BlackBox Radio

May 16, 2006

BlackBox Radio for May 16th 2006

Filed under: Weekly Show — blackboxradio @ 1:25 pm

On this week's show: Highland Park residents struggle to retain control of their water and keep a Coca-Cola plant out of town (producers: Kate McCabe & Max Sussman; repeat segment), an examination of anti-oppression trainings (producer: Homefries), and a report about the latest campaign by the Immokalee tomato pickers to secure fair treatment of farmworkers (producer: Ariel Perez for LaborNews.) Local, national, and international headlines after the break.

Listen to the show: lower quality | high quality

ReadLocal Headlines:
Michigan Senate Excludes Undocumented Immigrants in Congressional Distribution
Granholm Proposes Bill to Increase Healthcare Coverage
Protestors Call Out National City Bank for Racial Redlining

National and International Headlines:
Military Neglects Mental Health, Troops’ Suicide Rate Hits Record High
Big Phone Companies face Lawsuits for Collusion with NSA
New Autopsy Shows Juvenile Inmate was Killed by Boot Camp Guards
Korean Farmers Brutalized for Resisting US Military Base Expansion


Local Headlines

On Thursday May 11, the Michigan State Senate passed resolution 105, which recommends amending of the U.S Constitution to base the number of congressional seats on only the number of legal citizens living in each state. The number of seats in the House of Representatives is fixed at 435 and the number of members from each state is distributed
according to population. Michigan lost one congressional seat after the 2000 census.
Foreign national and undocumented immigrants were calculated to be 18.6 million in the 2000 census about 70% of which live in 6 states. Nine seats were re-distributed because of changing numbers of foreign nationals, 6 of which went to California.
The resolution passed 30-7. Those voting against the measure were Democrats who felt that it was fair to include undocumented immigrants in the congressional distribution since these immigrant’s pay-taxes and use government sponsored services. Whether this includes temporary resident’s remains controversial.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm proposed a plan on Thursday to find a way to provide insurance for Michigan's residents which are currently uninsured. the 1.1 million residents of Michigan who are uninsured. Jennifer Granholm said at Lansing's Sparrow Hospital that ”This plan will provide a quality product at an affordable cost, create incentives for business and help bring down health care costs for everyone," Michigan has currently 1.1 million people who are uninsured. According to the Associated Press, 85 percent of Michigan's uninsured have incomes that are below 300 percent of the federal poverty level.
More than 60,000 Michigan households that are eligible for employer-based health coverage don't take it because they can't afford their share of the cost.
According to the Traverse City Record-Eagle, the plan would work with private insurers to cover half of the states uninsured non-elderly residents living 200% below the poverty line. It would also offer options to people living 200% above the poverty line. People would be charged on a sliding scale, with poorer residents paying little out-of-pocket costs. It would include primary and preventive care as well as prescription
drug costs.Chief Executive Officer Dennis Swan of Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital was supportive of the plan. .Last year, The Hospital provided for $48 million in uncompensated care.

On Tuesday, May 11, demonstrations were held outside of a National City Bank Headquarters in Troy, Michigan, protesting “racial redlining” or not accepting loans for small businesses with large African-American populations. On April 25, the New Galilee Missionary Baptist Church and Pleasant Hill Baptist Church filed a lawsuit against the bank, and since then many other parties have joined the suit. According to RNewswire, the plaintiff’s allege that the bank manager, Philip Peake, turned down 12 loan applications for over 7 million dollars from neighborhoods that were predominately African American. Because the regions were not, quote, “desirable based upon National City criteria.” end quote. All of the loan applications were later accepted by other
According to PRNewswire the demonstrations were intended to raise awareness of the banks racist practices and lack of commitment to the City of Detroit. The news service quotes David L. Rose, of Rose & Rose in Washington, D.C., attorney for the group as saying that quote "These laws exist to ensure banks make loans based on legitimate
business reasons; not on an applicant's skin color or whether an applicant chooses to live or operate a business in a predominately African-American community." end quote. More demonstrations are scheduled.


National and International Headlines:

This Sunday's Hartford Courant reported that the military has failed to follow its own regulations in screening, treating and evacuating mentally unfit troops from Iraq. Records obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act and more than 100 interviews of families and military personnel showed that some service members were kept on even when their superiors knew about their illnesses.
Since 1997 Congressional demand has required the military to assess the mental health of all deploying troops. Yet Pentagon statistics show that fewer than 1 in 300 service members were referred to a mental health professional before shipping out. Commanders, not medical professionals, determine whether a troubled soldier must continue their duty in a war zone. Last year Twenty-two U.S. troops committed suicide in Iraq, the highest suicide rate since the war started, the Hartford Courant said. Army regulations caution against the use of antidepressants for "extended deployments." However, some troops in distress were prescribed antidepressants with little or no mental health counseling or monitoring.
Col. Elspeth Ritchie, the Army's top mental health expert, said that some service members diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome have been sent back into combat due troop shortages.
### reported Saturday that big phone companies such as AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon now face lawsuits for helping the National Security Agency increase its surveillance capabilities after the Sept. 11 attacks. The companies and the NSA built a vast database of calling records, without warrants. Intelligence analysts say that the database assembled by the NSA could allow for "link analysis," a statistical technique for investigators to identify calling patterns in a seemingly impenetrable mountain of digital data.
Citing communications privacy legislation stretching back to the 1930's, Legal experts now say that the companies face the prospect of billion dollar lawsuits over damages resulting from their cooperation with the government. Recently in Manhattan a federal lawsuit was filed seeking as much as $50 billion in civil damages against Verizon on behalf of its subscribers. The suit seeks damages and an injunction against the security agency to stop the collection of phone numbers. Verizon said that it protected customer privacy but that it could not comment on any relationship with a national security program that was "highly classified."
The Communications Act, first passed in 1934, has historically tightly regulated wiretapping. Though legal standards are generally lower for government and police agencies obtaining calling records, legal scholars say legal restrictions still hold in the face of new computer databases with decades' worth of calling records.
Qwest stands alone as the one telephone company to have resisted the requests to cooperate with the government effort. A statement made by Quest claims that a Quest executive determined that no legal process had been secured to support the government's post 9-11 request, and that Qwest therefore refused to comply with the NSA.

In a follow up to a story we reported on earlier this year, Florida’s St. Petersburg Times reports that a new autopsy of Martin Lee Anderson, the fourteen year old boy who died while in juvenile boot camp, proves he was killed by boot camp guards. The latest autopsy showed that he died after he was forced to inhale ammonia fumes while someone held his mouth shut.
This evidence contradicts an earlier medical examiner’s ruling, that the boy died of complications from sickle cell, a blood disorder.
The new ruling is a vindication for Martin Lee Anderson’s family, as well as human rights observers, who were outraged by the original assertion that the guards’ brutal treatment of the teen was not related to his death. This claim was especially outrageous given the fact that a security videotape clearly shows several guards beating and abusing the
fourteen year old hours before he died.
Currently, the criminal investigation is ongoing, and no charges have been filed against the guards.

Daechuri, South Korea has been a site of extreme military violence the past two weeks, as residents have resisted eviction by the South Korean military to make room for the expansion of a US military base.
The impending expansion of the military base would destroy the farming communities of Daechuri, Doduri, and others. The rice farmers who live in this region, have chosen to resist the occupation of their homeland and stand up to the Korean government and the United States military. On February 7th of this year, the farmers declared autonomy and
renounced their Korean citizenship. They have since been organizing the daily life and the defense of their land and community through general councils, independently of the local government.
On May 4th, thousands of villagers clashed with police and soldiers, as the Korean Ministry of National Defense made its fourth attempt to occupy the villages of Daechuri and Doduri and crush the resistance to U.S. military base expansion. Global Indymedia reports that around 13,000 riot police, and 2,000 Korean soldiers invaded the village and
overran the fields. While the protesters were barricaded inside the local school grounds, troops erected some 30 kilometers of barbed wire around the rice fields and set up military tents. Road blockades were been placed around the village to prevent anyone from entering or exiting.
Over the next several hours, riot police charged the school where protestors were gathered, beating and arresting the unarmed protestors. By nightfall, over 400 people had been arrested and hundreds more were hospitalized for injuries.
Since then, the people of Daechuri have continued to protest the expansion of the military base, dismantling the military’s roadblocks and barbed wire fences. The police have responded by imposing a curfew on Daechuri and the surrounding area and instituting a policy of door to door searches and sweeping arrests.
Outrage at the actions of the police has sparked solidarity rallies in Seoul, South Korea’s capital city.
Residents cite community displacement, the detrimental environmental impact, the violent crimes committed by US troops stationed there, the massive issue of human trafficking and forced prostitution which surrounds the bases, and issues of national sovereignty as reasons for opposing the US military base.
For more information and updates see:


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