Monday, April 18, 2016

NARCOMEX IN MELTDOWN - Eighteen teachers jailed as police crack down on protests in Mexico

Eighteen teachers jailed as police crack down on protests in Mexico

"The Mexican ruling class, with the support of its US imperialist masters, is preparing similar massacres today. The government’s attempts to amend Article 11 of the Constitution to grant the president the power to impose marital law to crush strikes and protests, and its passage of the Atenco Law in the State of Mexico, show how the ruling class responds to social protest."

Eighteen teachers jailed as police crack down on protests in Mexico

By Neil Hardt
18 April 2016
Eighteen teachers were arrested in Chiapas on Friday as demonstrations spread across southwestern Mexico against the implementation of a right-wing federal education reform law. On Saturday, the ten men and eight women were transferred by airplane to a prison in Tepic, Nayarit where they are being held on federal charges.

The arrests were part of an overwhelming show of force by police against the thousands of teachers who marched in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacán, and Veracruz. Teachers set up road blocks in several cities and set fire to the city hall of San Cristobol de las Casas, Chiapas.
The protests are aimed at preventing the implementation of a right-wing education reform program passed by the federal government in 2013. Implementation of the law has been incomplete due to the widespread opposition to the reforms amongst teachers. The reform program revokes the teachers’ right to control hiring and firing and gives this power to the government. The reform plan also establishes a mechanism of testing teachers to facilitate mass firings, creates a system of government supervisors to monitor and report on teachers and decentralizes funding.

The reform law package was introduced by President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2012 and was immediately met with opposition of teachers. In May and June of 2015, the federal government was unable to impose exams on teachers due to protests and has been attempting to impose the programs ever since.

The outbreak of demonstrations was provoked when the Oaxacan state legislature met last Saturday in a secretive midnight session to ram through a new series of reforms aimed at bringing the state’s education laws into harmony with the new federal reforms.

Thousands of armed police mobilized against the teachers on Friday and fought street battles against teachers armed only with rocks and eggs. In San Cristobal de las Casas alone, 1,000 federal police, 400 state police and 100 special agents hurt dozens of teachers in the crackdown.

The Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) responded to the demonstrations by claiming that most classes were not cancelled and that most teachers remained on the job.

However, the Mexican ruling class is well aware of growing popular discontent over widespread inequality, corruption and state violence, and fears the possibility that opposition to the education reforms may spark broader social discontent. An April 13 opinion piece in the daily Excelsior noted with concern that “legal and political failures could incite extremists—or those that don’t have anything to lose—to create a radicalization like what is taking place in Guerrero.”

The outbreak of protests by teachers comes at a dangerous time for the Peña Nieto administration, which according to a recent poll is the least popular administration in 20 years, garnering the support of just 30 percent of Mexicans.

The teacher demonstrations follow protests last week by student-teachers (known as normalistas) in the state of Michoacan. On April 12, street battles broke out between youth and riot police after police attacked a blockade the normalistas set up on a highway. Four police and many students were hurt in the confrontation.

Sections of the Mexican ruling class are maneuvering to bring the longstanding opposition of teachers back into the acceptable framework of bourgeois politics. On March 21, the leadership of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) finalized a deal with National Regeneration Movement (Morena) leader and ex-Mayor of Mexico City Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Obrador has long served as a lightening rod for social opposition in Mexico, and his political maneuvers serve as a key method by which the ruling class seeks to diffuse social tensions and forestall social revolution. The CNTE-Morena alliance is intended to give Obrador an increased space to maneuver and channel opposition to education reform into Morena’s 2016 election campaign in the state of Oaxaca.

In announcing the deal, Obrador issued hollow and demagogic statements against Peña Nieto’s education reform and proclaimed that the CNTE-Morena alliance “angers the mafia of power.” Obrador proposes the election of a “democratic government” led by his party. Such a government, Obrador said, would apply a reform plan put together by the Oaxacan state government and the CNTE, known as the Plan for the Transformation of Education in Oaxaca (PTEO).

In 2010, the CNTE endorsed Citizens’ Movement candidate Gabino Cue, who won the Oaxacan gubernatorial election in 2010 and has since played a key role in helping the federal government ram through its education reform plan in Oaxaca. The CNTE has called Cue a “traitor” in an attempt to cover up its own bankrupt deals with the Mexican ruling class aimed at protecting their dues base and ensuring that their membership’s militancy is kept within acceptable limits.

Mexican teachers, especially in the poorer southwest region, have a long history of militancy. During a 2006 teachers strike, police opened fire on strikers taking part in nonviolent demonstrations, provoking mass social opposition. The Mexican government organized death squads and called in the army to crush the strike, leaving 27 teachers and protesters dead.

The Mexican ruling class, with the support of its US imperialist masters, is preparing similar massacres today. The government’s attempts to amend Article 11 of the Constitution to grant the president the power to impose marital law to crush strikes and protests, and its passage of the Atenco Law in the State of Mexico, show how the ruling class responds to social protest.

Mexican teachers cannot rely on sections of a capitalist class that respond to their protests with bullets and bombs to change the education through reform plans like the PTEO. For all his populist phraseology, Obrador only serves to sow illusions in the bourgeois political system by juxtaposing his call for “democratic” bourgeois government to the government of the current “mafia of power.” These meaningless terms cover over the basic class character of the Mexican state and serve to disarm workers, paving the way for future state massacres.

Mexican teachers and normalistas do not lack militancy or courage, but in the absence of an independent, socialist political party of the working class, they are left defenseless to betrayals by the CNTE and attacks by the military and police.


"Eliminate the current provision that disregards the wages of illegal aliens in the household in order to determine eligibility for food stamps, leading to families that include illegal aliens often getting more in food stamps than comparable citizen or Legal-resident families."

A Pen and a Phone
79 immigration actions the next president can take


WASHINGTON, DC (April 11, 2016) — A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies provides 79 specific immigration actions the next president can take on his own to return credibility to the nation's immigration system. The goal would be to undo many of President Obama's own unilateral actions (both the legal ones and the illegal ones), but also to make other improvements pending more basic changes requiring legislation from Congress.

Mark Krikorian, the Center's executive director, said, "Civil rights pioneer Barbara Jordan noted that credibility in immigration policy is simple: 'Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave.' These 79 recommendations would be a huge step toward that goal."

View the entire report at:

The Center's report recommends policy changes, both big and small, impacting lawful permanent residents, nonimmigrant entrants, and illegal aliens. The list of 79 actions relate to asylum and refugee claims, worksite enforcement, benefit fraud, national security, crime, and other areas.

The recommendations include:

  • Rescind all outstanding "prosecutorial discretion" policies that result in systematic non-enforcement of the law;

  • Eliminate the "Priority Enforcement Program" and reinstitute Secure Communities;

  • Restore regular assessments for fraud in USCIS benefits programs (green cards, etc.);

  • Deny asylum to any alien who could have sought asylum in countries through which he has traveled en route to the United States;

  • Reduce the standard period short-term visitors are permitted to stay to 30 days (down from 180 days) unless the traveler provides documentation or other justification for a longer stay;

  • Require at least 20 percent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent hours dedicated to locating and arresting visa overstays;

  • Direct executive branch agencies to deny allocation of H (work) visas to employers that lay off citizens or resident aliens in order to replace them with foreign workers. Direct additionally that the visas be revoked should layoffs of pre-existing workers occur within six months after arrival of H visa workers;

  • Direct that no unaccompanied minors be turned over to relatives who are illegally in the United States unless the relatives surrender themselves for processing and initiation of immigration court proceedings;

  • Selectively prosecute relatives who pay to smuggle unaccompanied minors into the United States;

  • Require that a condition of all federal grant monies given to state or local governments is that they, and the contracting employers or sub-recipients of that grant money, whether as a pass-through or for any other purpose, must use E-Verify for all their employees;

  • Require DHS and its subordinate agencies to not issue "certifications" of criminal aliens in state or local jails of sanctuary jurisdictions for purposes of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), thus removing the underpinning by which the Department of Justice provides millions of dollars in federal SCAAP funding to these non-cooperating jurisdictions;

  • Cease issuing "exemptions" (waivers) to known terrorists and supporters of terrorism, individually or by group, that permit them to enter the United States as immigrants, asylees, or refugees;

  • Eliminate the current provision that disregards the wages of illegal aliens in the household in order to determine eligibility for food stamps, leading to families that include illegal aliens often getting more in food stamps than comparable citizen or legal-resident families.


"Under the Obama administration, the Democrats have spearheaded the attack on wages and benefits for higher paid workers as  part of an overall transfer of wealth to the financial elite."

Whiteout Press

Independent news at its best. If it's blacked-out, covered-up or censored, you can find it here!

March 23, 2016

Statistic of the Week: The amount of assets/wealth the average adult has in each country:

Belgium - $150,348

UK - $126,472
Norway - $119,634
Japan - $96,071
France - $86,156
Canada - $74,750
Netherlands - $74,659
USA - $49,787
-from Credit Suisse via Institute for Policy Studies


State Map: Number of Immigrants and Their Minor Children

By Steven Camarota and Bryan Griffith, CIS Map, March 28, 2016

Details: The Center recently released an analysis of December 2015 government data indicating that more than 61 million immigrants and their American-born children under age 18 now live in the United States. The numbers represent a complete break with the recent history of the United States. As recently as 1970, there were only 13.5 million immigrants and their young children in the country, accounting for one in 15 U.S. residents.

CIS has produced two interactive maps from the report, creating a state level graphic of the number of immigrants by share in the years 1970, 2000, and 2010 as well as a state level growth of immigrants and their minor children.



"The Brown administration has also implemented cuts to food stamps and affordable housing programs. All of these measures doubtless contributed to rising poverty rates among California seniors."

Poverty among California seniors rising despite economic “recovery”

Poverty among California seniors rising despite economic “recovery”
By Adam Mclean
4 April 2016
According to a recent Sacramento Bee review of US census data for the year 2014, the number of California seniors living in poverty has nearly doubled between 1999 and 2014, to a total of 520,000 in poverty today.

As of 2014, about 16 percent of Californians live under the federal poverty line ($11,880 in 2016). For a retired individual, the poverty line is as low as $11,400, qualifying some 520,000 seniors as living in poverty. However a newer measure, called the Supplemental Poverty Measure, first used by the US census for the year 2010, tracks additional factors such as prices and taxes and is generally considered to give a more realistic picture of the degree of economic hardship. The 2014 census found that the California poverty rate using this measure was 23.4 percent– around 1 in 4, the highest rate in the nation.

According to this measure, of California’s 39 million people, nearly 10 million are in poverty.
Most of the seniors in question live primarily off of social security income, sometimes with a small pension, and many are even homeless. But with a high cost of living in many areas, an income of less than several thousand dollars per month is often not enough to cover even basic necessities such as rent, food, and medication.

When she was growing up, Faye Duncan (80) told the Bee, “There never was a question whether you’re going to have a place to live.” Emphasizing the poor state of housing for the elderly, she reported having to wait “a year and a half to get in here,” referring to an affordable housing complex. Describing her quality of life, she said tearfully, “I’m in pain 90 percent of the time. And I mean pain.”

Shannon Stevens, an intake specialist at the Maryhouse women’s shelter in Sacramento, stressed, “There’s no housing available for them because of the lack of affordable housing.” Speaking of the vulnerable conditions for the elderly, she noted: “And then there’s also the issue of physical health issues that come with a great expense for prescription medications.”

Especially in the larger cities, rent in California is notoriously high. A full third of the seniors who live in rental units find themselves spending over half of their income on rent. It is no accident that poverty rates are greater in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where rents are higher.

Add to this the increasing price of food, plus, according to the AARP, an increase in real terms of common prescription drugs used by seniors by more than 100 percent since 2005, and it becomes nearly impossible to get by on many incomes. Given that increasing prices are among the more immediate sources of impoverishment, the figure of 520,000 seniors in poverty in California is likely a conservative estimate.

Gary Passmore, the director of the Congress of California Seniors, said, “People who are turning 65 over the next two decades are generally going to be worse off than people who are retired today. … The average 70-year-old today has fewer assets because of the recession and typically is less likely to have retirement income than their counterparts 15 years ago.”

Rather than implement measures to reverse these disastrous trends, Democrats and Republicans in California are pursuing policies aimed at codifying these conditions as the new normal.

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the state pension fund CalPERS, the largest public pension fund in the US, registered losses. Unlike the major banks, which were promptly bailed out, CalPERS’ losses were used as a lever to further attack pensions. The administration of governor Arnold Schwarzenegger responded to the crisis by implementing a two-tier pension structure in which newer pensioners contribute more and receive less. His administration also cut employer and state contributions, putting more of the burden on workers.

A few years later, under the administration of Democrat Jerry Brown, new attacks on pensions came in the form of increasing the retirement age from 55 to 67 for the majority of new public employees. The Brown administration has also implemented cuts to food stamps and affordable housing programs. All of these measures doubtless contributed to rising poverty rates among California seniors.

Today, CalPERS does not have the funds needed to meet its pension obligations, and has unfunded liabilities of over $70 billion.

More recently, the Obama administration moved to slash defined benefit plans for the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund, a move that marks a dramatic escalation in the drive to dismantle pension benefits.

At local and municipal levels, the Democratic Party has been no less severe than the Republicans in the drive to dismantle pension and social programs. Chuck Reed, the ex-mayor of San Jose, and a Democrat, has twice proposed pension reform bills that would eliminate constitutional protections for pensioners in the state.

The cities of Stockton and San Bernardino have both been taken into Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy proceedings, and the San Bernardino proceedings are still ongoing. As in the case of Detroit, municipal bankruptcies have been used to undermine obligations to pay retiree benefits such as pensions and health care.

The doubling of the poverty rate for California seniors exposes the claims by the Obama administration that the United States is in the midst of an “economic recovery.” Instead, the economic crisis is reflected in deteriorating conditions for the most vulnerable sections of society.

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