Monday, December 24, 2018






In 2013, California lawmakers passed legislation that allowed illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses if they can prove to the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) their identity and state residency. The plan was one of the largest victories to date by the open borders lobby.… JOHN BINDER –

January 10 strike date set for 33,000 Los Angeles teachers

Last week, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) announced that it had set a strike date of January 10 for 33,000 teachers after failing to reach an agreement with the district after more than 18 months of negotiations.
The announcement came a few days after as many as 50,000 educators and their supporters marched in the nation’s second largest school district to demand increased wages, a reduction in class sizes and the hiring of nurses and other critical staff. Teachers in Oakland, Fremont and other California cities are also pressing for strike action as part of the resumption of teachers’ strikes, which saw statewide walkouts earlier this year in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and other states.
The demonstration in Los Angeles
Ever since the previous contract expired in June 2017, the UTLA has sought to prevent a walkout in defiance of a 98 percent strike mandate by rank-and-file teachers. This included tying teachers up in worthless state mediation and fact-finding schemes.
Even in his announcement of the deadline, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl made it clear that he would call off strike action if district officials gave the union some gesture to sell the members. “We will strike on January 10 unless we see an addressing of the crucial issues that shape education,” the UTLA president declared.
On the question of salary, the district had initially proposed a 3 percent increase retroactive to the 2017-2018 academic year along with a 3 percent increase in the next conditional upon the district’s financial health. The union has given its blessing to this insulting pay offer from the banker-turned school superintendent Austin Beutner, which is barely above the rate of inflation and will do nothing to relieve educators facing crushing housing, health care and debt servicing costs.
According to the December 19 press release, the union is opposed to the “unacceptable strings attached” to the pay raise, not the meager amount. This includes “making it harder to qualify for healthcare in retirement and requiring more work hours for already overworked educators.” There is little doubt that the UTLA is willing to crawl back from this position in order to prevent a strike.
From the beginning, the union has told teachers to place their confidence in a supposedly neutral fact-finding panel, which is headed by a former federal mediation official and includes an attorney from a pro-employer law firm and a negotiator for the UTLA’s parent organization, the California Teachers Association.
Teachers holding Socialist Equality Party placards
At the same time, the panel said an agreement based on the proposals of either side would lead to more spending cutbacks, and its chair has recommended a sharp decrease in retiree health care benefits to pay for any salary increases. “Making some adjustment for future teachers is warranted and it may help in the future to free up more money for salaries as opposed to diverting so much money to retiree health benefits.”
While the panel found only marginal differences in the bargaining positions of the two parties and recommended a quick resolution. While little separates the positions of the union, district and state officials, there is a vast gap between all of them and the aspirations of teachers and the needs of their students.
This underscores with the utmost urgency calls by the WSWS Teacher Newsletter for teachers to form rank-and-file committees independently of the trade unions to conduct a genuine fight.
In opposition to the UTLA’s efforts to isolate teachers, rank-and-file committees should expand the districtwide strike to all 30,000 school support staff and thousands of charter school instructors and staff.
At the same time, these committees should establish links of communication with broader sections of workers throughout Los Angeles and teachers in Oakland, Freemont and across the state to prepare a statewide strike. Rank-and-file committees should take the conduct of the struggle out of the hands of the UTLA and oversee all negotiations and contract votes to prevent any backroom deals.
According to its more recent strike handbook, the UTLA plans to pay teachers nothing for the first 10 days of the strike and then force teachers to apply for loans through the California Credit Union. Meanwhile the CTA is paying its president Eric Heins a $317,000 compensation package.
The UTLA has not called a walkout in three decades—the strike fund belongs to workers, not union bureaucrats. Rank-and-file committees should demand the payment of full pay and benefits for the duration of the strike.
Maria, who has taught in the district since 2002, recently told the World Socialist Web Site that her students come from all around the globe, including Mexico, Guatemala, Russia and Cambodia. “If we strike,” Maria said, “Beutner will say we don’t care about the children. But he’s always involved in secret meetings with business and charter schools. And then there’s the union—they also unionize the charter schools. How can they be with us if they’re for charters?”
The UTLA and CTA are aligned with the Democratic Party, which is no less an enemy of teachers and public education than the Republicans. Democrats like Governor Brown have overseen billions in tax cuts for big corporations and the rich, while systematically starving public education of vital resources. The state of California is now 43rd in the nation in per-pupil spending even though it is home to more than 140 billionaires and would the fifth largest economy in the world if it were its own country.
The unions are doing everything to prevent a real struggle that would immediately come into conflict with incoming governor Gavin Newsom, the Democratic supermajority in the state legislature and the Democrats who control the Los Angeles city government and school district. But such a struggle is what is necessary.
The fight to defend the right to public education and to eradicate poverty and other social ills that afflict students in Los Angeles demands the political mobilization of the working class against the capitalist profit system and both corporate-controlled political parties. What is required is a fight for socialism and vast redistribution of wealth to meet human need, not private profit.

Least-Educated State: California No. 1 in Percentage of Residents 25 and Older Who Never Finished 9th Grade; No. 50 in High School Graduates

By Terence P. Jeffrey | December 19, 2018 | 12:49 PM EST

California Gov. Jerry Brown and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) outside the U.S. Capitol, March 22, 2017. (Getty Images/Alex Wong)
( - California ranks No. 1 among the 50 states for the percentage of its residents 25 and older who have never completed ninth grade and 50th for the percentage who have graduated from high school, according to new data from the Census Bureau.
Texas ranks No. 2 for the percentage of its residents 25 and older who have never completed ninth grade and 49th for the percentage who have graduated from high school.
9.7 percent of California residents 25 and older, the Census Bureau says, never completed ninth grade. Only 82.5 percent graduated from high school.
8.7 percent of Texas residents 25 and older never completed ninth grade, and only 82.8 percent graduated from high school.
California and Texas—while having the highest percentages of residents 25 and older who never finished ninth grade and the lowest percentages who graduated from high school—are the nation’s two most populous states.
In fact, the 2,510,370 California residents 25 and older who, according to the Census Bureau, never finished ninth grade outnumber the entire populations of 15 other states.
In California, children are required to attend school from six years of age until they are 18. “California’s compulsory education laws require children between six and eighteen years of age to attend school, with a limited number of exceptions,” says the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, an agency of the California state government. (The National Center for Education Statistics also indicates that children in California are compelled by law to attend school from 6 to 18 years of age.)
Massachusetts ranks No. 1 for the percentage of its residents 25 and older—42.1 percent--who have earned at least a bachelor’s degree.
These rankings are based on data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 5-year estimates, which were released this month.
In the survey, the Census Bureau asks respondents to specify the level of educational attainment for each individual in their household. The question is: “What is the highest degree or level of school this person has COMPLETED. Mark (X) ONE box. If currently enrolled, mark the previous grade or highest degree received.”
The survey form then offers the respondent multiple options ranging from “no schooling completed” to “professional degree” or “doctorate degree.” If an individual has not earned a high school degree, the respondent is asked to specify the highest grade the individual actually completed—ranging from “nursery school” through “12th grade—NO DIPLOMA.”
The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey queries a random sample of more than 3.5 million U.S. households each year and publishes a one-year estimate for each year. The five-year estimate, the bureau says, “is a weighted average of the five one-year estimates.” The newly released five-year estimates are for the period from 2013 through 2017.
Nationwide, 5.4 percent of residents 25 and older have never finished ninth grade, according to the latest five-year estimates.
Ten states exceeded the nationwide level of residents 25 and older who have never finished ninth grade. These include: California (9.7 percent), Texas (8.7 percent), New York (6.5 percent), New Mexico (6.5 percent), Kentucky (6.1 percent), Nevada (5.9 percent), Arizona (5.9 percent), Mississippi (5.6 percent), Rhode Island (5.5 percent), and Louisiana (5.4 percent).
Wyoming—with 1.8 percent—had nation’s smallest percentage of residents 25 and older who never finished ninth grade.
In seventeen states, the percentage of residents 25 and older who at least graduated from high school was less than the nationwide percentage of 87.3 percent.
These seventeen states included: California (82.5 percent), Texas (82.8 percent), Mississippi (83.4 percent), Louisiana (84.3 percent), New Mexico (85 percent), Kentucky (85.2 percent), Alabama (85.3 percent), Arkansas (85.6 percent), Nevada (85.8 percent), West Virginia (85.9 percent), New York (86.1 percent), Georgia (86.3 percent), Tennessee (86.5 percent), South Carolina (86.5 percent), Arizona (86.5 percent), North Carolina (86.9 percent), and Rhode Island (87.3 percent).
Nationwide, 30.9 percent of residents 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
In nineteen states, the percentage with a bachelor’s degree or higher exceeds the national percentage. These nineteen states include both No. 14 California (32.6) and No. 9 New York (35.3), which respectively ranked No.1 and No. 3 for the percentage of residents 25 and older who never finished ninth grade.
The ten states with the highest percentage of residents 25 and older who earned a bachelor’s degree or higher are: Massachusetts (42.1 percent), Colorado (39.4 percent), Maryland (39 percent), Connecticut (38.4 percent), New Jersey (38.1 percent), Virginia (37.6 percent), Vermont (36.8 percent), New Hampshire (36 percent), New York (35.3 percent), and Minnesota (34.8 percent).
West Virginia—at 19.9 percent—has the lowest percentage of residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
In another seven states, the percentage of residents who have a bachelor’s degree or higher is less than 25 percent. They are: Mississippi (21.3 percent), Arkansas (22 percent), Kentucky (23.2 percent), Louisiana (23.4 percent), Nevada (23.7 percent), Alabama (24.5 percent) and Oklahoma (24.8 percent).
In California, according to the Census Bureau’s five-year estimates, the resident population 25 and older was 25,950,818. Of those individuals, 2,510,370—or 9.7 percent--never completed ninth grade.
Another 2,033,160 California residents 25 and older completed the ninth, tenth, eleventh or twelfth grade—but did not earn a high school diploma. Thus, a total of 4,543,530 California residents 25 and older—or a nation-leading 17.5 percent--have never graduated from high school.
Those 2,510,370 individuals 25 and older in California who never finished 9th grade outnumber the entire populations of 15 other states, according to the Census Bureau’s latest population estimates. These include: Alaska (737,438), Delaware (967,171), Hawaii (1,420,491), Idaho (1,754,208), Maine (1,338,404), Montana (1,062,305), Nebraska (1,929,268), New Hampshire (1,356,458), New Mexico (2,095,428), North Dakota (760,077), Rhode Island (1,057,315), South Dakota (882,235), Vermont (626,299), West Virginia (1,805,832), and Wyoming (577,737).
In Texas, the resident population 25 and older was 17,454,431. Of those individuals, 1,513,995—or 8.7 percent—never completed ninth grade. That outnumbers the populations of 11 states.

Ballot-harvesting California muscles to the

front of 2020 presidential primaries

Claiming it wants its votes counted first for a change, ballot-harvesting California has decided to muscle into the forefront of the 2020 presidential primaries, in order to have its votes counted first. And early-primary states, such as New Hampshire, are alarmed, according to this long, interesting piece by Politico's Natasha Korecki:
California’s newly instituted March 3 primary date is rattling the early presidential state map, as Democratic state and party officials grapple with the shadow cast by the nation’s most populous state.
The idea that millions of absentee and mail-in votes could be cast in advance of California’s actual primary election day — and the prospect that presidential candidates might bypass the early states entirely to concentrate on target-rich California — is finally beginning to sink in.
It shows what a muscular hardball game California is playing in attempting to foist itself and its political ways onto the national stage.
On the one hand, writing as a Californian, I am not that unhappy about this rousing of the giant California bear, given that states with very small populations in areas weakly connected to the rest of the country have such an outsized influence on the elections, and it's become a monopoly for them. Do I enjoy Republican candidates stating their great fealty to ethanol funding and other things beloved of Iowa's corn lobby? No, I don't, I am a free marketer and I don't think this kind of pork is a national interest. Yet we see it all the time, due to the outsized influence of Iowa on the elections. Worse still, the winnowing system of early primaries always left California with scraps to choose from. In 2012, I got stuck with just Mitt Romney on the primary ticket. I would have been delighted to vote for Herman Cain, Rick Perry, or Newt Gingrich who campaigned in earlier states but were out by the time California came around. Combine it with the fact that I live in a state that always goes blue and I get the sense that my vote doesn't count anymore; neither in the primaries, nor in the general.
California is just doing what the early states are doing, which is setting their primary early. If one state can do it, they all can, and soon enough, they all will, even-steven, with no more primaries spread out. What that's going to do is entice all states to set their primaries early, given the percieved "narrative" advantage. (There's also an advantage to being a late state if the primary is close.) But California is choosing the advantages of 'early' which could set the political narrative to a lot more heinous stuff than just ethanol funding. The green lobby and open borders advocates are salivating. The other voters in down-primary states may also react to whatever horror California may choose, but only if the early candidates are not all shaken out. What would be fair is a rotating primary system for a set set of date slots -- sometimes a small state gets first dibs, sometimes a large state.
The whole primarily system, premised on electoral college votes, was designed to make each state matter, and force candidates to pay attention to the votes in every state. That was why it was set up. I recall reading as a schoolkid that New Jersey didn't want to enter the union otherwise, given that New York would get all the attention at election time and squash the value of any New Jersey votes. The electoral college system was a bid to placate that concern. California's muscle-in to set the 'narrative' is more of a propaganda war move, than an actual end to the votes of small states, given that the electoral college has not been abolished, but rest assured, California's Democrats have that on their list, too. So you can see that California's muscle-in is rather creepy.
 The move though does have an interesting Achilles heel: The state is oh so fond of ballot-harvesting, a borrowing from Mexico's nasty style of patronage politics, which is illegal in most states. California's state Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, presides over a system in which Democratic operatives go house to house, collecting mail-in ballots in Democrat-registered or independent-registered households that many voters never asked for, 'helping' indifferent voters fill those kitchen-table ballots in, and then taking those ballots to the poll counters. They collect only the Democratic ballots on those kitchen tables and leave the Republican ones behind. In the last midterm, they used this system to keep turning in ballots until they got the result they wanted, flipping all of conservative Orange County's seats blue, including those of precincts where Republicans had been winning on election night. Everything, see, comes down to the ballot harvest and they will take all the time they can to ... 'count all the votes,' as they say.
That could mean that if California's central planners don't get the result they want in an early primary, they could just keep harvesting, and harvesting, until they do. Which would make California not such an early state primary after all. The Politico piece notes that near the bottom.
For California Republicans, that will be an interesting thing. Most likely, they will count the ballots quickly this time, given the likelihood that only the most extreme Democrats will vote in the primary without prompting and get the extreme result they want. The Republicans they won't care too much about, but the Republicans will matter, too. That fast-count, done in the name of setting the agenda, will stand in stark contrast to the slow count of the midterm - and undoubtedly, the general election in 2020.
The manipulation of the vote will be obvious enough to everyone. Funny how they count votes fast in California during the primary time and count votes slow in the general. Perhaps it will bring some momentum to a much-needed move to end ballot-harvesting in all 50 states.  

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