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Inter Press Service - Labour / Pakistan: Food Security and Re...
Last post by Inter Press Service - December 17, 2018, 03:01:13 pm
Pakistan: Food Security and Reducing the Price of Wheat

Robert W. Fogel, the 1993 Nobel Prize Laureate for Economics, through his work on ?efficiency wages?, pointed out that hungry and undernourished workers are not as productive as well fed and healthy workers.   At the level of an individual firm, it would thus make sense for an employer to pay wages that are high [...]

The post Pakistan: Food Security and Reducing the Price of Wheat appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Source: Pakistan: Food Security and Reducing the Price of Wheat
Richard Mellor / California Educators Can Follo...
Last post by Richard Mellor - December 16, 2018, 11:01:53 pm
California Educators Can Follow West VIrginia's Lead.

They will and you should.
We have stressed on this blog that the strategy and tactics, that were used by the teachers from West Virginia, to Kentucky and Arizona and other states should be built on throughout the trade union and workers' movement. That is, rank and file control, by-passing the opposition of the established leadership, willingness to violate anti-worker laws and including all workers in education in the movement and in the decision making process. This movement should also draw in to it all workers union, non-union an as well as our communities. Unfortunately, the DSA with regard to the Oakland and LA situations has likened them to the West Virginia strikes and this is absolutely not the case. At this point there is no sign of a repeat in CA.

The union hierarchy, much stronger in California will most likely move to ensure that what happened in West Virginia, Arizona etc. will not occur in California, it will be assisted in this by those lefts who refuse to wage a campaign against the concessionary policies of the bureaucracy. It is inevitable that any activists wanting to improve public education in a serious way will be brought in to conflict with the present union leadership, it cannot be avoided. 

This obstacle of the trade union hierarchy can be overcome by a mass rank and file movement willing to brush this obstacle aside and lead from below.  But it is DSA's and any other socialist's obligation to warn workers of this, educators or otherwise, and help ensure the right side wins that battle. Militants in the trade union movement should not simply be cheerleaders.  See three short videos of presentations by veterans of the West Virginia, Kentucky and Arizona  strikes at the end of this article. RM

Facts For Working People share this article from the World Socialist Website for our readers interest. Facts For Working people has no affiliation of any kind with the World Socialist Website.  

Los Angeles teachers and the fight for social equality
       By     the WSWS Teacher Newsletter     
          14 December 2018   
This statement will be distributed at a mass demonstration of  teachers and their supporters in Los Angeles, California on Saturday.

As  Los Angeles teachers, students and parents converge this Saturday in a  mass rally in downtown Los Angeles, they are part a growing movement  worldwide of teachers, students and workers against social inequality  and austerity.

This week, hundreds of thousands of ?yellow vest?  protesters in France were joined by teachers and high school students  denouncing education ?reforms? and the reintroduction of the draft.  Giving voice to this struggle, one student said, ?I want a merging of  the movement of students, railway workers, yellow vests, of the entire  world to put an end to this world of inequality and injustice.? This is  exactly right.

This is one fight, the world over. On one side are  hundreds of millions of workers and young people. On the other side is a  tiny oligarchy of billionaires who are demanding the destruction of  public education, healthcare, and pensions.

In the US, Los Angeles  educators take their place alongside Oakland teachers who engaged in  wildcat ?sickouts? this week demanding wage increases, smaller class  sizes and better conditions; Fremont teachers who are pressing for  strike action after receiving an insulting one percent pay raise offer;  and Chicago charter school teachers who struck for similar demands.  Teachers in Virginia, Indiana and South Carolina are now threatening to  strike after walkouts in the state of Washington and the wave of strikes  earlier this year in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky, North  Carolina, Colorado and other states.

Allied with the Democratic  Party, the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and the California  Teachers Association have kept Los Angeles teachers on the job for more  than a year without a new contract, despite a 98 percent strike mandate  from educators. The unions and the Democrats have kept teachers tied up  in endless mediation and fact-finding schemes even though the school  district continues to offer insulting pay increases and demands for more  takeaways.

It does not take a rocket scientist to know what the  facts are: educators need good wages and benefits in order to cope with  rising housing, health care and other living expenses. They need a  substantial increase in school funding to make class sizes smaller, hire  more nurses, counselors and special education teachers and adequately  supply their classrooms. Educators need increased social services to  address chronic poverty, homelessness and other social ills that afflict  their students.

The entire corporate and political establishment,  headed by the Democratic governor, state legislature and mayor, insists  there is no money for any of these basic necessities. If they get their  way, California will remain near the bottom of all US states in per  pupil spending (46th) and the student-to-teacher ratio (48th).  Standardized tests and rigged evaluations will continue to be used to  scapegoat teachers, close schools and divert money to for-profit charter  businesses.

The WSWS Teacher Newsletter and the  Socialist Equality Party urge teachers to take matters into their own  hands by electing rank-and-file committees at every school and in every  community. These committees should set a strike date and build up the  broadest support among staff, students, parents and other sections of  workers for a struggle. Committees in Los Angeles should link up with  educators in Oakland and across California to prepare a statewide strike  to defend public education.

The trade unions like the UTLA and  its national organization, the American Federation of Teachers?headed by  Randi Weingarten, who has an annual income of more than $500,000?do not  unite workers; they divide them. This was the role of the unions in  every struggle of teachers this year, which emerged outside of the  unions themselves. The AFT plays the same role as the United Auto  Workers, which has imposed decades of concessions contracts, and the  Teamsters, which imposed a sell-out contract on 250,000 UPS workers this  year despite a majority ?no? vote.

The UTLA and CTA are opposed  to a strike because that would quickly develop into a direct political  confrontation with the state Democrats and inspire teachers around the  country to follow suit. That is why the UTLA has kept teachers on the  job and offered no resistance when LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner  fired 15 percent of district staff and announced plans for further  privatization of the district under the cover of ?autonomy? for  individual units and ?greater parental engagement.?

The formation  of independent organizations of working class struggle must be connected  to the building of a political leadership in the working class, opposed  to both the Democrats and Republicans, based on a socialist and  revolutionary program.

There is plenty of money to improve teacher  salaries and public education. California is the home of 143  billionaires on the Forbes Rich List. A 100 percent wealth tax on  fortunes above $10 million on just the top four?Facebook?s Mark  Zuckerberg ($71 billion), Microsoft?s Larry Ellison ($58.5 billion),  Google?s Larry Page ($48.4 billion) and Tesla?s Elon Musk ($19.9  billion)?would resolve the school funding crisis overnight and provide  the resources to guarantee living wages for teachers and a healthy  learning environment for their students.

Jerry Brown,  governor-elect Gavin Newsom, Mayor Eric Garcetti, US Congressional  leader Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats, no less than Trump  and the Republicans, serve the interests of the rich, not working  people. Far from encroaching on their grotesque fortunes, they insist  that teachers and other workers accept even more sacrifices in order to  fund more corporate tax cuts, bailouts of banks and corporations, like  PG&E, and endless wars for conquest and profit.

An improvement  of conditions for working people, whose collective labor produces all  of society?s wealth, is only possible through a frontal assault on the  corporate and financial oligarchy, the seizure of their fortunes and a  radical redistribution of wealth. Tens of millions of workers and young  people are opposed to inequality, militarism, anti-immigrant attacks,  police brutality and other forms of state repression, and there is a  growing support for socialism in the US and around the world.

The  WSWS and SEP are spearheading the fight to organize the working class,  including through the formation last weekend of a steering committee of  auto and other workers to oppose layoffs and concessions, independent of  the unions.

Rank-and-file committees of teachers and other  educators will link up their struggles with every other section of  workers?auto workers, hotel, garment and health care workers, Amazon and  UPS workers, oil workers and others?to fight for the social right to  good-paying and secure jobs and fully funded social programs for all  workers and young people. This must be combined with a political  strategy to unite all workers, black, white, native born and immigrant,  in the US and around the world in a fight for socialism.

Source: California Educators Can Follow West VIrginia's Lead.
AlterNet / Federal judge in Texas rules a...
Last post by AlterNet - December 16, 2018, 11:01:45 pm
Federal judge in Texas rules all of Obamacare to be unconstitutional


Even conservative legal analysts called the ruling "insane."

In a ruling that was quickly dubbed as "insane" by critics, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the entirety of the Affordable Care Act ? also known as "Obamacare" ? was unconstitutional.

It appears the law will still technically be in place while the case goes through appeals, however.

Judge Reed O'Connor had been expected to rule against the law, brought by Republican states attorneys general, but the scope of his ruling Friday night still shocked many observers. The lawsuit he heard targeted the law's individual mandate, which sets a tax penalty for every who American who doesn't sign up for health insurance.

The mandate had already been upheld by the Supreme Court, so it would have seemed that the lawsuit was pointless. It seems even more pointless because last year the Republicans voted to set the cost of the individual mandate to zero, effectively nullifying it.

But its petitioners made a novel ? and to most credible legal experts, bogus ? argument that because the mandate's fine was $0, it was no longer a tax, and it was thus unconstitutional.

Confused? You should be, because even legal scholars argued it makes no sense. And it gets even worse.

The petitioners, and now Judge O'Connor, argued that because the provision was seen as a key part of the law when it was passed by Congress in 2010, the whole law must be thrown out with the mandate struck down. However, this completely misses the fact that the Congress in 2017 specifically voted on changes to the law, decided not to repeal it in its entirety, and chose only to reset the mandate's penalty to zero.

"Distro court judge strikes down ACA, mangling multiple legal doctrines in the process," wrote Jonathan Adler, a conservative legal analyst. "I doubt this opinion will survive appeal."

Adler also agreed with law professor Nicholas Bagley, who called the ruling "insane."

"Congress eliminated the penalty and left the rest of the ACA in place. It really is that simple," said Adler.


Related Stories

Source: Federal judge in Texas rules all of Obamacare to be unconstitutional
Inter Press Service - Labour / Political Commitment Key to He...
Last post by Inter Press Service - December 16, 2018, 11:01:44 pm
Political Commitment Key to Health for All

One of my proudest accomplishments as the former UN secretary-general was playing a part in the ambitious global agenda for sustainable development (SDGs), including the goal of universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030. Kenya?s leadership was key. To give momentum to the SDGs an Open Working Group was established in 2013. One of the co-chairs [...]

The post Political Commitment Key to Health for All appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Source: Political Commitment Key to Health for All
Centre for Research on Globalisation / The Case of Huawei CFO Meng Wa...
Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation - December 16, 2018, 11:01:42 pm
The Case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou: American Sheriffs Acting Outside of Their Jurisdictions

The December 1 arrest by Canadian authorities in Vancouver of Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, based on a US extradition warrant, represents a draconian extraterritorial application of a dubious US law and claim of Huawei?s sanctions violations regarding ...

The post The Case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou: American Sheriffs Acting Outside of Their Jurisdictions appeared first on Global Research.

Source: The Case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou: American Sheriffs Acting Outside of Their Jurisdictions
Centre for Research on Globalisation / US Media Claims that American ...
Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation - December 16, 2018, 11:01:41 pm
US Media Claims that American Citizen was ?Tortured Then Executed? by Syrian Government ? Admits No Evidence

A particularly scurrilous op-ed appeared in the pages of the Washington Post accusing the Syrian government of detaining, torturing, then executing an American citizen, Layla Shweikani.  

Considering US attempts to establish various pretexts to justify its ongoing military occupation of ...

The post US Media Claims that American Citizen was "Tortured Then Executed" by Syrian Government - Admits No Evidence appeared first on Global Research.

Source: US Media Claims that American Citizen was ?Tortured Then Executed? by Syrian Government ? Admits No Evidence
Centre for Research on Globalisation / How the New Silk Roads Are Mer...
Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation - December 16, 2018, 11:01:41 pm
How the New Silk Roads Are Merging into Greater Eurasia

The concept of Greater Eurasia has been discussed at the highest levels of Russian academia and policy-making for some time. This week the policy was presented at the Council of Ministers and looks set to be enshrined, without fanfare, as ...

The post How the New Silk Roads Are Merging into Greater Eurasia appeared first on Global Research.

Source: How the New Silk Roads Are Merging into Greater Eurasia
Richard Mellor / Argentina: Ford Execs Convicte...
Last post by Richard Mellor - December 16, 2018, 11:52:05 am
Argentina: Ford Execs Convicted of Torturing Union Activists Under the Junta

Carlos  Gareis, right, a former worker at Ford and a former political prisoner,  held the hand of his daughter, Estela, center, after the verdict that  sentenced two former executives at the plant to long prison sentences.CreditCreditJuan Mabromata/Agence France-Presse ? Getty Images
BUENOS  AIRES ? A court in Argentina on Tuesday convicted two former Ford Motor  executives and sentenced them to prison for helping the country?s  military dictators kidnap and torture 24 workers during the 1970s.

The  convictions were the first in which representatives of a multinational  firm were found culpable in a human rights trial in Argentina.

Activists  hailed the sentences as a major step toward making amends for the  cooperation that several businesses provided to the brutal junta that  ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. Union leaders were among the tens of  thousands of people sent to clandestine detention centers where  suspected dissidents were arbitrarily detained, tortured and often  killed.

Relatives of the 24 victims in the Ford case burst into applause in the courtroom as a judge read the verdicts.

A  three-judge panel sentenced Pedro Müller, 87, then a manufacturing  director at a Ford factory in Buenos Aires province, to 10 years, and  Héctor Francisco Sibilla, 92, then the security manager at the plant, to  12 years for assisting in the kidnapping and torture of their  colleagues.

The two executives  ?allowed a detention center to be set up inside the premises of that  factory, in the recreational area, so that the abductees could be  interrogated,? according to court papers.
The  court also sentenced Santiago Omar Riveros, a former head of the army?s  fourth battalion, to 15 years in prison. All the sentences can be  appealed.

?We were able to show  during the trial that the company benefited economically during the  period and how it used the repressive arm of the dictatorship to get rid  of people that bothered them,? said Marcelo García Berro, the  prosecutor.

Of the 24 workers whose cases are detailed in the case, 17 were detained in their workplace and 11 are alive today.

Pedro  Müller, left, then a manufacturing director at a Ford factory in Buenos  Aires province, was sentenced to 10 years, and Hector Francisco  Sibilla, right, then the security manager at the plant, was given 12  years.CreditJuan Mabromata/Agence France-Presse ? Getty Images
?These weren?t people tied to the subversion or anything of the sort. They participated in the unions,? Mr. García Berro said.

Although the prosecution had requested sentences of 25 years, the victims? lawyers said they were satisfied.

?The  sentencing of two company executives leaves no doubt that Ford was  directly involved in committing crimes against humanity against workers,  and that is historic,? said Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, one of the  lawyers.

Another one of the victims?  lawyers, Tomás Ojea Quintana, told Reuters that a lawsuit against the  automaker may be filed in a federal court in the United States.

?It  is clear that Ford Motor Company had control of the Argentinian  subsidiary during the ?70s,? said Mr. Ojea Quintana. ?Therefore, there  is a direct responsibility of Ford Motor Company and that might give us  the possibility to bring the case to the U.S. courts.?

Ford  said in a statement the company was ?aware of the verdict about the  supposed participation of ex-employees of the firm in events related to  human rights in the ?70s.? The company added that it ?always had an open  and collaborative attitude with judicial authorities supplying all the  available information.?

Officials at Ford declined to comment further, noting that the sentences can still be appealed.
Argentina  has done far more than its neighbors to punish former military officers  and their accomplices for crimes committed during the dictatorships  that became the norm in much of the region in that period.

As  of September, Argentine courts had convicted 862 people among the more  than 3,020 individuals charged for human rights abuses, according to the  attorney general?s office. The vast majority of those convictions  involved former military officers. Relatively few civilians who were  complicit in grave abuses have been convicted.

Experts  said Tuesday?s verdict marked a turning point because it made a clear  link between the dictatorship and the persecution of union activists.

?This  is the first time that Argentina convicts business executives for  crimes against humanity relating to union activism,? said Victoria  Basualdo, a historian who served as an expert witness in the case.

Many  businesses saw the dictatorship ?as the opportunity to resolve labor  conflicts in a repressive manner and increase profits,? the Center for  Legal and Social Studies, a human rights group in Argentina said in a  statement. By giving material assistance to the dictatorship, ?they  became one more link in the structure of state terrorism.?

Source: Argentina: Ford Execs Convicted of Torturing Union Activists Under the Junta
AlterNet / 'Don't fool yourselves': Conse...
Last post by AlterNet - December 16, 2018, 11:51:58 am
'Don't fool yourselves': Conservative writer speaks hard truths to the GOP ? warning Trump's legal jeopardy is all too real


He knocks down the weak arguments that Trump's defenders have used.

Many conservatives have completely abandoned the Republican Party after the rise of President Donald Trump, and some have even embraced the Democratic Party and called for the GOP to face a devastating defeat at the ballot box.

David French, though a long-time critic of the president, is not one of those Republicans. He has penned defenses of Trump in light of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, he argued wavering conservatives should feel no guilt for supporting Republicans in the midterms, and he has often lashed out at the president's critics when he thinks they've gone too far.

But now, he has a stern warning for Republicans: Trump faces real legal peril, and the party's arguments in his defense on bogus.

First, the National Review writer argued, Republicans are trying to deflect from the emerging charges that Trump violated campaign finance laws.

"The political deflection is clear, though a bit bizarre," he wrote. "The recent wave of news about Trump?s porn payoffs is somehow evidence that investigators and critics are 'shifting focus' from the Russia investigation to alleged campaign-finance violations."

Such claims, French rightly noted, miss the point. There's no cooperative scheme to bring down the president ? just a functioning law enforcement apparatus.

He explained: "The current wave of news reports is largely driven by court filings, and those court filings don?t represent a shift in law-enforcement focus on Trump but rather an arena of additional inquiry. The sad reality is that the Trump operation was a target-rich environment for any diligent investigator."

French also ably refuted a defense of Trump ? and of Michael Cohen, who has already pleaded guilty to the crimes implicating the president ? that was likewise published in the National Review.

In that defense, writer Bradley Smith argued that Cohen's crime was not, in fact, a crime. This is because the hush money payments Cohen made on the president's behalf were not, Smith argued, campaign spending but personal spending.

But French replied: "So far, the best available evidence indicates that Trump?s commitments to Stormy Daniels didn?t exist 'irrespective' of his campaign but rather because of his campaign. That?s Michael Cohen?s assertion. That?s AMI?s assertion. The affairs were relatively old ? and so was the threat to his family ? but the payments were new, rendered at a crucial time in a very close presidential contest."

And, French argued, reports suggest that prosecutors have substantial evidence to back up the claims of Cohen and AMI. 

Most interestingly, though, French pointed out that one of Smith's key arguments actually undermines itself. Smith argued that if, contrary to what actually happened, Trump had used campaign funds to make the hush money payments to women he had affairs with, his critics would also say this was a misuse of campaign funds.

But French said this is the point of the law. Campaign finance laws constrain what candidates can spend money on, and if a candidate really wants to make a hush money payment, that may just be illegal. That's not an unfortunate side effect ? candidates who need to pay off people probably shouldn't be running for office anyway.


Related Stories

Source: 'Don't fool yourselves': Conservative writer speaks hard truths to the GOP ? warning Trump's legal jeopardy is all too real
Centre for Research on Globalisation / ?War by Other Means? against R...
Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation - December 16, 2018, 11:51:56 am
?War by Other Means? against Russia and China: Washington Pressures EU Nations to Boycott Russia?s Nord Stream II Gas Pipeline

Make no mistake. Washington is at war with Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and other sovereign independent states - waging cold war at risk of turning hot against any or all of them. US war on Russia rages politically, ...

The post "War by Other Means" against Russia and China: Washington Pressures EU Nations to Boycott Russia's Nord Stream II Gas Pipeline appeared first on Global Research.

Source: ?War by Other Means? against Russia and China: Washington Pressures EU Nations to Boycott Russia?s Nord Stream II Gas Pipeline
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