Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Make a donation to support the fight for socialism in 2018 – SEP Newsletter

From WSWS:

As 2017 comes to a close, the political crisis within the United States and internationally is entering a new stage: Ferocious conflicts within the ruling class, talk of nuclear war against North Korea, unprecedented levels of social inequality, moves to pass a tax plan that will hand out billions to the corporate and financial elite.

Under these conditions, the ruling classes around the world are seeking to block workers from accessing a socialist perspective. Google, working closely with the intelligence agencies and the Democratic Party, has led the way through its campaign of internet censorship, which has particularly targeted the WSWS. This is only the beginning.

Donating to the WSWS has never been more important. We need your help to fight back. There is a great deal that we must do. The fight against Internet censorship requires resources. We must have more meetings. We must send reporters to more areas. We must invest in new technologies.
Support for socialism is growing all over the world. We see it every day. But the WSWS needs your aid to carry forward the fight.
This week, the WSWS launched its New Year Fund Appeal. Please read the appeal and make a large donation to the WSWS today. 

Joseph Kishore
SEP National Secretary
Support the World Socialist Web Site New Year Fund!
We are calling on all our readers to make a large donation to develop and expand the work of the WSWS in the new year. Donate! »
The death toll behind corporate America’s record profits
By Jerry White
On Saturday, December 9, Ivan Bridgewater III, a 41-year-old electrician, was killed in an industrial accident at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant (KTP) in Louisville. The company has denied initial police reports that the skilled worker was electrocuted and the incident is under investigation by Kentucky authorities.
The sudden death of a worker in the United States is an all too common occurrence. Little more than a week before, on December 1, 31-year-old contract worker Yesenia Espinoza was struck by a falling 24-inch pipe and killed while working on a construction project at an ExxonMobil refinery in Beaumont, Texas, 84 miles northeast of Houston. Two small children now have no mother. As in so many cases, family and friends have set up a GoFundMe page to pay for funeral expenses and help support the children.
Nearly 5,000 US workers die in workplace accidents every year. In addition, an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 workers die annually from occupational diseases. Taken together, on any given day, 150 workers die in America from hazardous working conditions.
This is the reality behind the dizzying stock market rise, the multi-billion-dollar fortunes of CEOs like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and the boasts of the Trump administration and the media of a booming economy and “full employment.” Read more »
Why has Time magazine endorsed the #MeToo “revolution”?
By David Walsh
Time magazine has bestowed its Person of the Year 2017 honor on “The Silence Breakers,” i.e., those who have come forward to allege sexual misconduct. The group so honored includes actors Ashley Judd, Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan and Selma Blair, singer Taylor Swift and television anchor Megyn Kelly, as well as lesser known women (and a few men).
Given the ongoing frenzy, the magazine’s decision was entirely predictable. Had its editors made any other choice, there would have been a media-organized uproar. By its action, Time has simply confirmed the fact that the #MeToo movement has the official backing of important portions of the American ruling elite.The cover of Timemagazine
In the feature article announcing the magazine’s decision, authors Stephanie Zacharek, Eliana Dockterman and Haley Sweetland refer three times to the current campaign over sexual harassment and assault as a “revolution.” But what sort of “revolution” receives the benediction of Time, one of the leading mouthpieces of the American establishment for more than 90 years? Read more »

Is the United States on the brink of nuclear war?

By Andre Damon
In the thirteen days since North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching large portions of North America, the United States has further escalated its war threats.
• On Thursday, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned that the United States might not send athletes to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea, because it could not guarantee their safety in the event of a war.
• Last Sunday, National Security advisor H.R. McMaster warned that the threat of war between the United States and North Korea is “increasing every day.”
• That same day, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham warned that the United States is “getting close to a military conflict” with North Korea, and urged the military to remove the families of US soldiers from South Korea.
Trump White House preparing sweeping attack on the poor
By Patrick Martin
The Trump administration is preparing a frontal assault on social programs for the poorest Americans, according to a report published Monday by the Politico web site. This would involve “the most sweeping changes to federal safety net programs in a generation, using legislation and executive actions to target recipients of food stamps, Medicaid and housing benefits,” the web site said.
“The White House is quietly preparing a sweeping executive order that would mandate a top-to-bottom review of the federal programs on which millions of poor Americans rely,” Politico reported. “And GOP lawmakers are in the early stages of crafting legislation that could make it more difficult to qualify for those programs.”
The executive order could be issued as soon as next month. It amounts to a political conspiracy against the poorest sections of the working class involving the White House, the congressional leadership and dozens of state governments, working together to slash spending on programs for the poor through a combination of direct benefit cuts, tightened eligibility standards and mistreatment of vulnerable families to drive as many as possible out of programs on which they now depend. Read more »
Amid “full employment,” no recovery in US wages
By Jerry White
The US jobs report for November, released Friday, provides further evidence that the much vaunted economic “recovery” in the United States has overwhelmingly benefited Wall Street, whose stock bonanza is based above all on stagnant wages and the destruction of working-class living standards.
The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls increased by 228,000 and the jobless rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent, the lowest level since January 2000 at the height of the “dot.com” bubble. Manufacturing payrolls rose by 31,000; construction in the aftermath of the hurricanes in Texas and Florida added 24,000 jobs. There was also a boost in the low-wage retail (18,700) and leisure and hospitality (14,000) sectors.
Despite what economists, the media and politicians are calling “full employment,” average hourly earnings rose only 0.2 percent, or five cents, to $26.55 an hour, from a downwardly revised 0.1 percent drop in wages in October. Year-to-year wage increases in November were only 64 cents, or 2.5 percent. If wages rise by another nickel in December, yearly salaries will be up a mere 2.4 percent in 2017, barely above the official projected inflation rate of 2.0 percent. Read more »
While Southern California burns, governor declares fire devastation to be “new normal”
By Brian Dixon and Dan Conway
Fires continued to rage for an eighth straight day across Southern California on Monday. Though some of the relatively smaller fires in Northeast Los Angeles, Santa Clarita and West Los Angeles are now considered completely or nearly completed contained, larger fires in Ventura, San Diego and Riverside continue to burn.
Since they began last Monday, the fires have collectively destroyed more than 790 structures; 18,000 structures remain under threat according to official estimates.
One person is confirmed dead as a result of the fires while more than 45 horses and an uncounted number of livestock and other animal life have also perished.
The largest blaze, known as the Thomas fire, has burned over 230,000 acres across Santa Barbara and Ventura County. The total size of the fire now exceeds the combined area of the five boroughs of New York City and is nearly a third the size of the state of Rhode Island. Read more »
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Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, December 12, 2017.  PBS continues to air propaganda, a US service member is laid to rest, in 'victory' Baghdad decides to bomb the Kurds and much more.

Imran Ghori (PRESS-ENTERPRISE) reports:

McGurn’s goal was to return to the Police Department after completing his military service and become a police canine officer, he said. He would maintain his excitement while volunteering for the worst assignments, Castro said.

Over the weekend, tiny despot Hayder al-Abadi held a parade, self-glorified and was selective in sharing thank yous.  The Kurds were disrespected but they weren't the only ones.  Everyone knows that Hayder and company would still be battling for Mosul -- to name but one example -- had the foreign coalition not been bombing constantly.

Back to Ghori:

Todd Lane McGurn was known for his big smile, his love for his family and his drive to succeed.
Family and friends paid tribute to the 20-year-old Riverside resident in an emotional funeral service Monday, Dec. 11, at Sandals Church in Riverside. Afterward, a police procession accompanied a hearse carrying his body to Riverside National Cemetery where he was laid to rest.

The US government should have never started the Iraq War.  But they continue it and they continue to send Americans over to Iraq and they continue to send US tax dollars over to Iraq.

Ahmed Aboulenein (Reuters) reports on the whining of the Counselor of the USAID Thomas Staal who has just about lost it over US President Donald Trump's efforts to reduce (by 30%) the foreign aid budget.  It's outrageous to Staal.  This despite the fact that: "The U.S. government has provided nearly $1.7 billion in humanitarian assistance for Iraq since the Islamic State takeover of the north in 2014."

Since 2014.

$1.7 billion in the last three years.

Not since the start of the Iraq War, but just in the last three years.

Basic needs cannot be met in the United States and that's due to priorities and due to the illegal war that is still ongoing.

Now we're supposed to spend billions propping up Hayder al-Abadi because we just know -- like we did with Nouri before -- that he'll deliver what we want -- at last -- finally.

Iraqis need leaders that the support.  They do not need leaders imposed upon them by the US or any other foreign government.

The reason so many trillions have been spent 'creating' a government in Iraq is because it lacks all legitimacy. 

Hoshang Mohamed (RUDAW) observes:

Many factors facilitated the success of ISIS in Iraq, including political, economic and social injustice; governance, development and public services deficits; and discriminatory policies based on ethnic, sectarian, religious and political identities and affiliations. These root causes which paved the way for the rise of this brutal terrorist organization are still in effect and have further deepened over the last three years.

The history of Iraq reveals a number of persistent sources of conflict: systematic demographic changes, sectarianism and purely ideological policies, concentration of political and military power with impunity, and disregard for rule of civilian law.

Blind celebration and overestimation of the military success will not last long and will not bring peace, stability or security in the long run unless Iraqi leaders accept these realities and are brave enough to recognize the critical mistakes made since 2005.

Neither military success nor money will stabilize Iraq if the legitimate grievances of all communities across Iraq are not genuinely considered and resolved.

These are basic realities.  But notice how the western press will not address them.

The taxpayer draining waste that is THE NEWSHOUR spent a report 'on' Iraq refusing to note these basic realities and instead focusing on Iran versus the US.  And treating that as normal.  As if another country exists solely to be a test lab for the US and Iran. 

They have done some lousy reporting on Iraq at THE NEWSHOUR last week but this tops even the nonsense already broadcast.

As usual, the Iraqi people are rendered invisible.

As usual the real problems are ignored.

Instead, PBS encourages you to feel superior to the Iraqi people and take part in 'superpower' wonderment.

They ought to be ashamed.

  1. While Iraq is celebrating the defeat of ISIL, these citizens are struggling to rebuild their lives:

That's some of the reality that PBS is avoiding.

The Baghdad-based government is attacking the Kurds -- with US supplied weapons.

  1. Tuz Khurmatu comes under shelling, Iraqi aircraft bombs villages

Maybe they could cover this reality?  The whorish PBS and others?

Iraqi Helicopters bombing kurdish villages around Tuz Khurmatu for the first time since 1991. Another thing kurds didnt expect to happen again in Iraq!

What does not fit the narrative is stripped away.

Rendered an aside or not even spoken.

Buried deep in Jonathon Gatehouse's CBC report, for example, you find this, "In fact, the same day Abadi declared victory, Iraqi security forces reported a skirmish near Kirkuk in which they killed what they said were 10 [Islamic State] suicide bombers hiding in a tunnel."

Land of snap decisions
Land of short attention spans
Nothing is savored
Long enough to really understand
In every culture in decline
The watchful ones among the slaves
Know all that is genuine will be
Scorned and conned and cast away

-- "Dog Eat Dog," written by Joni Mitchell (first appears on her DOG EAT DOG album)

The following community sites -- plus Tavis Smiley and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated: