We shouldn't be fooled by the bosses' debate over the timing and tactics of the oil war. Basically, it reflects the squabbles developing since 9/11 between the liberals and the Bush White House. The liberals represent the Eastern Establishment of old line, Rockefeller-dominated energy giants (Exxon Mobil, Chevron, et al.) and financial houses (J.P. Morgan Chase, Citibank, et al.). Dissatisfied with the Bush gang's performance on every front, they're trying to seize control of "homeland security" -- their name for a police state (see CHALLENGE, 7/3). They're also cleaning house on the economic front (see page 2).
Now the same liberal rulers are moving to take over foreign policy and the next phase of U.S. imperialism's permanent oil war. Invading Iraq may require a minimum of 250,000 troops and possibly heavy casualties. If Saddam Hussein is ousted, U.S. troops will likely have to dig in for a long, expensive and probably violent occupation. The liberals want to avoid a repetition of the rebellions within the military and the anti-war uprisings that occurred in the U.S. during the Vietnam War. To do this, they must win public opinion, especially among workers, soldiers and youth, to support this invasion. "There may be a compelling case to be made for war with Iraq," editorializes the New York Times (8/3), [but] the administration has not yet made it."
Two leading scholars at the Brookings Institution, a key think-tank of the liberal imperialists, urge "a much tougher inspections regime with immediate demands on Hussein to reveal his illicit weapons so we can destroy them and a clear, multilateral promise to go to war if he thwarts us even one time." [Emphasis ours -- Ed.] ("Give It One More Try Before War," Philip H. Gordon, Michael O'Hanlon, Los Angeles Times, 8/1).
In other words, find or plant a "smoking gun" anywhere in Iraq and use it as a cover to invade. The main difference between Bush and his liberal critics boils down to a choice between Big Lies.
Over the last few weeks, the Times and the Washington Post released government "leaks" about possible invasion plans. The purpose is to underscore the liberals' displeasure with Bush & Co. and to create the illusion of serious debate about the war, as well as take the power over war out of Bush's hands. Another pair of Brookings intellectuals warns Bush about acting "democratically": "Congress...has a somber constitutional responsibility not merely to debate [war with Iraq] but to go on record -- with a vote explicitly authorizing the use of force." ("No Presidential War," Ivo Daalder and James M. Lindsay, Washington Post, 7/31)
Whether the liberals or the Bush gang win out, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi soldiers, workers and children will die. Street-to-street fighting, with many U.S. casualties may well be in the cards. Saudi Arabia -- filled with mass protests and assassination attempts unreported in the U.S. media -- could fall into civil war. The contradictions will sharpen between U.S. imperialism and all its rivals. The Chinese have a vital stake in building their own Persian Gulf oil empire. The Russians' present love-fest with Washington is purely a marriage of temporary convenience. Imperialist wars always lead to consequences the imperialists can't foresee or prevent.
The most important of these consequences should be the sustained growth of our Party internationally. Bosses' war has always given the working class an opportunity to build its own revolutionary forces. The next oil war will do the same. Exposing the deadly role of the liberals is decisive. By sharpening the class struggle, we can win workers away from them.
The latest to benefit is billionaire investor Warren Buffet, whose Berkshire Hathaway company has tight ties to the Rockefeller interests.
A Berkshire Hathaway unit, Midway Energy Holdings, has announced plans to buy the Northern Gas Company, a 16,000-mile natural gas pipeline that once belonged to Enron. When Enron went belly-up, destroying the life savings of thousands of workers, the pipeline went originally to Dynegy for $1.5 billion. But Dynegy had its own problems and Establishment moguls like Buffett are feasting on the spoils. Buffet is paying Dynegy nearly $600 million less than Dynegy's purchase price for the pipeline.
As CHALLENGE reported (8/7), the Enron and telecom scandals are giving the biggest bosses an excuse to "aggressively seek undervalued assets owned by troubled...companies" (New York Times, 7/30). This tightens the Eastern Establishment's grip on key assets (including the banks that financed the Enrons), helps maximize profits, and consolidates the liberals' hold on economic policy.
Buffet has significant investments in Coca-Cola and the Washington Post, two of the first companies to come clean on reporting executives' stock options as an expense. Stock options have been a major aspect of the recent scandals.
Buffett also joined the Rockefellers in demanding that Bush not repeal the estate tax. This tax confiscates upstarts' wealth while giving the Establishment the incentive to funnel tax-deductible money into foundations they control which significantly influence economic and foreign policy to serve their interests.
These shenanigans are an exercise of state power, which always serves the interests of the dominant capitalists. Buffet's power play clearly demonstrates that government can never be neutral or above the class struggle. The biggest billionaires make out like bandits, the weaker ones see their loot confiscated while workers' hard-earned pensions go up in smoke.
Senate hearings revealed that these two huge banks packaged the Enron debt as something called "credit derivatives" and sold them on to other pension funds like the California Teachers pension and the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association. Thus, Enron's crash wouldn't take these banks down or even damage their profits. Meanwhile these other workers' pension funds lost hundreds of millions in taking on these "credit derivatives" with the belief their pension funds would prosper based on the then "sky-high" value of Enron stock.
Citi and Chase helped devise the "prepays" (loans disguised as trades) and other devices which concealed the shape Enron and WorldCom were in. When one astonished Chase executive sent an E-mail with the message, "5 bn [billion] in prepays!!!!!!!" the answer came back, "Shut up and delete this E-mail."
So these big banks become the winners in this swindle, still another reason to dump a system that exists based on screwing workers.
[All information from Counterpunch, 8/5]
(According to the Times of London (7/29) a draft United Nations report charges that the air strike by helicopter gunships was completely unprovoked and that the U.S. has been trying to cover it up. Initially, the U.S. Command claimed its aircraft had drawn "enemy" artillery fire. But the UN "investigators found no weapons, `no corroboration' on the ground that the U.S. had been fired on." The Times report says U.S. forces "arrived on the scene very quickly after the air strikes and `cleaned the area,' removing evidence of `shrapnel, bullets and traces of blood.' Women on the scene had their hands tied behind their backs.")
A spokesman for the Army Special Forces Command said, "It would be stretching matters to link the ...killings [of the 4 wives] to service in Afghanistan." (New York Times, 7/27) But these "elite" forces are trained to an extreme degree to kill in the service of U.S. imperialism. Last June, Army Private Matt Gluckenheimer told the Ithaca (N.Y.) Journal that in "Operation Anaconda," "We were told there were no friendly forces. If there was anybody there, they were the enemy. We were told specifically, that if there were women and children to kill them."
These soldiers are entrenched "in a military life of obeying orders, masking emotion and being trained to kill....Two wives were shot in the head, one was stabbed 50 times and another strangled....[In the military] divorce rates and domestic violence are twice the national average," (New York Post, 8/4)
To say that being ordered to indiscriminately kill thousands of Afghan civilians -- and "specifically women and children" -- has no relation to murdering their wives is the real "stretch." Truly, the U.S. "war on terror" is in itself the height of savage, fascist terrorism.
The Administration has threatened to invoke a Taft-Hartley injunction to halt a strike for 80 days. "Other options include running the ports with US Navy personnel, moving to break up the union's coastwide bargaining unit or backing legislation that would restrict the union's ability to call a strike." (LA Times, 8/5) Union officials admit they've never seen such a hardball stance before.
A Bush "Labor Department official confirmed that the options were...in the context of a job action occurring during wartime" (Our emphasis, Ed.).
"We have been very candid," the official said. "We have told them if they act in a manner that is disruptive, we will use any means necessary to make sure our troops in the field get what they need." (LA Times, 8/5). That "field" may soon become the slaughter of masses of workers in Iraq.
West coast dockworkers have been working without a contract since July 1. "We offered him [the owners' negotiator] everything he asked for," said Steve Stallone, a spokesman for the International Longshoremen's and Warehousmen's Union (ILWU), which represents 10,500 dockworkers up and down the West Coast. "He gave us nothing. Zero. Zip, zilch." (Oakland Free Press, 7/22) In fact, the union's offer was the most extensive job concession package since the 1962 agreement, which let containerization in the door.
Liberal Senators say the Bush Administration should let the parties "bargain in good faith." Bush wants to disregard the unions; the liberals want to use them to win the workers to fascism and war. But both agree on breaking any strike with the military.
Some union organizers emphasize that the shipping companies are all "foreign-owned" -- claiming that's why they're attacking the workers. But U.S. bosses attack workers here and worldwide just as hard, including strike-breaking.
The main fight is over automation, jobs and jurisdiction. The union offered proposals which would boost productivity and reduce longshore clerk jobs 30%, eliminating 600 of the 2,100 total -- all rejected by the shippers, who want to bar the door to jobs for younger and future workers with a "promise" of no layoffs for current workers.
This resembles the deal the once militant, left-led ILWU accepted many years ago when it agreed to job-cutting technology (containerization) as long as the then-working longshoremen weren't laid off. This followed years of militant dock strikes -- including the 1934 Bay Area General Strike which first established the ILWU. Longshoremen had always fought both for their own jobs and in solidarity with workers around the world (they refused to load arms to attack the then-socialist Soviet Union in 1919).
Ports from San Diego to Seattle move about $300 billion worth of goods annually, about 7% of the GDP, and support 1.4 million jobs. (LA Times, 8/5) The Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex is a cornerstone of Southern California's largest industry, international trade, involving 450,000 jobs.
"With Pacific Rim trade projected to double in the next decade, shipping lines complain that West Coast ports won't be able to keep up unless they catch up with their more automated Asian peers." (LA Times, 8/06) The bosses want to lower conditions here, not raise them in Asia. Workers need international solidarity to answer the bosses' attacks worldwide, not the pitting of workers in Asia and here against each other.
PLP urges workers and students to back the dockers' fight for jobs in defiance of the bosses' war plans. We urge sailors and soldiers not to scab. The capitalist profit system uses technology to cut jobs and lower wages. The minor tactical differences between the Bush Administration and the liberal Democrats amount to disagreements about how to shove the bosses' demands down the workers throats -- the liberals want a smile and "worker inclusion" along with a billy club. But both gangs agree profits are in the national interest -- and to hell with workers' jobs. This patriotic "national interest" is the bosses' interest!
In the current period of increasing fascism and preparations for more oil war, workers must break with the bosses' politicians, their patriotism and their laws which attack our class. Now and in the future, workers need a communist party that fights for the interests of the working class. Under communism -- without bosses and profits -- automation will make all workers' lives better.
Caught with their pants down, the union howled in denial. You could expect this protest from union headquarters since "job security" was supposed to be our number one contract demand. Ironically, the union supposed "answer" was worse than Mulally's original claim. "We're looking at being partners in creating value -- or adversaries who will be fighting over an ever-shrinking pie," warned IAM strategic-resources director Steve Sleigh (Business Week, 8/08). Read: build bosses' profits.
Always a loser, collaboration with the bosses is just ridiculous during the present crisis of overproduction in commercial aerospace. Airlines have parked nearly 2,000 unneeded planes in the deserts of California and Arizona during the last year. Since producing aircraft is not profitable in this climate, the company has spent $10 billion -- of the capital we workers produced -- since 1997 buying back its own shares, in what appears to be a futile effort to inflate stock prices.
These periodic capitalist crises stem from production for profit. The only way off this treadmill is production based on the needs of the working class. But this requires a radical, permanent change in the system; it requires a communist revolution.
"A lot of people who never in their lives even considered socialism or communism will be talking about it now," predicted a friend in the company cafeteria. The Party's prime job, especially during this contract battle with its potential for heightened class struggle, is to make our friend's prediction come true. Circulating this article can help.
Workers Make The Best
What caused this worker, who has only the thinnest contact with the Party, to make this prediction? Capitalism's contradictions are not concepts reserved for study by political scientists. They express themselves in concrete attacks on our class: in this case, the wholesale purging of a generation from the workplace.
Honest political scientists will tell you the need for the U.S. ruling class to maintain its worldwide dominance -- in the face of potential imperialist rivals -- is what's driving world events. The bosses' strategy to maintain this dominance is constant pre-emptive war against these rivals, and building fascist oppression to counter the inevitable resistance at home. The union's call for partnership with the bosses to preserve "American jobs" fits nicely into this bosses' strategy.
Maintaining the U.S. empire requires attacking workers here and aboard. The Pentagon recently commissioned a new Defense Science Board task force on maintaining the U.S. arms industry's competitiveness. "Competitive outsourcing could be the answer," concluded chair Philip Odeen (Aerospace Daily, 2/3/2001). So our supposed "partners" are planning to eliminate our jobs to maintain their economic and political dominance.
Communists know capitalism must make it worse for us. We must then lay the groundwork for revolutionary understanding and solutions. Aggressively building these ideas and forces while fighting worsening layoffs and massive unemployment will expose the union leaders' "partnership" hoax and offer us the alternative to the system's war and fascism: communist production for working-class need.
The last few years have seen fierce battles against the oil company. Several times youth from the Ijow ethnic group have seized oil installations and kidnapped oil executives, while demanding jobs. Then, on July 9, hundreds of women from the Itsekeri ethnic group surrounded all the company gates at Escravos site (meaning slaves in Portuguese), barring anyone from entering or leaving. On July 17, Ijow women of all ages, up to 80-year-old grandmas, joined together to protest at, and then occupy, four Chevron facilities for three weeks. Chevron finally agreed to provide jobs and build hospitals and schools.
For years there have been many boss-provoked clashes between the Ijow and Itsekeri groups, but now they've united against their common enemy for the common goal of jobs and better conditions for the local population.
Other oil companies in the region, like Royal Dutch Shell, have a similar rotten record to Chevron's. For 30 years Shell refused to share its electricity with a local village of 100 people, saying it was the Nigerian government's responsibility. Shell separated its electric plant from the locals with a fence. The Nigerian rulers, mostly corrupt politicians and generals, did nothing.
Recently, a U.S. State Department delegation met with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to discuss raising Nigeria's oil production. Nigeria, the world's 7th largest oil producer, supplies 15% of U.S. oil imports. If an invasion of Iraq disrupted imports from the Persian Gulf, U.S. rulers want to guarantee plenty of oil from other sources.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church, representing the pro-European Vatican, has denounced the U.S. oil company pillaging. The Catholic bishops of West and Central Africa met in Equatorial Guinea to denounce the disparity between oil company profits and the misery of the people. The bishops charged such profits have financed the arming of local militias in several countries, fueling civil wars.
As world imperialism gears up for more wars to control the flow and profits of oil, workers and their allies must also prepare to not only fight for jobs and against pollution but also to fight to destroy the capitalist system that produces such vultures.
The Pope addressed hundreds of thousands of youth in Toronto, mumbling something to the effect that it's bad to screw children physically and mentally. As CHALLENGE readers know, liberal groups in the U.S., Boston College (BC) and the New York Times-owned Boston Globe are leading the attack on pedophile priests. The man who launched the anti-Vatican push at BC was the head of the college's Board of Trustees, Geoffrey Boisi, VP of JP Morgan Chase, which is Exxon-Mobil's leading stockholder and a major force in the Eastern Establishment. This campaign is really aimed at getting the U.S. Catholic Church solidly behind the U.S. imperialist rulers' plan for endless oil wars and undermining the Vatican's pro-European imperialist tilt.
Millions turned out to see the Pope in Guatemala and Mexico, where pro-U.S. born-again Protestant groups are growing. Guatemalan President Portillo is a member of the Efrain Montt Party, led by the military strong man turned born again preacher General Montt. He ruled Guatemala in the '80s, backed by Reagan and Papa Bush. His paramilitary death squads massacred thousands of Indians. Of course, when it comes to killing Indians the Catholic Church is up there with the best of them. Millions were killed beginning with the landing of Columbus colonizers in the "New World."
The Pope sainted a Guatemalan man. Then in Mexico he made the mythical Indian religious man Juan Diego a saint. But Juan Diego never existed, as even the Jesuits have written. This demonstrates that the Church will openly lie, contradicting its own researchers, to keep Indian people accepting their exploitation and praying "for a better life to come."
The Pope beatified the two so-called Oaxaca martyrs. They were hung in the year 1700 for being stoolpigeons, telling the Catholic Inquisition that pagan activities were occurring among Zapotec Indians in Oaxaca.
"...Older Zapotecs, consider the Church's declaring these men `blessed' an offense against native peoples whom the Spanish empire stripped of their land and culture, leaving them in poverty that persists today. Members of this camp believe the true martyrs were the 15 people killed by colonial forces as punishment...Spanish soldiers beheaded the victims and placed heir heads along a road leading to San Francisco Cojonos as a warning to others. The punishment... is still a deep-seated wound for many of Oaxaca's Zapotec Indians." (TheNewsMexico.com, 8/2).
As the European and U.S. imperialist camps use religion to defend and kill for their interests, workers and youth must remember Karl Marx's maxim, "Religion is the opiate of the masses."
Everything of value, including health care, is produced by workers' sweat and blood. The bosses need racism to keep workers under control through divide and conquer. Minority workers are paid less and discriminated against in order to make extra profits, and keep workers divided.
Why are the bosses increasing their attacks on workers? The economic underpinnings of capitalism are deteriorating. The U.S. ruling class, in a struggle against its competitors, is about to invade Iraq for control of the world's oil supply. The biggest bosses are tightening their grip by eliminating any opposition to their plans for war and fascism (police state). All pretexts of "rights" are being replaced by the rule of force and intimidation. Our job is to organize for communist revolution and end this oppressive system.
We have no union here so we must depend on each other to fight firings and injustices. When we oppose such firings, we're fighting for our class interests against our class enemy, the ruling class and its junior partners at Advocate. A united working class is a necessary step toward building a communist society.
The bosses' media and Bush hypocritically turned this event into a "feel good" saga of "what makes America strong," ready to transform that sentiment straight into backing the rulers' plan for its oil war in Iraq. But Bush, his bosses and their media avoided the actual cause of the "accident," a direct result of the Quecreek mine owners seeking maximum profits through primitive and unsafe practices.
The bosses didn't conduct either of two standard procedures that would have detected the underground water that flooded the shafts and trapped the nine miners. Either a two-dimensional seismographic study of the area or drilling probing holds would have alerted the miners that they were working only four feet from the flooded abandoned mine. And the Pennsylvania department for mine "safety" didn't require either procedure in approving the company's request to operate so close to abandoned mines. It was a disaster waiting to happen. Moreover, the company-supplied maps of the area were 50 years old! No wonder several of the freed miners vow never to return to the mines.
All this resulted from a 20-year mine-owner offensive, backed by the government, to close or break union mines and open non-union scab mines. This was their reaction to the miners defying Democratic President Jimmy Carter's Taft-Hartley injunction in the 1978 national miners' strike. In 1979, there were 6,237 working miners in Somerset County. By 1998, there were only 803. Wages fell by 25%. The proportion of young children living in poverty reached 20%.
Once the smaller, non-union mines replaced the larger, unionized ones, pockets of coal were targeted that the larger mine owners found unprofitable. These were called "dog holes" by the miners because they were among the most dangerous. Quecreek is one such mine.
The United Mine Workers (UMW) became a "trusted partner" in this bosses' offensive, agreeing to wage-cuts, mass layoffs and work-rules changes jeopardizing miners' safety to help the operators become "competitive in the new global market." Quecreek is one result of this partnership.
This class collaboration reached its height in the UMW's deal with Consolidated Coal, a top-ten mining company. The UMW "allowed" Consol to open non-union mines if it gave some jobs to union miners. In exchange, the company deducted union dues from the miners' paychecks, even though they were no longer covered by a union contract! Well, under capitalism business is business, whether for mine boss or union boss.
The example of cooperation, sharing and solidarity that the Quecreek miners and their rescuers set in this event is the kind to follow in fighting for a communist society that puts the class interests of workers first and puts the bosses six feet under.
So there you sit. And how much blood was shed
That you might sit there. Do such
stories bore you?
Well, don't forget that others sat before you who later sat on people.
Keep your head!
Your science will be valueless, you'll find
And learning will be sterile, if inviting
Unless you pledge your intellect to
Against all enemies of all mankind.
Never forget that men like you got hurt
That you might sit here, not the other lot.
And now don't shut your eyes, and don't desert
But learn to learn, and try to learn for what.
In reality, Sweeney is speaking for the very bankers and brokers he appears to be condemning. As a member of Rockefeller's Council on Foreign Relations, Sweeny has been the loyal servant of the main wing of U.S. imperialism. They are using the current economic crisis to discipline their competitors and consolidate their control of the economy. Enron, WorldCom and the others are easy targets that are being used to make ExxonMobil and Citicorp look good, so we'll support their plans for war in Iraq and fascism at home, and accept mass layoffs, racism, give-backs and strike-breaking.
The AFL-CIO leadership is on the bosses' side. They defend capitalism while promising "reforms." Sweeney says he wants corporate "standards of decency." (Wall Street Journal, 7/30) But workers' and bosses' interests can never be "aligned." Bosses can never be "decent" towards workers. Our interests are diametrically opposed. The bosses steal most of the value we produce. A corporation's existence is based on squeezing as much labor out of workers as possible at the least possible cost. The tighter the squeeze, the higher the bosses' profits. The bosses who squeeze the most drive their less efficient competitors out of business.
Sweeney would disarm us with his "class alignment" and "decency" strategy, leading workers to support the rulers' oil wars against the interests of the international working class. Sweeney's campaign is "No More Business As Usual." We say, "No More Business," period.
According to recent revelations, the plan -- called Voluntary Contraceptive Surgery -- had little to do with volunteering. For Vicentina Usca, 37, in the town of San Martín, the nightmare began when government officials knocked on her door. "I was forced to tie my tubes," she said, "under threat of not getting the birth certificate of my 6-year-old daughter. The nurse said my husband had signed the approval [later proven to be a lie]..."(El Mundo, Madrid, 8/4).
When she demanded to see her husband, the nurse yelled at her, saying the procedure had to be done immediately; otherwise Vicentina "would be screwed."
Vasectomies were also performed on men, but the main victims have been Indian women. The forced sterilization has left many of them in bad shape. Odilio Jiménez, a worker now living in one of the shantytowns surrounding Lima, Peru's capital city, said his wife "is almost crippled and cannot engage in any strenuous physical activity." She hemorrhaged soon after leaving the hospital where she was sterilized. "Before I had a healthy companion that used to help me out with my job," said the husband. "Now she must stay in bed most of the time."
Meanwhile, President Toledo, Peru's current ruler, is trying to use this scandal to distract attention from his own failure to alleviate the misery, unemployment and other ills suffered by Peru's masses. Recently tens of thousands in Arequipa and other towns rose up to protest Toledo's plan to privatize the utility companies. People are tired of this privatization that just helps imperialist bosses and local politicians become richer, while service goes from bad to worse.
Capitalism, be it led by Fujimori, Toledo or any other anti-working class politician, is deadly for workers in the cities and mountains of Peru. The only solution is to fight for a racist-free society: communism.
Every base in the U.S. and worldwide is surrounded by whorehouses, with the tacit and sometimes explicit support of the brass. Young wives are left alone for months at a time. The military is a concentration of all the most sexist aspects of capitalist society.
The invasion of Afghanistan has added the bloodlust of imperialism to this mix. Imperialist wars destroy the minds of soldiers. Many cannot go over there," commit mass murder and return unaffected. The Army basically says anything you do is justified because all that matters is your life. Liberal movies like "Band of Brothers" and "Black Hawk Down" have reinforced this attitude.
The Army can't deal with this situation because their biggest concern is turning young men into killers who won't ask what they're killing for. It's no coincidence that these soldiers were in the most elite units, the Special Forces and Delta Team who the media celebrate as conquering heroes. They're the most gung ho, most racist units, brag about being the biggest killers and now four of their wives have joined the list of their victims.
The crisis here is like a river of volcanic lava that devastates everything. Poverty worsens daily, reaching intolerable levels for the working class. The official unemployment rate is now 24%. In the company where I work, 100 of the 260 employees will be laid off. There will be (maybe including me) more jobless, with no possibility of finding work elsewhere. Some compare the situation to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Now neighboring Uruguay and Brazil are on the same path. Doctor friends of mine in public hospitals tell me almost unbelievable stories -- a lack medicine and bandages; operating rooms that can't handle many patients; people sick with hard-to-cure infections from a lack of sterilization in the hospitals.
The politicians who rule here (whether Peronist, Conservatives, etc.) are only interested in winning elections, and will shit all over anyone to win. Meanwhile, millions are bartering to survive -- trading something they have for what they need. Since this doesn't generate resources or jobs, the crisis deepens.
Progressive and non-traditional candidates rate high in the polls, but have no chance of getting anywhere since the political establishment answers to multi-national corporations. The ruling class is sinking the country even more, caring nothing for workers and other oppressed people. That is the situation here in the Southern Cone. Now I see on a smaller scale in North America, you're getting your own taste of this crooked and corrupt system.
Greetings to my old friends back in the U.S. with whom I shared so many good times during my stay up North some years ago.
A friend in Buenos Aires
P.S.: The New York Times has now exposed how former President Menem (who privatized everything thing and was buddy-buddy with Clinton and Miami's Cuban right-wing exiles) took millions from the Iranian government to cover up the terrorist bombing of a Hebrew agency here in Buenos Aires several years back. He responded to this exposé by saying he was "broke," and was being supported by his wife (a former Miss Universe). Menem is one of the world's most evil people.
In reality, since 1810 Argentina has been ruled by one crook after another. Only its natural resources have kept the country afloat.
What's more, the average sentence for even the biggest white-collar crooks is less than 36 months....
So despite the PR value of pumping up maximum sentences for corporate crimes, it's not going to make much of a dent in boardroom thievery.... [LOW, 7/29]
Rich U.S. trails other lands in maternity leave
To the Editor:
Re "Study Links Working Mothers to Slower Learning (news article, July 17):
This latest study is a clarion call to the United States to join the rest of the world in making it possible for women to spend more time with their babies without sacrificing their economic security. The United States is one of only five countries that do not have paid maternity leave...
As a result, American mothers, particularly poor mothers, have to go back to work much sooner after childbirth than mothers in other countries, leaving...American infants in nonparental care.... [NYT, 7/20]
In a study released last month, researchers at Harvard University's Civil Rights Project found that the average white student in religious schools attends schools that are about 90% white, with two-thirds of them going to classes that are between 90 to 100% white.
Conversely, the average African-American or Latino enrolled at a Catholic school attends classes that are at least two-thirds children of color... [Boston Globe, 7/15]
Researchers say they cannot pinpoint the forces driving parents and children apart. But among them, they said, may be the stresses of the new welfare world -- loss of benefits, low-wage jobs at irregular hours....
Some lawmakers are pushing to make the welfare law's work requirements even stricter....
Children who do not live with their parents do significantly worse on average than those in single-parent homes, child welfare experts say, with higher rates of school failure, mental health problems and delinquency. [NYT, 7/29]