Earlier this month, the World Socialist Web Site reported that production workers are now being hired at $12 an hour at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, and that BMW has opened a new assembly line in Spartanburg, South Carolina that employs mostly contract workers earning $15 per hour.
These wages, among the lowest for autoworkers anywhere in the developed world, are the result of the unrelenting assault on living standards of American workers over the last three decades. This has reached new heights since the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008.
With the full backing of the Obama administration, US and foreign-based corporations are exploiting levels of mass unemployment and poverty not seen since the Great Depression in order to transform the US into a cheap labor platform in direct competition with Mexico, China and other low-wage countries.
Tennessee, like nearly half of all US states, has an unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent, and its real jobless rate is probably double. When Volkswagen began taking applications for 1,700 jobs in Chattanooga, it received over 65,000 responses in the first three weeks. On the basis of cutting labor costs by at least a third at its US factory, Volkswagen is able to sell cars for $7,000 less than comparable models made in Germany.This is and has been War On The Workers. There's no point in pretending otherwise unless you're just vested in lying to yourself.
If Paul Krugman had stayed detached from the White House (instead of visiting and getting chummy), he might be explaining some of the truths WSWS does. Instead, he's too busy playing defense for Barack to tell the full truth.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Thursday:
Altamirano's immediate and extended family attended the funeral along with friends, soldiers, teachers and veterans. Altamirano had a daughter, Leandra, and two stepdaughters Kayla and Anaya, with his wife, Pamela. He also had two sons, Justin and Dominic, from his first marriage.
Altamirano's stepdaughter Kayla Martinez, 16, presented a slideshow of family photos.
"I love him and he was a wonderful man," she said, her voice wavering. "And there is no one who will ever be like him."
Erika Flores (Action 4 News) covers the funeral in this video report.
The Iraqi government is seeking to silence critics who accuse it of rampant corruption by removing officials who try to prosecute racketeers and intimidating politicians and journalists who support them.
This month alone it has forced the head of its anti-corruption watchdog to resign. And a prominent Iraqi journalist, who had been threatened for leading anti-government protests, was shot dead in his home in Baghdad.
There is growing anger that the ruling elite is stealing or embezzling much of the country's $2bn (£1.3bn) a week in oil revenues, depleting funding for electricity, water, health care, housing, education and even rubbish collection.
Tuesday's snapshot included, "The International Crisis Group has released a new Middle East report which, in the section on Iraq, 'examines the steady erosion of the credibility of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government resulting from the failure to safeaguard institutions against corruption and abuse.' The Iraq section can be found here (that's not PDF, for anyone worried), 'Failing Oversight: Iraq's Unchecked Government.' Corruption is common place in Iraq, the report notes [. . .]" Al Mada attempts to get reactions from Iraqi political blocs. State of Law mumbles a great deal but Abdul Salam al-Maliki keeps calling it a UN report -- it's not a UN report. He also complains about the 'long' recommendations. Six recommendations for the government of Iraq are too many? Has he even read the report? Here's what taxed an al-Maliki:
To the Government of Iraq and to the Council of Representatives:
1. Strengthen the anti-corruption framework to allow for greater and more effective cooperation and coordination between the various state institutions involved in combating corruption, specifically by:
a) allowing all anti-corruption and audit officials to refer criminal matters directly to the courts;
b) guaranteeing the independence of the Inspectors General from government ministers, in particular by providing that ministers and the prime minister play no role in inspectors' recruitment and dismissal;
c) formalising cooperation between oversight agencies by requiring them, notably the Inspectors General, to adopt standard operating procedures;
d) increasing each oversight institution's training budget to develop skills necessary to carry out auditing and investigatory missions independently of other institutions; and
e) passing effective witness protection legislation and ensuring public access to government information.
2. Pass political party legislation requiring parties to display financial transparency and publish detailed annual accounts, including all sources of income and expenditures.
3. Reform the Council of Representatives' bylaws, including by removing administrative matters from the speaker's prerogatives, facilitating the formulation of legislative bills and accelerating the lawmaking process.
4. Streamline the legislative process by:
a) clarifying and strengthening the working relationship between institutions involved in the preparation of new legislation;
b) clarifying each institution's role; and
c) establishing clear lines of communication between these institutions.
5. Reform the Council of Representatives' oversight function to focus on policy implementation through the questioning of senior technocrats and administrative officers rather than politicians.
6. Enact a law that would prevent the head of the Higher Judicial Council from occupying the position of chief justice, and protect the Supreme Court's independence by forbidding any political interference.
BA: What were your politics like before you got involved in peace and justice activities?
CS: If you had asked me this before my son was killed, I would have said that I was very liberal, very left-wing, but that's just because of the community I live in, where being a Democrat is thought of as liberal and left-wing. I always voted Democrat because I believed that was the right thing to do. After my son was killed and after these Democratic politicians in Congress betrayed the antiwar movement, betrayed the working people over and over and over again, and even though I was uninformed and undereducated about these things before Casey was killed, I realized the two-party system really is just a fraud, and people invest all their time, energy and money where we the people have the least amount of effects. It's the corporations, it's the lobbyists, it's the robber class that really control politics in this country, and we can actually have a political system in this country that's responsible to the people. We have to start from the bottom up, not the top down.
Tell Congress it's time to end the Iraq War, not prolong it
Earlier this summer Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) asked their colleagues to sign a letter to the President urging him to bring all the troops home by the end of the year. MFSO in turn, asked our members to support them by urging their own representatives to sign this letter.
Continuing her efforts towards finally, truly ending the war in Iraq, Congresswoman Lee has written as a bill: HR 27577, the Iraq Withdrawal Accountability Act of 2011, which would require the removal of all US troops and contractors from Iraq on or before the promised deadline December 31 2011. It has reached 37 cosponsors to date. Click here to learn more and send an email to your Representative.
Flood the Super Committee Deficit Reduction Suggestion Box!
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka "The Super Committee") has been meeting to come up with the next round of budget cuts. Despite the many examples of obscene military waste on outdated equipment, fraud and negligence, it is despicable that some on Capitol Hill are talking about cutting veterans benefits and raising Tricare rates. Servicemembers, veterans, and military families have suffered enough. The Super Committee needs to hear from us: End the wars and cuts military waste, not veteran's benefits. Click here to tell them what you think should be cut.
Take Action to End the Wars
On October 6th & 7th, people will be taking action in DC and across the country to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, whether you're lobbying Congress, occupying Freedom Plaza, or building solidarity with the communities impacted by the War on Terror.
- On October 6th there will be a national call-in day to Congress demanding an end to the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan. We will send out more information about this next week along with talking points.
- Make an appointment to meet with your Representative or their staff on October 6th or 7th, either in their DC or home district office. Our Representatives need to hear from military families! Click here to find your Representative's contact information.
- Join us in DC! MFSO is organizing a unique event on October 7th called War Voices, a forum bringing together veterans and military families with Afghan civilians and community and economic justice organizers and artists to reflect on a decade of war. Click here to find out more.
- Many MFSO members will also be participating in the occupation of Freedom Plaza starting on October 6th. Click here for more info and to read MFSO's statement on this protest.
Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson – MFSO Co-Founders
Oskar Castro, Samantha Miller, Liz Rocci, and Clarissa Rogers -- MFSO Staff
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