more than engaging in political posturing and using the lives of millions in order to win votes from racists.

In fact, by most accounts so-called “illegal immigration” has slowed to a trickle if not become virtually non-existent since the economic crisis peaked in 2009. Last year, The New York Times interviewed Douglas S. Massey, co-director of the Mexican Migration Project at Princeton, about an extensive, long-term survey in Mexican emigration hubs. (July 6, 2011) Massey said his research showed that “[f]or the first time in 60 years, the net traffic [of undocumented Mexicans] has gone to zero and is probably a little bit negative.” He continued, “No one wants to hear it, but the flow has already stopped.”

This fact is underscored by data suggesting that the few immigrants who do continue to risk their lives crossing the U.S.-Mexico border mainly do so because they are trying to regain the lives they lost in the U.S. after being deported. A mother trying to re-unite with her citizen children, for example, or a father attempting to return to the only world he knows after working decades in the U.S. without papers. According to recent Department of Homeland Security figures, 56 percent of apprehensions at the Mexican border in 2010 involved people who had been caught previously, up from 44 percent in 2005. According to officials, the most prosecuted federal felony is now “illegal re-entry” into the U.S.

Despite having “more boots on the border than ever before,” as Obama bragged in his State of the Union address, and despite the dwindling job opportunities, immigrants will continue to cross the border because they have fundamental social, financial and cultural ties in the United States and not in their countries of birth.

Anti-immigrant policies mean profits for capitalists

The Party for Socialism and Liberation fights for socialism because it is a system where the right to live freely and with your family would replace the right of Wall Street and the big business goons to profit from undocumented workers and the immigration system.

On top of the cheap and “flexible” labor force that immigrants provide the U.S. economy, the “free market” has produced a huge detention and imprisonment industry, turning immigrant and citizen parents alike from human beings into dollar signs.

According to Wall Street analysts, the prison industry has become one of the few “reliable American growth industries” despite and even because of the recession.

According to the report by the Applied Research Center, if rates of parental deportation remain steady, the country will remove about as many parents in just two years as it did in the 10-year period Immigration and Customs Enforcement tracked previously. Each deportation represents a tragedy to those of us who fight for justice, but to Wall Street and the growing network of private prisons, this rapid rise in deportations represents more profits for their shareholders.

The New York Times estimates that deportation costs taxpayers “at least $12,500 per person.” (Oct. 2, 2011) Between October 2008 and July 2011, “Immigration and Customs Enforcement spent $2.25 billion sending back 180,229 people who had been deported before and came back anyway.” Private prison companies like the Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group have made their shareholders and CEOs millions of dollars on the backs of innocent workers, and ultimately the U.S. taxpayer as well.

In the U.S., the right of a child to his or her parents is being systematically violated. The need to radically change the prison and detention system and to pass just immigration reform becomes more pressing every day.

The PSL will bring our presidential campaign to immigrant communities around the country and state unequivocally our support for full rights for all immigrants. Our 10-Point Program calls for abolishing all anti-immigrant laws, an immediate end to the raids and deportations, and a dismantling of the border wall. This year, immigrants and their allies across the country do not have to stand on the sidelines in the 2012 elections or vote for who they think is the “lesser of two evils.” This year, our immigrant brothers and sisters will be able to join our candidates on the streets, where we always are, fighting for the rights of all working people!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

67 % of Detroit Kids Live In High Poverty Because Of System Sucks

Great work, Maura Corrigan!!!  The other 33% of kids live in medium to low poverty areas of Detroit or are they in foster care?

Before people get on their economic and racist soap box and start proselytizing child abuse propaganda, let me get one thing straight.  You created this.

Maura Corrigan and her alter ego,
"The Queen of Child Welfare Fraud"
The period between 2000 and 2008 was a very dark period in Detroit.  It was during this time the groundwork for the state harvesting of children took place, right here in Wayne County.  Child Protective Services had nothing to do with protecting children.  It was all about money.

Child welfare funding is not monitored so people were creating fake reasons to put children in care with fake services.  There was so much fraud, from the administrative realm, in community, educational and social programs that the city began to crumble.  Everyone in Metropolitan Detroit was using the picture of a "poor, abused child" to ask for money.  Lincoln Hall of Justice Judges and Referees. Detroit Police Officers.  Wayne County Commissioners.  Clergy. Educators.  A Mayor and his wife. An Assistant Attorney General who would later on become Governor of Michigan.

The State of Michigan covered it up the billions of dollars of fraud being sucked out of the system of Detroit.

This was the era of fraud.  Everyone was doing it and everyone knew about it. It created jobs and stimulated the economy.  There was banking fraud, campaign fraud, election fraud, federal fraud, tax fraud...foster care and adoption fraud.  The who's who of Detroit had their hand in the cookie jar, from churches to courtrooms, from schools to hospitals, all at the expense of children.

Parents were financially extorted for money to release their child from foster care while they were collecting reimbursements through Medicaid and other Social Security programming to have the kid in foster care in the first place.

Children were being shipped out of state and warehoused in overcrowded cells, not fit for human existence, in an abandoned prison in Texas, courtesy of these political leaders.

Children were being drugged for profit, a Medicaid reimbursed cost.

Children were tortured for the sadistic pleasure called therapy, a Medicaid reimbursed cost.

With the blessing of Michigan Department of Human Services under Marianne Udow and then State Supreme Court Justice Marua Corrigan, everyone covered it up because the institution of poverty was too powerful with too much potential to maximize the revenue of the state to advance their political aspirations.

Maura was once "blue slipped" and thought she was going to sit on SCOTUS.  Udow thought she could make a lateral shift from EDS to state government. They ran public image campaigns.

In honor of the products of the "King Maker" I will be nominating Detroit community leaders and political figures who are System Sucks.

A System Suck is an individual or organization that profits from the malevolent use of children in poverty.

If you know someone you would like to nominate for this award, please submit to me or Legally Kidnapped with your reasons why the award should be given.  I will be personally delivering my awards and encourage you to do so, also.


Report: 67% of Detroit kids live in high-poverty areas"


Detroit— More children live in high-poverty neighborhoods in Detroit than in any of the nation's 50 largest cities, according to a new report.

Roughly 67 percent of Detroit children live in a neighborhood with concentrated poverty, according to the "Data Snapshot on High-Poverty Communities" from Kids Count. That's 10 percentage points more than the next worst city, Cleveland, where 57 percent of children live in high-poverty areas.

Michigan ranked 44th among the states for the number of children living in neighborhoods where 30 percent or more of the population is in poverty, defined as about $22,000 per year or less for a family of four.

Kids Count in Michigan Project Director Jane Zehnder-Merrell said children who live in neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty "struggle more with behavior and emotional problems, they are less likely to graduate and they have reduced potential to be economically successful as adults."

There were 341,000 Michigan children in high-poverty communities in 2010, about 124,000 more than at the start of the decade, or a 57 percent increase.

The report, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, found the number of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods nationwide increased from 9 percent to 11 percent over the past decade. About 8 million children across the country live in areas with a high concentration of poverty.

The number of children living in such neighborhoods increased at a faster rate in Michigan than nationwide. Statewide, Michigan's share of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods climbed from 8 percent in 2000 to 14 percent between 2006 and 2010.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Michigan Ignores The Foster Care Rape Epidemic

Here is an excerpt of Michigan Senate Bill 924, to to expand foster care sex crimes.  I believe this is a response to the letter I sent Attorney General Bill Schuette.

(vi) THE ACTOR IS AN EMPLOYEE, CONTRACTUAL SERVICE PROVIDER, OR

VOLUNTEER OF A CHILD CARE ORGANIZATION, OR A PERSON LICENSED TO

OPERATE A FOSTER FAMILY HOME OR A FOSTER FAMILY GROUP HOME IN WHICH

THAT OTHER PERSON IS A RESIDENT AND THE SEXUAL CONTACT OCCURS

DURING THE PERIOD OF THAT OTHER PERSON'S RESIDENCY. THE CONSENT OF

THE VICTIM IS NOT A DEFENSE TO A PROSECUTION UNDER THIS

SUBPARAGRAPH. AS USED IN THIS SUBDIVISION, "CHILD CARE

ORGANIZATION", "FOSTER FAMILY HOME", AND "FOSTER FAMILY GROUP HOME"

MEAN THOSE TERMS AS DEFINED IN SECTION 1 OF 1973 PA 116, MCL

722.111.

Here is my response posted on Michigan Votes:

Didn't Eric Cantor pull the same faux pas with the STOCK Act?

Here you have a bill that means well but has no clue on execution. For example, where is the reporting mechanism???? Seriously, is anyone even aware of the reporting protocol in child welfare? Allow me to explain.

The foster child or juvenile delinquent can file a complaint to the authority figure in charge of their well being. These complaints are then handled internally and wiped under the rug with heavy doses of psychotropic medication. If a child is lucky, a complaint can actually make it through the community mental health route, but because there is confidentiality in child welfare, the referral would go to BCAL or OCO. Since the Child Welfare Training Institute omits mandatory reporting of Medicaid fraud, the likelihood of a child complaint making it to the Bureau of Children and Adult Licensing is slim to none.

Then you have Office of Children's Ombudsman where a complaint is screened in an initial call. If someone is lucky enough to get past the weed-out screening, there is a secondary level of screening. This is called the "Valid-Not-Open" determination which means there is a violation but the Office will not take it or refer it to law enforcement.

I shall presume there are the naysayers who will challenge me with the guardian ad litum or CASA. Seriously, these entities will only engage with the child as only they see fit. These persons do not advocate for the child to go back home or with relatives. They do not even support contact with family and friends.

Since this concept of children being brutally beaten, raped, murdered, drugged and tortured in foster care has just now come to light, will the state finally keep tally of the incidents? Will the state file public reports? Will the state contractually debar, license revocation or engage in recovery of funds that allowed for these aforementioned transgressions to occur? I will take it one better, will the state report federally? Is the Attorney General to prosecute or represent the transgressors as they do have immunity in child welfare and are contracted state agents. Will the child have access to legal representation to file suit against those liable for their pain and suffering? Did you even know that the Attorney General, Counties Prosecutors, guardians ad litum, and judges are not mandatory reporters? If family members of children Legally Kidnapped do not even have a forum to file grievance when their child is being tortured in foster care, what makes any of you lawmakers think any action will be taken with the passage of this bill in this form.

An original guardian of the child stands chance of being found non-compliant which are grounds for termination of parental rights if they file complaints that their child is being raped, tortured and drugged. The entire system needs to be reformed but it must begin with the philosophy of the state: Poverty is not a crime and children are not usufruct. How about creating a complaint system with mandatory reporting of Medicaid fraud to the Attorney General. This bill will die in committee, but it is a start.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chairman John Conyers,Jr. U.S. Judiciary Report on Michigan's Emergency Manager Law

U.S. Judiciary Chairman
John Conyers, Jr.
This is the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff Report, under the Chairmanship of U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr.,  on the legal implications of Michigan’s Emergency Manager law. The Report represents the first comprehensive legal analysis of the Emergency Managers law since its adoption. Foremost among the Report’s detailed findings is the conclusion, based on expert testimony (including preeminent academic expert Professor Kenneth Klee) and legal precedent that the Emergency Manager law is unconstitutional because it violates the contracts clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Report also identifies other serious legal and management issues The Report also contains several recommendations, including amending the law; collaborative actions by local, state and federal authorities; and increased federal oversight of the law.


Democracy For Sale: Subverting Voting Rights, Collective Bargaining and Accountability Under Michigan's Eme...

Highland Park Public Hearing On Emergency Manager And Alternative Solutions

Public Hearing on EMs, Proposing Policy, and Achieving Results!

Greetings friends, neighbors and activists,

The time for town hall meetings and vent sessions has come and gone!

As yet another undemocratic emergency manager was appointed in Michigan - this time to run the Highland Park Community School District - concerned citizens, parents, educators, faith-based and civic leaders from across our community formed the Financial and Academic Reinvestment Commission to oppose Public Act 4, reject the concept of state-appointed czars (emergency managers), fight against the secretive Educational Achievement Authority (EAA) and, uniquely, propose real policies to reinvest in our struggling cities and school districts.

We recognize that the fiscal problems we face are not solely due to mismanagement. We contend that disinvestment has led to large budget deficits in cities and school districts, particularly in urban areas. We intend to work together at all levels (local, state and federal) to create real policies that will keep our communities strong and our neighborhoods vibrant.

So, if you are ready to move past the speeches, rhetoric and meetings thrown together where the same folks tell you what you already know... if you are ready to share your expertise, your thoughts, your concerns and your ideas... if you are ready to work toward accomplishing our shared goals of creating stronger communities and better educational systems for our children... then you are invited!
Our first public hearing is this Thursday, February 23rd, at 6 p.m. at the Ernest T. Ford Recreation Center located at 10 Pitkin, Highland Park, MI 48203.

This hearing will feature:
- Brief presentations from our five subcommittees: Financial, Academic, Reinvestment, EAA/Charters, and Community/Civic Engagement
- Testimony from leaders currently under the oppression of an EM, from: Pontiac, Flint, Benton Harbor, Ecorse
- Public Comment and Q&A
- Laying the foundation for the real work ahead
Commissioners:
- Bert Johnson, State Senator- District 2
- Rev. D. Alexander Bullock, Greater St. Mattew Baptist Church & Rainbow Michigan
- Stephanie Vaught, Sugar Law Center
- Glenda McDonald, Highland Park educator, parent and activist
- Kenneth Reed, Institute for Public Policy and Educational Affairs
- Victor Bonds, Highland Park NAACP
- Rodney Patrick, Highland Park City Council
- Earl Wheeler, community resident and activist
- Walter Rushing, CPA & M.Ed

Thank you! We hope to see you on Thursday!

- The Financial and Academic Reinvestment Commission

SystemSuckology: Foster Care Fairy Tales

LK posts another Legally Kidnapped Systemsuckology Report.

SystemSuckology: Foster Care Fairy Tales


Earlier today I posted a link to a blog calledFoster-2-Forever. Now before some system suck gets their panties in a bunch, (Oh my God how can I pick on such a sweetie) I gotta say that I do not believe that this person is bad or evil. In fact just the opposite. Although she is certainly on the old Imperialistic Morality Parade, I'm sure she is taking very good care of the kids who come into her home, and I'm sure she really wants to do what is best for the kids. She just doesn't understand what that is.

I also gotta say that I do enjoy reading this particular blog, but not because I see it as having any educational value whatsoever. I read it more for entertainment. Why? Because it is one of the best examples of the Fairy Tale view of foster care and adoption that I have ever seen.

So what do I mean by the Fairy Tale view? Well... Mostly that her writings do not reflect the reality that most people experience, but instead preaches a much happier scenario. If this is her reality then great. In the case where the child really needs to be protected, I wish it could be like that for all of them. I would hope that every kid in the world would have a good home. I would hope that they would all grow up loved and nurtured. I would also hope that if they were in foster care that there really were no other options such as a grandparent or loving family member who should always come first.

Unfortunately many kids in this system do not find this kind of happily ever after scenario. It is difficult to find a "Forever Home" for a teenager for example. I've come across multiple news stories that claim that it's hard to find adoptive placements for special needs kids or sibling groups. This is not stating that I agree with most of these kids even being adopted when there are so many loving family members out there fighting for so many of them. It simply means that one persons reality may not reflect the reality of the norm, and this is an exceptionally "Happily Ever After" sort of a scenario.

What makes it even more of a fairy tale view is the fact that those who preach this kind of view do not acknowledge the very real problems within the system. For example, only abused and neglected kids are in the system. Workers never steal children and are always the heroes. Real parents are always hideous villains.

Never do they talk about the kids who are abused in foster care or the kids who are bounced around from home to home. Theirs will has a happy ending.They never bring up the systematic failures, you'll never see talk about the kids in group homes, abuse in care or the over-drugging of the foster kids. Nope, they're gonna love them, and hold them, and kiss away all of their troubles and give them some cute nickname on their blogs.

I do bring up these problems because I sometimes feel like they're preaching the wrong message as if this is the reality that all potential adoptive parents will experience, while many kids and parents suffer in secret. This view being preached so often ultimately leads to failed adoptions when the new adoptive parent looking for their happily ever after suddenly comes to understand of what they really got themselves into and the state still gets the money for the successful outcome anyway, and they may even get the kid back a year or so later. It leads to an undeserved positive public perception of the Child Protective Industry. That undeserved positive perception enables them to get away with fraud, corruption, child trafficking, etc. in secret, while the public believes the system to be the perfect little world like that which is preached in Foster 2 Forever.

When I do try to call them on their bullshit, I'm automatically accused of being the bad guy. I'm told to stop bashing foster parents. They always come back at me with a horror story of a kid who was really abused so severely, for example the worst of the worst of the worst as if they think that I believe in a parents right to abuse a child. I don't want to see kids get hurt either. They will all do this. Not only the foster parents but any system suck. They act as if calling them on their bullshit is the same as being pro-child abuse.

What do you not see the failure to protect cases that I post? You know the cases where the kid really did need to be protected, but the workers were too busy chasing shadows and harassing innocent parents who are having a hard time? Come on! The last thing I want to see is a kid get hurt. These people are so full of shit it's pathetic. Look for example at the comments that were posted after mine on the following post. I am trying to be polite here and start a serious discussion. And I have. But their responses are almost always the same. It's always the same argument. "But what about the kids who really are abused or neglected?"
http://foster2forever.com/2012/02/love-from-a-birthmother.html

The simple reason that so many of these kids do fall through the cracks is because there are too many false accusations and report without merit. It's because the sheep are so caught up in the Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal or the Casey Anthony trial that they will report anybody who doesn't parent to their standards in their opinion. It could also be argued that the workers are incompetent and couldn't tell the difference between an abused or neglected child and a hole in the wall and spend more time tearing apart impoverished or innocent families than they do protecting abused or neglected kids. But this is beside the point.

The reason that the Fairy Tale view is so dangerous is the fact that it's the preaching of the wrong message to the gullible from the gullible who live in their perfect little worlds. It's the case of the blind leading the blind, where the cute little babies who become available are snatched up long before they're damaged like the older kids who are bounced around and end up on an edition of Wednesday's Child.


Wednesday's Child is another example of the Fairy Tale view.

Well, notice in the video that I just shared, the kid is dressed up nicely and taken to a fun place where he'll be having a blast. That way he's all happy and bubbly for the camera. When he gets back to the foster home, all hell will break loose. The rages will begin. He'll be given his meds and spend the rest of the day walking around aimlessly like a good little zombie.



But what a happy scenario the media presents to you, wouldn't you think? Do you think this kid would be a good edition to your family? Do you think this kid would be a challenge? Would his problems all be solved if he could just find his forever home? Did you notice they have him convinced of this? Why wouldn't the current foster parents adopt him? Is it possible that somebody loves and misses him? Or are all these kids really unwanted and unloved?

So this is what we'll call the "Dreams of Forever Homes" scenario. This is where they convince the kids that everything will be all better if they can only find them a family. They will live happily ever after. If they can't find them that forever home, then it's out on your ass at age 18. Sorry! See Ya!

LK: http://legallykidnapped.blogspot.com/2012/02/systemsuckology-foster-care-fairy-tales.html#ixzz1n2hkTp9r

New Tools to Fight Fraud Child Welfare Programs

Once again, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice plum forgot to address the multi-billion dollar industry of child welfare fraud.

Why, you ask?

Because there are not enough Inspector Generals and Attorney Generals reading my posts.