Tuesday, March 20, 2018

If only we had functioning unions

Jerry White (WSWS) reports:

On Sunday night, the National Education Association (NEA) shut down the strike by 4,000 teachers and support staff in Jersey City, the second-largest school district in the state of New Jersey. The NEA ordered educators to return to their classrooms without providing any details on the tentative deal, let alone allowing workers to vote on it. Presuming that an agreement actually exists, it will do nothing to address teachers’ demands to end soaring health care costs.
The one-day strike is the latest in a growing wave of protests and calls for strikes that have spread from West Virginia to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Tennessee, Colorado and other states, plus the US territory of Puerto Rico, where teachers struck against school privatization yesterday.
The struggle of Jersey City teachers exposes the role of the Democratic Party, which supports the assault on teachers and public education no less than the Republicans. At issue is a bill, known as Chapter 78, which forces public employees to pay up to 35 percent of their medical insurance premiums and eliminates fully funded pensions for future teachers. It was passed with the backing of the Democratic-controlled state legislature in 2011.
Within hours of the beginning of the strike, a Hudson County judge granted the city’s Democratic Party-controlled school board an injunction to order teachers back to work on the grotesque grounds that teachers—not the corporate-controlled politicians—were doing “irreparable harm” to Jersey City school children.
The Jersey City Education Association (JCEA) is acting in the same manner as the unions in West Virginia, which opposed any struggle of teachers and worked to end it and impose a sell-out deal as soon as they could. Under conditions of a growing desire for a unified fight across the country, the NEA, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the other state-affiliated organizations see as their central task the suppression of class struggle. They will do exactly the same thing wherever a struggle emerges, and not only among teachers.

It's amazing how many band together to harm workers. 

They're not interested in addressing the employee concerns but let the workers make some demands and suddenly it's time to block them.

It would help if the unions would stand up with the workers but they're so quick to cave.

In fact, C.I. made a good point back in January.  She noted that there have been protests against films for homophobia and for sexism and so much more.  But she said not one union would show up in March (and they didn't) at the Oscars to protest THE POST and the glorification of union buster Katherine Graham.

And they didn't.  They didn't even issue a press release condemning Graham or her glorification.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Tuesday:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018.  As the Iraq War hits 15, note the silence that continues.

15 years on and still the Iraq War continues.  The war continues, the occupation continues, Iraq remains a colonial outpost for the US and UK governments.

Took this photo 15 years ago today, waiting to invade Iraq—all unaware we were about to be part of the greatest lie and greatest crime of our generation

When does the Iraq War end?  We should be demanding the answer to that question.

My name is Penny Evans and I've just gone twenty-one
A young widow in the war that's being fought in Vietnam
And I have two infant daughters, I thank God I have no sons
Now they say the war is over but I think it's just begun

Now they say the war is over .. . but I think it's just begun.

The war and the occupation of Iraq continues all this

Yesterday's LETTERS & POLITICS (KPFA) explored Iraq.

Mitch Jeserich: Now the conventional war itself only took about a month and would end with the toppling of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.  But Iraq would remain to this day incredibly unstable as much of the Middle East and it could be argued that the instability around the Middle East was also due in part to the invasion of Iraq.  The total number of people who died in the war -- and it's hard to get an exact estimate, but they range, on the very low side, to far more than 100,000 people to,  the high side, of over a million people.  And for people in the United States this war who had popular support at the beginning though, of course, not from all quarters that support waned as the war dragged on.  US soldiers and contractors deaths added it up it became clear Iraq did not have Weapons of Mass Destruction and reports also made it clear that the United States committed systemic torture.  Today, the  Iraq invasion of 2003 is considered the biggest foreign policy mistake in US history -- argued by many -- and right there with the Vietnam War. 

Many got it wrong.  Many walked away.  At THIRD, Betty, Elaine, Trina, Ava and I had discussed a piece that time ran out for.  But here are ten that deserve mention for not just making the hard calls when everyone talked about the Iraq War but who have continued to make those hard calls and refused to provide cover for political favorites.

1) Glen FordMargaret Kimberley and Bruce A. Dixon (BLACK AGENDA REPORT)
2) Arundhati Roy (novelist and activist)
3) Sarah Abdallah (activist)
4) Harry Belafonte (singer, activist, author, leader)
5) Justin Raimondo, Jason Ditz, Margaret Griffis, Scott Horton (ANTIWAR.COM)
6) Cindy Sheehan (activist, author)
7) Patrick Martin and Bill van Auken (WSWS)
8)William Rivers Pitt (TRUTHOUT)
10) John Stauber (critic, author)

These are the ones we had agreed on -- Betty, Elaine, Trina, Ava and I -- and the plan was to include them on a list -- a much larger list -- with other choices for people who had not walked away from the topic.  A lot of people would not make the list because, for example, like United For Peace and Justice, they closed shop after Barack was elected in November of 2008.  Fakers.  But it's important to note the people who did make a difference.

Yesterday, we noted the latest poll which found more people still believe the Iraq War was a mistake but that the numbers for that position had dropped.  That's because people walked away from Iraq, so called leaders in the US.  It's also because hypocrites have to deny Iraq.  They voted, for example, for Hillary Clinton and they have to disappear Iraq.  Or they are members of The Cult of St. Barack, so they have to disappear Iraq.

And it's very hard for We The People to know what goes on Iraq today.

Community members surveyed the 'independent' media landscape yesterday and found disappointing results.  Trina noted US Socialist Worker had nothing on Iraq, Ruth noted that THE PROGRESSIVE had no interest in Iraq, Marcia noted the same with IN THESE TIMES and Betty noted THE NATION's useless Katha Pollitt.  And, for the record, THE NATION did have one article on Iraq -- sadly, it's the Phyllis Bennis article.

It's that awful piece that we covered in the February 22nd snapshot.  25 days ago!  How timely.  As we observed then:

It's a curious editorial -- one that leaves the impression that the Iraq War is over.

If it's over, Phyllis, why are US troops still on the ground in Iraq.

The editorial hits new lows of whorishness as it names various people -- all Republicans.  I'm sorry, Phyllis, but it was the Democratically controlled Senate, in 2002, that voted for the Iraq War.  Not only does she ignore that, she also ignores certain key others.

The Iraq War is not over.  For example, over the weekend, the DOD issued this about those killed in the US helicopter crash in Iraq:

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of seven airmen who were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. They died March 15 when an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in western Iraq. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Killed was:
Captain Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. For more information, media may contact the 23rd Wing public affairs office at 229-257-4146.
Also killed were:
Captain Andreas B. O'Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York.
Captain Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York.
Master Sergeant Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York.
Staff Sergeant Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York.
All four were assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing at the Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, New York. For more information, media may contact the New York National Guard public affairs office at 518-786-4581.
Also killed were:
Master Sergeant William R. Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Florida.
Staff Sergeant Carl P. Enis, 31, of Tallahassee, Florida.
Both were assigned to the 308th Rescue Squadron, Air Force Reserve, at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. For more information, media may contact the 920th Rescue Wing public affairs office at 321-615-0329.

The war is not over.  And it now includes the ongoing occupation.  From US Major Danny Sjursen, "Unmitigated Failure: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 15 Years Later" (ANTIWAR.COM):

America, the guileless behemoth, brimming with hubris, somehow cannot see it. The sheer irrationality of the whole endeavor borders – 15 years later – on the absurd. The only real winners in Iraq have been a chauvinist brand Iranian Shi’ism, and the trademark Wahhabi Sunni Islamism of Saudi Arabia. Neither is a true friend to US interests or values. Neither cares whether US soldiers live or die. Each has its own agenda and plays US policymakers and generals like so many fiddles. The rational move for America is to opt out; do less; and walk away before sinking farther into the next quagmire. Unfortunately, compressed so narrowly between adversarial forces, and obtuse as ever, American "statesman" can’t see the way out.
These wars won’t end well for the United States, just as matters didn’t end well for my platoon, wedged, as it was, between micro-factions of these same adversaries: Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The Sunni precursors of ISIS shot Sergeant Ty Dejane through the spine – he’s still in a wheel chair. The Shia militiamen aligned with Iran exploded a massive bomb which unleashed shrapnel that tore apart three other young men. Sergeant "Ducks" Duzinskas lost most of an arm. Sergeant Alex Fuller and Specialist Mike Balsley lay dead. They never knew what hit them, just as our platoon never knew who, or what, exactly, we were fighting.

My boys were sacrificed on the altar of American hubris. That’s the war I remember, and the one the US still fights – futilely – in the Fertile Crescent. Perhaps the citizenry should ponder that…before the next escalation in Iraq.

The next escalation because the war's never ended.

But grasp that even on the so-called left, the American people are left in the dark about Iraq.    THE NATION, THE PROGRESSIVE, IN THESE TIMES, et al.  They fail to cover Iraq.  They fail to note it.  How are people supposed to be aware that the war continues when their own media doesn't tell them that truth?

Even on the 15th anniversary, these whorish, money grubbing outlets can't cover Iraq.

New content at THIRD:

The following community sites updated: