Friday, July 06, 2018

Friday News in Early July of 2018

Days ago, Sister Therese Patricia Okoumou climbed up the Statue of Liberty to protest migrant separation. She made a great point in her brave action that defending the rights of migrants is part of promoting human rights. This is an international issue not just an American issue. Black migrants suffer in Africa and in Europe. Latinx migrants suffer in America. Black undocumented immigrants exist too in America. She is from the Republic of the Congo and she is opposing the draconian zero-tolerance Trump immigration policy. Okoumou is a known fitness trainer and a 44 year old human being. She was part of the Rise and Resist protest group that wants to abolish ICE. ICE only existed during the early 21st century while others believe in the myth that ICE was established decades ago. During this time and generation, we will continue to defend the rights of the suffering. She is defending the rights of children being held in internment camps without their parents. That reality is the height of cruelty and anti-democratic values. Fundamentally, immigration rights are human rights. We always appreciate the strength, the wisdom, and the insights of this beautiful black woman. Therefore, we honor Sister Therese Patricia Okoumou's sacrifice and heroism.

Now, Scott Pruitt has resigned from the EPA as he should. Pruitt has tons of scandals and Pruitt is anti-environment. He allowed cuts to carbon emission standards and other legitimate regulations that protect our environment too. Scott Pruitt has 15 different investigations about his actions currently. He worked with lobbyists and spent thousands of dollars on things that have nothing to do with the EPA. Scott has been a disgraceful cabinet member and Trump is still praising him. People need clean air, clean water, and animal wildlife protection. Protecting the human lives and animal lives is more important than massive multinational corporate profit. Pruitt will go down in history as one of the most controversial cabinet members in American history. Environmental justice is one preeminent goal of our society. As for Putin, many people support him since they oppose American policies. I don't agree with American imperialism and torture, but I can't support Putin because of many reasons. One is that he is an authoritarian nationalist who used policies that violate the freedom of the press and free speech. Also, unlike the neo-cons, I don't believe that America should invade Russia militarily. We should oppose Putin on civil liberty grounds while recognizing the truth that we need to place our own house (as Americans) in order too.

Many of the neo-conservatives and conservatives are trying to glorify Reagan as some political "saint" since they oppose Trump. I oppose Trump and his agenda, but I will not sugarcoat the evil policies of Ronald Reagan either. Reagan, in 1965, described Medicaid recipients as "...a faceless mass, waiting for handouts." That was disrespectful of him. Reagan in 1966 said that he would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights Act was one of the greatest legislation in human history that promoted the federal government protection of human rights for black people including all Americans. He lied and accused the New Deal as being fascist in 1976 when the New Deal saved the lives of millions of Americans via compassionate programs. Reagan called Jefferson Davis (who was a racist Confederate traitor) a hero and he said that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was humiliating to the South. Reagan laid a wreath at a Nazi cemetery in Bitburg in 1985. Ronald Reagan was a stone cold bigot. Reagan used NGOs to try to infiltrate governments worldwide. Reagan's massive use of military spending and tax cuts for the super wealthy during his 2 terms caused an increase of the national deficit. Reagan sent $5 billion in aid to El Salvador, where right-wing leader Roberto D’Aubuisson was running death squads in the employ of wealthy landowners and the U.S.-trained military was conducting its own massacres of peasants. Not to mention that Reagan cut many services to urban communities and he was very silent on the AIDS situation until late in his Presidency. Reagan's supply side economic policies don't work to end poverty at all as financial studies have documented.

He talked about being against Communism and claiming to be for democratic freedoms, but he was the one who abhorred the democratic freedom of protest as shown by progressive activists during the 1960's and the 1970's. He condemned the Free speech movement and the Black Panthers (who fought police brutality) back during the 1960's. Also, Gorbachev deserves much credit in ultimately ending the Cold War plus the fact that the Soviet Union was already collapsing from within during the 1980's. Reagan caused almost 11,350 workers of the Air Traffic Controllers' union (approximately 70 percent) to be fired and barred from ever working in their profession again. Reagan alone didn't stop the Cold War. Tons of people did so. Not to mention that Stalinist Communism is antithetical to true socialism or true freedom. People like me were born during the Reagan years. People like me know what he was like, especially when Reagan saw the rise of the crack epidemic (and he endorsed the War on Drugs). By the end of his term, 138 Reagan administration officials had been convicted, had been indicted, or had been the subject of official investigations for official misconduct and/or criminal violations. In the final analysis, people should know the truth.

There was a report issued by the OECD or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on July 4, 2018. It found that millions of workers have stagnant wages while most of the recovery benefits the corporate elite. The Great Recession was the worst financial crash since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The OECD countries are 26 in Europe plus America, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Israel, and Turkey. These nations make more up than 60 percent of the world GDP in 2017. This group includes seven of the ten largest national economies excluding only Canada, India, and Brazil. It found that wages are stagnant with lower unemployment plus record job vacancies in the euro area, America, and Australia. The report is about 300 pages. The wages are lower, because of the effects of the 2008 crash (along with the proliferation of low wage and part time jobs). Many workers take low wage jobs after being laid off during the worst years of the economic crisis. The initial editorial states, “involuntary part-time employment has risen significantly in a number of countries since the crisis, and this has been accompanied by deterioration in the relative earnings of part-time workers.” The 2008 financial crisis was used by the capitalist class and government worldwide to cut back on the social programs beneficial to the working class. Full time positions with job protection and health plus pension benefits are increasingly being replaced with low wage jobs with lax benefits. Nominal wage growth has slowed from 4.8 percent per year before the financial crash to only 2.1 percent, less than half. Because of slowing inflation, real wage growth has fallen somewhat less, from 2.2 percent per year to 1.2 percent. But even this slowdown is colossal: a full percentage point per year, over the decade since the crash, accumulates to trillions of dollars in lost wage increases. The executive summary admits, “Real median wage growth in most OECD countries has not kept pace with labor productivity growth over the past two decades, partly reflecting declines in the share of value added going to labor—i.e., the labor share.” As the report states later, “If real median wages had perfectly tracked productivity growth over 1995-2014, they would have been 13 percent higher at the end of the period.” These facts prove that rising productivity growth won’t translate necessarily into higher wages and living standards. Economic inequality is growing and lower share of labor income are problems. The report mentioned,  “This, in turn, is contributing to a growing dissatisfaction by many about the nature, if not the strength, of the recovery; while jobs are finally back only some fortunate few at the top are also enjoying improvements in earnings and job quality." The report says that the growth of low wage and part time jobs contribute to the lax wage increases. The report notes, “There has a been a significant worsening of the earnings of part-time workers relative to that of full-time workers associated with the rise of involuntary part-time employment in a number of countries. Moreover, the comparatively low wages of workers who have recently experienced spells of unemployment, combined with still high unemployment rates in some countries, have pushed up the number of lower-paid workers, thereby lowering average wage growth.”  Social safety net programs like unemployment compensation are being eroded. The OECD report notes than only one-third of jobless workers were eligible for unemployment benefits overall. The figure for the United States would be far lower. This report proves that capitalist globalization doesn’t work to end poverty or to end economic inequality. The mobilization of the working class and poor in restructuring the economic system as a whole, in a revolutionary fashion, is needed to end this economic crisis worldwide.

By Timothy

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