Saturday, April 22, 2017

From Socialist Alternative- Have you heard the news?-Vote Ginger


We are proud to announce that the Communications Workers of America Minnesota State Council (CWA) has endorsed our grassroots campaign for Minneapolis City Council Ward 3!

Representing over 10,000 workers, the CWA has a rich history of challenging big business and winning through struggle. In 2016, Socialist Alternative supported the CWA when Verizon attempted to cut benefits, and we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the fights ahead.

Donate $15, $100, $250, $600 to elect Ginger Jentzen

“It’s clear to the Communications Workers of America (CWA) MN State Council that we need to elect candidates who refuse corporate cash and are unapologetic about fighting for the needs of working people while at the same time building our grassroots power. That’s why the CWA MN State Council is endorsing Ginger Jentzen for Minneapolis City Council Ward 3. She has demonstrated those principles and fought alongside low-wage workers to build the movement for a $15/hour minimum wage in Minneapolis,” said Mona Meyer, president of the CWA Minnesota State Council.

All told, our campaign is backed by unions representing 30,000 working people and families in Minnesota. Both the CWA and the Minnesota Nursing Association endorsed Bernie’s campaign and have played a critical role in the fight for a $15/hour minimum, living the old labor slogan an “injury to one is an injury to all.”

Recently, a majority of Minneapolis City Council members have come out in support of $15 for Minneapolis, with no tip penalty! While we welcome their support, we need to be clear -  $15 has only come this far because of our powerful grassroots movement. Together, we've taken on powerful opposition from business groups like the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, the Minneapolis Downtown Council, and now the Minnesota Restaurant Association.

These groups will continue fighting to delay and dilute a minimum wage proposal. And 
anti-$15 corporate interests are already trying to buy our local elections, hosting a fundraiser for Ward 1 City Council member Kevin Reich - part of the council majority that voted to block $15/hr from going to voters. We know that these same business executives and lobbyists will pour money into defeating my pro-$15, pro-worker campaign for Minneapolis City Council Ward 3.

If 30 people chip in $20 tonightwe can cancel out a $600 maxed out donation from an anti-$15 corporate executive, and show that it is is possible to build an alternative to corporate politics-as-usual.

We have the potential to build a new kind of politics. Our movements for renters, immigrants, and workers’ rights need a political voice. By endorsing our campaign for Minneapolis City Council, the CWA MN State Council and the MNA are taking a bold stand against corporate domination of politics and supporting a political alternative that’s on the side of working people.

Ginger Jentzen

Prepared and Paid for by Vote Ginger Jentzen (not corporate cash)
P.O. Box 53162, Minneapolis, MN 55458

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A View From The Left- U.S. Slaughter in Near East

Workers Vanguard No. 1109
7 April 2017
Raqqa, Mosul
U.S. Slaughter in Near East
The long list of U.S. imperialist war crimes in Iraq and Syria is growing by the day. On March 17, a U.S. airstrike in the Iraqi city of Mosul killed over 100 men, women and children taking shelter in the basement of a house. That week, some 240 civilians were killed by the U.S. in that neighborhood as part of the battle by the imperialists and Iraqi government forces to drive out the Islamic State (ISIS) from the city. An estimated 400,000 civilians are trapped in the war zone in the densely populated areas of western Mosul, having been set up for wanton slaughter after the Iraqi government directed them not to flee.
In Syria, a U.S. drone fired missiles and dropped a 500-pound bomb on a religious gathering at a mosque in a town near Aleppo on March 16, massacring more than 45 people. Less than a week later, a U.S. airstrike killed at least 33 people who had taken shelter in a school near the Syrian city of Raqqa. In March alone, the coalition of U.S. and other imperialist forces together with local proxies butchered over 1,400 civilians in Syria and Iraq. At the same time, in Yemen the U.S. stepped up its military strikes against alleged al Qaeda targets and increased military aid to the Sunni theocratic monarchy of Saudi Arabia, which is waging a reactionary war against Houthi-led forces. Last month, the U.S. launched more airstrikes in Yemen than in all of last year. Down with U.S. imperialism! All U.S. troops out of the Near East now!
Apologists for the capitalist Democratic Party claim that the Trump administration has lifted Obama-era restrictions supposedly aimed at minimizing civilian casualties. In fact, the recent carnage is a direct continuation of Obama’s murderous wars, and the rules of engagement had already been loosened on his watch. Since August 2014, the U.S. coalition has carried out over 19,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria with more than 72,000 bombs and missiles. Working people should have no illusions that the Democrats are any less a party of racist U.S. imperialism than the Republicans. The only way out of the perpetual cycle of imperialist wars, occupations and bloodletting is the fight to end the capitalist system through workers revolution.
In its campaign against ISIS in Iraq, the U.S. has enlisted the forces of the Shia-dominated Iraqi government together with Shia militias and Kurdish pesh merga fighters. Imperialist machinations have sharply intensified the conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims. The war against the Sunni-based ISIS has served as a pretext for Shia forces to ethnically cleanse majority Sunni cities in Iraq, with Kirkuk province alone receiving some 500,000 displaced Sunni Arabs. The heavily Sunni Arab population of Mosul faces a similar fate. In Syria, Kurdish forces that took over ISIS-controlled villages carried out a campaign of collective punishment and communalist expulsions of Arabs and Turkmen. ISIS, of course, is infamous for its own communalist slaughter and expulsion of Shias, Kurds, Yazidis, Christians and others.
As Marxists, we have no side in the intercommunal conflict in Iraq nor in Syria’s squalid civil war between the dictatorial regime of Bashar al-Assad and various Islamist-dominated rebels. But we do have a side against the U.S. imperialists—the main enemy not only of the Syrian and Iraqi peoples but of working and oppressed masses around the world.
The gruesome crimes of ISIS pale in comparison to those of the world’s biggest terrorists—the U.S. imperialists, who are responsible for the slaughter of tens of millions. We are implacable opponents of everything the ISIS cutthroats stand for. But we recognize that when they inflict blows against the U.S. occupiers and their proxies—the Iraqi army, Shia militias and Kurdish armed forces in Iraq and Syria—such acts coincide with the interests of the international working class, including in the U.S. At the same time, we do not imbue these repugnant forces with “anti-imperialist” credentials. While our main opposition is to the U.S. and other imperialists, we also oppose the capitalist regional powers (Russia, Iran, Turkey) that have become involved in the conflict and demand that they, too, get out.
The Assault on Raqqa
As in Mosul, in Raqqa some 300,000 people are trapped; U.S. coalition forces have dropped leaflets threatening residents with airstrikes if they flee the city by crossing the Euphrates River. Coalition airstrikes hit the northern neighborhoods of Raqqa almost daily. In early March, the U.S. deployed hundreds of troops to Syria, joining the several hundred Special Operations forces who have been there for months. The U.S. also recently deployed a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System trained on Raqqa. In addition to the 6,000 troops currently stationed in Iraq and Syria, backed by thousands of private military contractors (i.e., mercenaries), the U.S. is sending 2,500 troops to a staging base in Kuwait from which they can join the assaults on the ISIS strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa.
Raqqa is a historic city. It served as the capital of the Abbasid dynasty during the reign of Caliph Harun al-Rashid (786-809 A.D.), who ruled over an empire that stretched from northwest Africa to Persia. He was best known for establishing the legendary Baghdad library Bayt al-Hikma (House of Wisdom). Under al-Rashid’s rule the city enjoyed a high degree of urban development, where palaces, mosques and a water management system were constructed. His time was marked by the flourishing of Islamic arts, culture, science and music. Harun al-Rashid is also remembered for his love of wine and his lavish lifestyle, which inspired many of the salacious tales in The Arabian Nights. Today Raqqa is the self-proclaimed capital of the abhorrent ISIS and faces massive destruction in the multisided conflict in Syria, with every major power involved in the war competing for its capture.
Assad’s forces, supported by Russia, are positioned on the outskirts of Raqqa. Turkey is backing the Syrian Islamist opponents of Assad, the Free Syrian Army, to take the city. To Turkey’s chagrin, the U.S. is relying on the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in its assault on ISIS positions near Raqqa. The SDF is dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Committees (YPG) and includes smaller non-Kurdish forces. The YPG is the military wing of the Syrian-based Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is allied to the petty-bourgeois nationalist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey.
The Turkish government, along with the U.S., considers the PKK a “terrorist” organization and escalated its campaign to crush the organization in 2015, when Turkish forces launched a furious assault on Kurdish cities in southeastern Turkey. In August 2016, the Turkish military moved into Syria—ostensibly to fight ISIS—in order to prevent PYD/YPG fighters from linking the two semiautonomous Kurdish regions in northeast and northwest Syria, which border the Kurdish regions of Turkey. The U.S. imperialists, committed enemies of Kurdish independence, agree with Turkey that Kurdish-held regions should remain noncontiguous, even as they continue to use the PYD/YPG as their ground troops in Syria.
The Fight for Kurdish Self-Determination
The Kurdish people, whose homeland is the mountainous area straddling the borders of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, have long suffered murderous national oppression at the hands of the capitalist regimes in these countries as well as the imperialist rulers. Through years of struggle, the Kurds have clearly demonstrated their desire for independence. We of the International Communist League call for a united, independent Kurdistan. We also support Kurdish independence from individual capitalist states—e.g., the right of Kurds in Turkey to secede. However, in Iraq and Syria, the Kurdish nationalist leaders have subordinated the just fight for self-determination to their alliance with U.S. imperialism. In so doing, they help perpetuate the divide-and-rule stratagems that inevitably inflame communal, national and religious tensions and serve to reinforce the oppression of the Kurdish masses.
In Turkey, where Kurds form a sizable component of the proletariat, it is vital for the working class to fight against Kurdish oppression, which is a key prop of Turkish nationalism and capitalist rule. If the proletariat of Turkey is ever to liberate itself from capitalist exploitation, it must take up the struggle for Kurdish self-determination. Essential to this perspective is the forging of a binational Turkish-Kurdish revolutionary workers party committed to the struggle for working-class rule.
Indeed, it is in the interest of the working classes of the Near East to champion the fight for Kurdish self-determination. In taking up this struggle, the proletariat of the region would strike a blow for its own emancipation from its capitalist exploiters and would undercut U.S. imperialism’s capacity to manipulate the Kurds’ grievances in order to further dominate the Near East. It would also go a long way toward breaking Kurdish militants from the nationalist politics of reliance on imperialist and regional bourgeois patrons, which invariably lead to disaster for the Kurdish people, and winning them to a revolutionary proletarian internationalist program. We seek to build Marxist workers parties throughout the region that fight for the establishment of a socialist federation of the Near East that would include a socialist republic of united Kurdistan.
Defeat U.S. Imperialism Through Workers Revolution!
The U.S. working class must be won to the understanding that its enemy is its “own” ruling class and that it needs to oppose imperialist aggression abroad. The same ruling class that is raining death and destruction on the neocolonial masses is also waging war on the livelihoods of working people and the oppressed at home. What is desperately needed is class struggle against the capitalist rulers, both to defend the interests of workers at home and to hinder the ambitions of U.S. imperialism abroad. The Spartacist League aims to win the most conscious layers of the working class to the understanding that what is necessary to put an end to exploitation, racial oppression and endless imperialist slaughter is the overturn of the U.S. capitalist order through socialist revolution.
That means tapping into the fundamental discontent and conflicts in American capitalist society: the anger of the oppressed black and minority populations who face mass incarceration and are gunned down by the police on America’s streets; the glaring disparity in wealth between the many at the bottom and the few at the top; the fear of joblessness, homelessness, loss of health insurance and pensions that plagues tens of millions of American workers. To harness this anger into a struggle against the capitalist system, it is necessary to forge a revolutionary multiracial workers party—section of a reforged Trotskyist Fourth International. Built in opposition to all capitalist parties, such a party would lead the struggle for working-class rule in the belly of the imperialist beast. Only victorious workers revolutions on an international scale can end imperialist slaughter and ethnic bloodletting and open the road to eliminating material scarcity and building an egalitarian socialist society.

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal! Mumia to Start Hep C Treatment, Finally

Workers Vanguard No. 1109
7 April 2017
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!
Mumia to Start Hep C Treatment, Finally
After a two-year battle, class-war prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal is scheduled to begin lifesaving treatment for hepatitis C. On March 27, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied a motion by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) to block a January 3 order that the DOC begin administering antiviral drugs to Mumia. That order had declared that the prison authorities’ “protocol” of withholding treatment from all but those with advanced cases of liver damage was unconstitutional. On March 31, the DOC announced that Mumia would begin treatment the following week.
Mumia is an innocent man who is the victim of a decades-long vendetta by the capitalist state that began in the 1960s when he was a teenage spokesman for the Black Panther Party in Philadelphia. Mumia went on to become an award-winning journalist, known as “the voice of the voiceless” for his searing commentaries on the crimes of the racist American ruling class. He was also a prominent supporter of the largely black, back-to-nature MOVE organization, which was also on the receiving end of a murderous, racist campaign by the capitalist state. Framed up for the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia policeman, Mumia was sentenced to death explicitly for his political views. In 2011, the state abandoned its efforts to legally lynch him, but Mumia remains locked up on the “slow death row” of life without parole.
Prison officials have made clear that providing the medication does not mean they accept the appeals court decision. Rather, due to their denial of treatment, Mumia’s liver damage is now so severe that he qualifies under the DOC’s own protocol. Recent medical tests revealed that Mumia has clear signs of cirrhosis of the liver caused by hepatitis. As Mumia bitterly noted: “My first reaction was really shock, anger, disbelief. If I had been treated in 2015, if I had been treated in 2012 when they say they first diagnosed it, I wouldn’t be this far advanced.” There is good reason to believe that the antiviral treatment will reverse the cirrhosis and return Mumia to health, although he will be more susceptible to liver cancer. However, the DOC may use the slightest improvement in his condition to declare that he no longer qualifies under their inhumane criteria and pull the plug on his treatment.
The DOC has also filed a motion to dismiss Mumia’s lawsuit demanding antiviral drugs, claiming that, since he will now be receiving treatment, his case is moot. Prison authorities fear that Mumia’s case could set a precedent and that they will have to provide the medications to all those afflicted with hepatitis C behind bars—where the disease is endemic.
In a March 31 commentary on (“The Illusion of Correctional Medicine”), Mumia pointed to his racist jailers’ harsh economic calculus: “The DOC said it will cost them $600 million. It may only cost me my life.” The ghouls who lord it over the largely black and Latino prison population prefer that their victims just rot and die, with a bit of torture thrown in for good measure. The prisons are a central component of the capitalist state, which exists to protect the rule and interests of the bourgeoisie against the working class and the oppressed. Only a proletarian socialist revolution that sweeps away the capitalist order can get rid of the bourgeois rulers’ barbaric institutions and torture chambers.
Unlike the anonymous millions suffering in America’s dungeons, Mumia is relatively well known. After he nearly fell into a diabetic coma two years ago, which could have led to his death, thousands signed petitions demanding he receive treatment from the doctors of his choice. Protests outside Philadelphia City Hall helped to throw a spotlight on the nightmare of “medical care” in prison. While advocating the pursuit of all possible legal avenues in Mumia’s case, we place no faith in the capitalist courts and the bourgeoisie’s injustice system. Rather, we look to the power of the multiracial workers movement, which has every interest in fighting for Mumia’s freedom and must be mobilized independently of the forces of the capitalist state and its political representatives.
In response to Mumia’s medical crisis and the life-and-death struggle for curative treatment, the Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal has issued an urgent fundraising appeal to cover legal expenses. The Partisan Defense Committee, a class-struggle legal and social defense organization whose purpose is in accordance with the political views of the Spartacist League, has made a donation to this fund and encourages others to do likewise. Checks should be made payable to National Lawyers Guild with “For Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Defense” on the memo line. Mail your check to Johanna Fernandez, 158-18 Riverside Drive W., Apt. 6C-50, New York, NY 10032.

Suddenly Is Right-Frank Sinatra’s “Suddenly” (1954)-A Film Review

Suddenly Is Right-Frank Sinatra’s “Suddenly” (1954)-A Film Review

DVD Review

By Film Critic Sandy Salmon
Suddenly, starring Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, 1954, based on a 1943 story Active Duty by Richard Sales who wrote the screenplay, 1954       

For my generation, the generation of ‘68 as one political pundit who I read occasionally called those of us who were involved in the great counter-cultural wave of the mid to late 1960s, November 22, 1963 the day President Kennedy was assassinated by an ex-military man, Lee Harvey Oswald, was a touchstone in our lives, as December 7, 1941 was for an earlier generation and 9/11 for a later one. Thus the subject matter of the 1954 film under review, Suddenly, an assassination attempt on the President of the United States as he passed through by train the Podunk fictional town of Suddenly out in California was a little shocking. If I had seen the film in 1954 at a time when I knee-deep, as were many of my fellow film critics, in attending Saturday afternoon matinee double features I probably would have passed it off as another great B-film noir effort. And at some level that was my reaction recently as well but the film brought to the surface more questions than I would have expected for such an old time film.              

The plot-line was like this if it helps the reader understand my perplexity. In advance of the unnamed President (although if you go by the original 1943 story the film is based on Active Duty by the screenwriter here Richard Sales hard it would have been Franklin Delano Roosevelt but by the film’s release Dwight Eisenhower) heading to some Western mountain retreat the town of Suddenly was suddenly (I couldn’t resist that, sorry) infested with all kinds of cops, feds, Secret Service, naturally, state and local cops. The important one of the latter here is Sherriff Shaw played by gruff he-man type Sterling Hayden. With all this police action it was fairly easy for a bunch of guys led by John Baron, played by Frank Sinatra, to pose as FBI agents and gain access to a primo location at a house across from the railroad station where the President was expected to stop. That house also just happened to be the home of Sherriff Shaw’s hoped for paramour, a war widow, her son, and her ex-Secret Service father.    

After a series of ruses Baron and his boys set up for the ambush in a position in the house and with a rifle that reminded me of what the situation was like at that 1963 Texas School Depository. But remember this is 1954 and fiction so that you know that this plot like many others before and since would be foiled before the dastardly deed was consummated. Foiled one way or another although not before a senior Secret Service agent was killed and Sherriff Shaw was wounded and taken hostage along with his sweetie and her family. The long and short of it was that the plot was foiled by the heroic action of that son, that paramour, her father and even the Sheriff. So you can see the film to get the skinny on the how of that. 

What is of interest, beyond the excellent job that Frank Sinatra did of playing an ex-soldier who learned to love to kill, who gained self-respect and dignity during World War II when he could freely shoot on sight anything that moved and nobody thought anything of it and the good job Sterling Hayden did as the Sheriff also an ex-soldier trying to figure out Baron’s motivation for shooting the President. Baron was nothing but a flat-out psychopath who had no more feeling about what he doing and who he was doing it to than the Germans he wasted in the war. I have seen guys like that, saw them during my own military service, saw them at the VA hospitals too when they completely broke down. With this caveat in Baron’s case he was a hired killer, was being paid big money, half a million, no mean sum back then, by unnamed sources to perform his task and blow the country. Who was behind it and their motivation didn’t interest him. 

In light of all the controversy surrounding the Kennedy murder by an ex-Marine of unknown psychological stability and a million theories about whether he acted alone or as part of greater conspiracy that got me thinking about who might have hired Baron to do the dastardly deed. That was a matter of some speculation among the hostages in that ambush house and since it was the post-World War II 1950s and the heart of the red scare Cold War night  the obvious possibility was the “commies” (although not the Cuban variety since their revolution was several years away). But that did not end the possibilities. It could have been some nefarious criminals, the mob, unhappy about their exposure to public scrutiny. It might have been the military-industrial complex unhappy about their contracts, or lack of them. It could not have been Lyndon Johnson since he was not Vice President then but it could have been the sitting Vice President. You know who I mean in 1954 if you are old enough. Yeah, Richard Milhous Nixon, later to be a President and a known felon. Don’t tell me he wasn’t mean and craven enough to order that hit. Don’t be na├»ve. Watch this film and develop your own conspiracy theory.         

A View From The Left- WARS ABROAD, WARS AT HOME-Join And Build The Resistance


How Gentrification Is Killing US Cities and Black Lives
What you read in the pages of How to Kill a City is a heartbreaking story of the destruction of Black lives. You read how cultures are wiped out of a city's fabric, and all for a $6 latte. Business leaders claim they are helping "renovate" a city, bringing it back to its original luster, while passing off the displaced as a kind of collateral damage. They may feel a little bad for a moment, but checking their bank account offers them the reassurance they are doing it for the right reasons.  Gentrification is no longer just a buzzword used to describe renovation in a once poor neighborhood on the occasional whim of a developer; it is now a systematic plan by the country's wealthiest individuals to take away even more from struggling communities and minority groups, turning their losses into profits.  Gentrification takes a community's personal tragedy, loss and destruction, and monetizes it.   More MCKIBBEN: On April 29, We March for the Future
It is hard to avoid hyperbole when you talk about global warming. It is, after all, the biggest thing humans have ever done, and by a very large margin. In the past year, we’ve decimated the Great Barrier Reef, which is the largest living structure on Earth. In the drought-stricken territories around the Sahara, we’ve helped kick off what The New York Times called “one of the biggest humanitarian disasters since World War II.” We’ve melted ice at the poles at a record pace, because our emissions trap extra heat from the sun that’s equivalent to 400,000 Hiroshima-size explosions a day. Which is why, just maybe, you should come to Washington, DC, on April 29 for a series of big climate protests that will mark the 100th day of Trumptime. Maybe the biggest thing ever is worth a day…  Trump is either the end of the fight for a working planet Earth—or the moment when that fight turns truly serious. That choice is not up to him. It’s up to the rest of us.   More

If you can’t go to DC. . .
Saturday, April 29 @ 12:00 pm - 3:30 pm
On April 29, the #PeopleClimate March will bring together hundreds of thousands of people from across the country to demand JOBS, JUSTICE, and REAL CLIMATE SOLUTIONS. Here in Boston, we’ll have a full day of workshops and activities to build and grow our movement, starting with an energizing rally at 12pm on Boston Common. Join us!
*Schedule for Boston PCM on April 29* See more at:
– RALLY for jobs, justice and bold action on climate on Boston Common
– ACTION TABLES, activities, and art-making on Boston Common
– TEACH-INS on the connections between the climate fight and other struggles for justice at indoor spaces around the Common (learn more here:

Not since World War II have more human beings been at risk from disease and starvation than at this very moment. On March 10th, Stephen O’Brien, under secretary-general of the United Nations for humanitarian affairs, informed the Security Council that 20 million people in three African countries -- Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan -- as well as in Yemen were likely to die if not provided with emergency food and medical aid. “We are at a critical point in history,” he declared. “Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the U.N.”  Without coordinated international action, he added, “people will simply starve to death [or] suffer and die from disease.” Major famines have, of course, occurred before, but never in memory on such a scale in four places simultaneously…  The likelihood that droughts this severe would be occurring simultaneously in the absence of climate change is vanishingly small. In fact, scientists generally agree that global warming will ensure diminished rainfall and ever more frequent droughts over much of Africa and the Middle East. This, in turn, will heighten conflicts of every sort and endanger basic survival in a myriad of ways.  More

The jobs reports would have us believe our rebound from the recession is almost complete. The reality is very different. The Economist has some fancy words for it: "Job polarization," in which middle-skill jobs decline while low-skill and high-skill jobs increase and the workforce "bifurcates" into two extremes of income…  Most of our new jobs are in service industries, including retail and health care and personal care and food service. Those industries generally don't pay a living wage. In 2014, over half of American workers made less than $15 per hour, with some of the top employment sectors in the U.S. paying $12 an hour or less.  Worse, most underpaid workers are deprived of the benefits higher-income employees take for granted. A Princeton study concluded that a stunning 94 percent of the nine million new jobs created in the past decade were temporary or contract-based, rather than traditional full-time positions.   More

The average millennial worker makes less than the average baby boomer did in 1975
Over the past four decades, young American workers saw their average incomes decline by 5.5 percent after adjusting for inflation, according to new figures published Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 1975, workers aged 25 to 34 had a median personal income of $37,000 in modern dollar terms. In 2016, that number was down to $35,000.  Earnings have declined despite the fact that today's young people are better educated than 40 years ago. Thirty-seven percent of young people had a bachelor's degree last year, compared to 22.8 percent in 1975.   In part, experts say, the decline in average incomes results from new impediments to financial success that confront millennials, but that older Americans did not have to overcome. A more unequal economy presents fewer opportunities for younger workers.  More

Dakota Access Pipeline Mogul Cut $250,000 Check for Trump's Inauguration
Included in the roster of funders is pipeline builder Kelcy Warren, who contributed a quarter-million dollars to the event. Warren's company, Energy Transfer, is behind construction of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.  In an interview with The Dallas News in January, Warren described 2016 as the "toughest year of my life," referring to protests that rocked the company over the construction of DAPL. He said that Trump's election gave him hope.  Protests over DAPL forced the Obama administration to put the project on hold. Indigenous and environmental activists claim the pipeline threatens lands and water that are crucial to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota. Trump, however, ignored those pleas and green-lighted construction of DAPL in February.  Several other companies that later benefited from executive actions taken by President Trump also donated to the inauguration.  Coal mining giant Murray Energy and petrol companies Chevron and Citgo gave over a million dollars combined. Last month, Trump took actions that put former President Obama's signature climate change regulation, the Clean Power Plan, in jeopardy.  More

*   *   *   *
When an alleged nerve gas attack took place on the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun on April 4, the perpetrator was instantly identified as the Syrian government – though many doubts still exist and there has not been a complete and impartial investigation.  Heartbreaking stories and photos about child casualties and “Assad’s war crimes” dominated the news for days on end.  Donald Trump ordered a supposedly retaliatory missile attack against a Syrian air base – a unilateral act that would have been illegal under the UN charter even if the Syrian government were guilty.  Compare the response to thesuicide bombing attack on a bus convoy of Syrian Shi’ite evacuees near Aleppo a few weeks later, which killed more civilians, including over 80 children.  MSM reports refused to name the perpetrators because no group had claimed responsibility -- and the story vanished quickly from the news.

Weapons Expert: The Nerve Gas Attack Described in White House Report Did Not Occur
The conclusion of this summary of data is obvious—the nerve agent attack described in the WHR [White House Report] did not occur as claimed. There may well have been mass casualties from some kind of poisoning event, but that event was not the one described by the WHR…  This raises troubling questions about how United States political and military leadership determined that the Syrian government was responsible for the alleged attack. It is particularly of concern that the WHR presented itself as a report with “high confidence” findings and that numerous high-level officials in the U.S. government have confirmed their belief that the report was correct and to a standard of high confidence.  More

Trump’s Syria strike clearly broke international law — and no one seems to care
President Donald Trump’s surprising decision to launch a cruise missile strike on Syria was sharply criticized by Russia as a “flagrant violation of international law.” While it might be tempting to dismiss this claim as mere Putin-esque propaganda, on this question at least, Russia is almost certainly correct. In the view of most international lawyers, the US strike on Syria is a crystal-clear violation of the UN Charter. So why doesn’t anybody, except Russia and some international lawyers, seem to care?  The uncomfortable answer seems to be that, at least with respect to this question — can a state use military force against a regime that uses banned weaponry against citizens? — international law simply doesn’t matter very much. And this suits the United States and the Trump administration just fine.  That may sound like an endorsement of lawlessness, or of a Trump administration foreign policy that may be driven by little more than one man’s whim, but it’s actually a worldview that both Democratic and Republican administrations have embraced.  More

America Is the World's Biggest Terrorist Organization—Why Is That So Hard to Understand?
It is always the ‘rogue state’ that is the threat to the world order – Iraq here, North Korea there. And in that ‘rogue state’ it is always the dictator who commands the entire monstrosity. Mockery is the guise with Kim Jong-un as it was with Saddam Hussein. These men have no taste: Saddam with his garish disco mustache and anachronistic military uniform and Kim with his New Wave haircut and his strangely out of proportion laughter. Threats are made to emanate from them – they itch to attack and are only held back by the democratic role of the United States, who sanctions the countries till they starve or patrols their waters with massive war ships to intimidate them into surrender. But the United States is not a threat. It is merely there to ensure that the real threats – Iraq then, North Korea now – are kept in check. The author, in other words, is always the Eastern Despot.   More IS NOT AN OPTION FOR KOREA
The United States and North Korea are like two “accelerating trains coming toward each other,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned last week. North Korea test-fired four ballistic missiles off the coast of Japan as thousands of South Korean, Japanese, and U.S. troops, backed by warships and warplanes, are currently engaging in massive military exercises, including the deployment of the Navy SEALS that killed Osama Bin Laden.  With no communication other than military posturing, Pyongyang is left to interpret Washington’s maneuvers as preparation for a pre-emptive strike. Given the political vacuum in South Korea following President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment, all tracks are heading towards one destination: war…  Although the fantasy of surgical strikes to topple brutal dictators has long intoxicated American military officials, they’ve been restrained by the sobering reality of such reckless action. In the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton considered a first strike on North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear reactor, the Pentagon concluded that even limited action would claim a million lives in the first 24 hours — and this was well before Pyongyang possessed nuclear weapons.  More

President Trump has flip-flopped many times during his first months in office. But none may be as consequential as his decision on April 18 to certify that Iran is abiding by the nuclear deal of 2015, paving the way for further waiving of sanctions. In just a few months, Mr. Trump has gone from promising to “tear up” the nuclear deal to allowing its extension. The administration has now said it will conduct a 90-day review of whether lifting sanctions — as required by the nuclear deal — will be in line with American national security interests. But that timeline is not long enough to save the deal and stop the United States and Iran from sliding dangerously back to a path toward war. There are a number of potential land mines on the near horizon. The first is in Congress, where a bipartisan effort is underway to introduce new sanctions on Iran that, despite the protestations of the legislation’s sponsors, would violate the terms of the nuclear agreement by adding new conditions onto the deal.   More

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Support hunger strikers at Tacoma immigration detention centre

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Dear friends,
We invite you to support this call to action from the NWDC Resistance by phoning the authorities listed below.
Thank you.
NWDC Resistance/Resistencia al NWDC - CALL TO ACTION
Hunger Strike Continues at Northwest Detention Center As GEO Retaliates With Worsening Food
Tacoma, WA 19 April 2017 – Today, over a dozen individuals detained at Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) continued a hunger strike to call attention to the abysmal conditions at the facility, which have only gotten worse since Trump took office. More immigrants plan to join the hunger strike this weekend.
Men and women detained at the facility have reported the quality of the food has deterioratedin the last few days, potentially in response to their activism.
The NWDC, which is located on a superfund site, is the largest immigrant detention center on the West Coast, caging over 1500 immigrants while awaiting civil deportation proceedings.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contracts with The GEO Group, a multinational private prison corporation, to run the facility, and hunger strikers aimed their demands at both the federal government and the private contractor. NWDC has been a frequent target of immigrant activists since a March 2014 hunger strike involving 1200 detainees first brought international notoriety to the immigration prison. 
Detention conditions have worsened under the Trump administration, triggering this latest strike, which started on April 10. Trump has staffed his deportation force with openly anti-immigrant officials with links to white supremacist organizations, leaving people detained with little choice but to put their bodies on the line to fight for their basic dignity.
Attorney General Jeff Session’s newly released memorandum calling for increased prosecutions of immigrants and their supporters, combined with a roll-out where he referred to immigrants as “filth,” highlights the continued need for local resistance to the federal deportation and detention dragnet
We need your support!! Call the City of Tacoma and ICE
Call the City of Tacoma’s Finance Department and urge them to revoke GEO Group’s Business License. In a March 2017 letter to GEO, Mayor Strickland noted that the City of Tacoma can revoke GEO’s business license if it is a “danger to the public health, safety and welfareof the individuals [detained] as well as the community as a whole.”
► Finance Department, Andrew Cherullo, Finance Director, +1 253.591.5800
Call ICE and demand that 1) they meet the Hunger Strikers Demands (see below) and 2) GEO Group not retaliate against hunger strikers. We have reports that strikers have been threatened with transfer to facilities away from their loved ones as punishment.
► Acting Field Director, Bryan S. Willcox
► Assistance Field Director (Detention): William Penaloza
► Facility Main Telephone: +1 253 779.6000
► Field Office Main Telephone Line: +1 206 835.0650
Hunger Striker’s Demands
▪ Change the food menu
▪ Lower commissary prices.
▪ Improve hygiene, including the ability to wash clothes with soap and water.
▪ Increase recreation time.
▪ Have schoolwork and other programs available to keep detainees occupied.
▪ Improve medical attention.
▪ Increase wages for working detainees.
▪ Help speed up the legal process for detainees
Maru Mora Villalpando, NWDC Resistance: and 206-251-6658