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Skyrocketing water bills: Utilities and cities using underhanded tactics to gouge customers

water
"In places like Benton Harbor, Michigan and Detroit, there is something called the emergency manager, which essentially is a local dictator. He can depose the mayor and offer decrees and answer to no one except the governor. In these two cities and others, because they are lacking tax revenue (because of lack of industry) they are jacking up the water rates as much as 40%. ... One of the people who was leading the charge against this stuff was recently convicted in a kangaroo court in Benton Harbor and is now facing 20 years in prison. He is Reverend Pinkney." - Brandon Turbeville

"Little bitty Benton Harbor was the testing ground. It was the testing ground to see what they can get away with. ...It's comin' to your city next, whether you like it or not.
- Rev. Edward Pinkney

Readers may remember my past article dealing with the apparent corruption regarding water rates in places like Dekalb County, Georgia. Electricity, Gas, Water. It's crucial that people be aware that they are not safe from those providing these services and necessities. They should know that their "government" can even move to take water from them.

Comment: Although city governments are becoming rapacious because of a lack of tax revenues, another reason this may be occurring is that Wall Street banks and elitist multi-billionaires have been buying up water all over the world at an unprecedented pace. Goldman Sachs called water "the petroleum for the next century" and has been gobbling up water utilities, water engineering companies, and water resources worldwide. Considering the rampant greed of Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks, it's not difficult to see a connection between their ownership of water utilities and price gouging, as it's just another example of predatory capitalism.

Ambulance

Man dies after being burned alive in industrial oven

factory chimney
© Reuters / Nigel Roddis
A Liverpool man suffered horrific burns and later died from shock after becoming trapped in an industrial moulding oven when co-workers failed to notice he was cleaning inside, a court has heard. The oven can reach temperatures of 280 degrees Celsius.

Alan Catterall, 54, went inside the oven at Pyranha Mouldings Ltd to clean the equipment, but a co-worker switched the machine on without realising Caterall was inside.

The ovens at the plastics manufacturer are fitted with an energy saving lock, which automatically engages when the machine is in use. The court heard a safety door has now been installed, but at the time of the accident Catterall had no means of escape.

The firm is on trial for corporate manslaughter. Brothers Graham and Peter Mackereth both face criminal health and safety offences.

Another man on trial is Paul Keddie, who designed and installed the oven's control systems.

All of the accused deny the charges against them.

Andrew Thomas, QC, prosecuting, told jurors at Liverpool Crown Court: "The circumstances of Mr Catterall's death are quite horrific.

"On the morning of the accident a fault had developed in one of the ovens. It was out of service for about an hour whilst maintenance work was carried out. The initial fault was fixed and one of the operators turned the machine back on. Tragically, what the operator did not realise was that Mr Catterall was still working inside the oven."

Thomas further told the court that due to the insulation, there was no chance his cries for help would be heard. He reportedly attempted to escape using a metal crowbar, but was unable to force the door open.
Pistol

'Totally innocent' unarmed man 'accidentally' shot dead by NYPD police

© AFP Photo / Timothy A. Clary
A rookie NYPD officer "accidentally" shot and killed an unarmed African-American man in a staircase in a New York apartment block. It happened as Ferguson is tensely waiting for a grand jury decision on a police officer who shot Michael Brown.

Akai Gurley, 28, and his girlfriend Melissa Butler were entering a staircase on the seventh floor in Pink House project in Brooklyn late Thursday evening when two policemen came down from the eighth floor. Peter Liang and his partner, Shaun Landau were doing a top-to-bottom patrol. Liang, a rookie on probationary assignment, fired a shot in Gurley's chest without a warning, Butler said.

"They didn't present themselves or nothing and shot him," Butler told DNAinfo New York. "As soon as he came in, the police opened the [door to the] eighth-floor staircase. They didn't identify themselves at all. They just shot."

Gurley and Butler tried to go down the stairs but reached only the fifth floor where Gurley lost consciousness. There a neighbor called an ambulance. Butler says the policemen did not come to help nor called the ambulance. Gurley, who has a 2-year-old son, was pronounced dead on arrival to hospital.

An NYPD spokesperson said the police department's internal affairs bureau is investigating the shooting. Liang has been placed on modified assignment and was relieved of both his badge and gun.
Heart - Black

Woman inmates at prison in India allege guards forced them into prostitution

© YouTube
Mention Parappana Agrahara to someone in India and they're not likely to assume you're talking about the neighborhood in India's fourth largest city, Bangalore. Instead, the name will probably bring to mind one of India's most infamous prisons, which has housed high-profile Indian celebrities and politicians.

The prison is an island surrounded by an urban ocean, walled off from the city of Bangalore by monstrous gates and barbed wire fences. For years, the jail has suffered from overcrowding, leading prison officials sometimes to let convicts out early in an attempt to shrink the prison population.

Last week, Indian officials investigating the prison presented a file to the local high court that included two hand-written letters by anonymous female inmates alleging that guards forced them to have sex with male prisoners. According to the letters, the guards charged between 300 and 500 rupees (between $4 and $8) to sleep with the women, a high price considering prison inmates earn about 20 rupees per day making furniture, weaving clothes and doing other odd jobs in the jail.

Investigators discovered the letters inside the grievance boxes in the women's wing of the prison. The court ordered that an inquiry of the complaints, which will be carried out by the Prisons Department and the Women and Child Welfare Department.
War Whore

'Shame on you!' Ukrainian president booed by protesters on Maidan

© RIA Novosti / Michail Polinchak
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks with Kiev residents after the ceremony of laying flowers to the Celestial Hundred Heroes Cross on the anniversary of the beginning of Maidan protests.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was heckled by protesters as he tried to pay tribute to the victims of the last year's Euromaidan riots in Kiev, which saw around 100 dead and led to a regime change in the country.

"Shame on you!", "Who are your heroes, Poroshenko?" and "Down with Poroshenko!" people shouted as the president lit a candle at the memorial at Institutskaya Street in central Kiev.

Around 50 people were killed on Institutskaya Street during clashes between the police and protesters, in which firearms were widely used, with the rest of the victims dying at the nearby Independence Square or Maidan.

Comment: And there won't be any resolution to the conflict anytime soon: Ukrainian Nazis threaten military takeover 'if things don't change within 6 months' - Reports of Ukrainian Army teaming up with eastern rebels

Arrow Down

Once again Walmart asks employees to donate goods, rather than paying staff a living wage

walmart
© unknown
Walmart is once again asking employees to donate canned goods to help their less-fortunate coworkers celebrate Thanksgiving.

An employee shared a photo Thursday afternoon of a donation bin set up at an Oklahoma store on the Making Change at Walmart Facebook page.

"Rather than agree to pay a decent wage or provide full-time hours, Walmart and its owners (the Waltons) continue to earn massive profits while too many of the workers who make the company a success go hungry," said the caption to the posted photo.

A worker at an Indiana store told Making Change at Walmart that managers at her location were organizing bake sales and encouraging employees to donate food to their co-workers.

"We are all in need, but we feel a sort of obligation to take care of our co-workers who are also struggling," said Tanya Roudebush, who works for Walmart in Frankfort, Indiana. "The cycle is crazy. It doesn't make any sense."

Comment: Walmart makes $16 billion a year in profits, by relentlessly squeezing every dollar it can from both suppliers and employees. It has repeatedly come under fire from both workers and labor watchdog groups for paying poverty wages, forcing workers into part-time positions, bullying workers over scheduling issues, retaliating against those who speak out, and even coaching employees to take advantage of government social programs in lieu of worker benefits.

Stock Down

3 of the largest economies in the world have already fallen into recession - Is the U.S. next?

Are you waiting for the next major wave of the global economic collapse to strike? Well, you might want to start paying attention again. Three of the ten largest economies on the planet have already fallen into recession, and there are very serious warning signs coming from several other global economic powerhouses. Things are already so bad that British Prime Minister David Cameron is comparing the current state of affairs to the horrific financial crisis of 2008. In an article for the Guardian that was published on Monday, he delivered the following sobering warning: "Six years on from the financial crash that brought the world to its knees, red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy." For the leader of the nation with the 6th largest economy in the world to make such a statement is more than a little bit concerning.

Comment: More from Michael Snyder on economic truths: indications and warning

Wolf

PETA caught on tape kidnapping dog and offers family a fruit basket after they've euthanized it

chihuaahua
For the longest time, PETA has been treated as nothing more than an annoyance for most people. Even among some animal activists, the organization is despised for its attention whoring antics. They're notorious for their shallow, gimmicky media stunts involving scantily clad women, and caged protesters, and they never miss an opportunity to make their presence known in the news. Almost everything they do is a carefully crafted attempt draw attention to their cause, and the don't even try to hide it.

But when it comes time to walk the walk, PETA has been accused of falling short of their lofty claims. Last year the organization found itself in hot water after it was discovered that one of their animal shelters was euthanizing many perfectly healthy animals. Despite adoption rates going up, and euthanization rates going down, it was found that PETA was killing 95 percent of the animals in their care; far more than neighboring shelters.
Stormtrooper

Family of Dillon Taylor says 911 caller was intoxicated, prejudiced and lied to police

Dillon Taylor
© Unknown
The family of Dillon Taylor say that when the 20-year-old was shot and killed by Salt Lake City Police, officers were responding to what sounds like an intoxicated 911 caller.

The woman who called police on Taylor could not tell if he was black, white, Latino... only that he "looked suspicious" and she was sure that he was armed. Police took this obviously unreliable and confused caller very seriously when they confronted Taylor who had not broken any law whatsoever.

"They are obviously looking for trouble just the way they look," the caller can be heard on the 911 call saying.

"We're almost at 21st South," she continues as police head to the scene of the non-crime. "The guy in the red hat has a gun. The guy flashed his gun, the kid flashed a gun as he was walking by. They are looking for trouble that's all I see."
Heart - Black

Kmart family values: 'If you do not come to work on Thanksgiving, you will automatically be fired'

Kmart employee fired

"Get your priorities straight, wage slaves."
Kmart will open its doors at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day this year and remain open for 42 hours, meaning that many employees will have to come to work to staff shifts. While the company says it tries to fill the slots with volunteers or seasonal hires, workers are reporting that the reality on the ground is very different.

Jillian Fisher, who started a petition on Coworker.org asking Kmart to give her mother and other employees the flexibility to take the holiday off, surveyed 56 self-identified employees from more than 13 states. Of those, just three said they had the option to ask to take the holiday off. In a press release from the petition organizer, one employee said human resources has told them, "if you do not come to work on Thanksgiving, you will automatically be fired... I made the request to work a split shift on Thanksgiving and was denied." Another said, "Our manager stated at a staff meeting: 'Everyone must work Thanksgiving and Black Friday. No time off.'" At one location, an employee says signs have been posted in the break room saying workers can't request time off on Thanksgiving or Black Friday and that everyone has to put in at least some time on both, while at another signs have been posted saying no one can request time off between November 15 and January 1."I am a lead at a Kmart and it is mandatory for me to work on Thanksgiving," another employee said. "If I were to call out I would be terminated, and requesting off is not allowed."

Comment: Ah, the blessings of unfettered capitalism. It's fulfilled the dreams of the .01%, bringing back the good old days of serfdom. We've become a feudal society, but hey, we peasants have cool smartphones, so we don't notice.

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