The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Issue no. 1003 — January 18 - February 1, 2016

Editorial:
Two Parties, One Result:
Political Disaster

Jan 18, 2016

Children in Flint are being poisoned by the water they drink – the result of conscious choices made by an “Emergency Financial Manager” appointed to run the city of Flint by Michigan’s Republican governor.

Children in Detroit are having their minds poisoned by a school system deprived of money – the result of conscious choices made by Emergency Financial Managers appointed first by a Democratic governor, then a Republican, to run the Detroit schools.

Working class children in Chicago – and how many other cities – face a political establishment that consciously chooses to starve the schools of money, while lavishly bestowing it on big moneyed interests: the banks, the developers and the big corporations.

Ten thousand people in the Porter Ranch section of L.A. have been driven from their homes by a leaking natural gas well. That leak was not an accident; it was the result of conscious choices made by the Southern California Gas Company to deprive its gas wells of a simple safety cut-off valve – a decision agreed to by the California state apparatus, under Democratic Party control – letting SoCalGas pay out bigger dividends to its stockholders.

Children in large sections of North Carolina are at risk of being poisoned by the water they drink, as Duke Energy Company dumps coal ash into water supplies – agreed to by the State of North Carolina under a Republican governor and legislature – benefitting the large stockholders of Duke Energy and the banks tied to it.

We could go on and on. People’s lives are disrupted, children are put at risk – because the two big parties work to divert all government resources to benefit the capitalist class; the two parties stand as guardians making sure that the road is clear for the capitalists to go on pursuing profit.

These two parties come every four years to ask for our votes – to smile at us, shake our hands, pat us on the shoulder and laugh at us behind our backs.

And then – what? They go back to doing what they have been doing. On every important question, and on a multitude of seemingly tiny ones, they make decisions designed to serve the interests of the capitalist class, the same capitalist class that exploits us every day on our jobs.

The capitalist class has two parties working for it: the Republicans and the Democrats. There are differences between them, of course. They speak a different language, build up different voting bases. But, “the differences between the Republican and Democratic Parties involve no issue, no principle in which the working class have any interest.” Eugene Debs, who called on the working class to build its own party, said that in 1900. We could say exactly the same thing today.

The capitalist class has two parties, the working class has none, no party that speaks for it, no party that represents its interests. It is an enormous lack in this country, a historic lack that leaves working people isolated and exceedingly vulnerable when they try to defend themselves even on immediate issues.

Today, people in Flint are fighting against the poisoning of their children. Teachers in Detroit and Chicago are fighting against the draining of money from the schools. People in California and North Carolina try to oppose themselves to giant corporations, backed by the capitalists’ two big parties. And all of these fights are isolated from each other.

The working class needs its own organization. We need our own party, a party whose goal would be to stand for the interests of all working people, a party that would join the fights that working people make. It would try to link those fights, reinforcing them.

Reinforced, we could wrench what we need away from a capitalist class that today has no reason to cede even an inch.

In this election year, it makes no sense for working people to go on hoping that one of these parties will change. Haven’t we learned by now?

We will begin to change our situation when we decide to start building a working class party.

Pages 2-3

Detroit Teachers Are “Sick” and Tired!

Jan 18, 2016

After years of worsening conditions in the Detroit Public Schools, politicians are finally starting to pay attention – because teachers are raising hell!

Bad conditions were the excuse for a series of state take-overs and governor-appointed emergency managers stretching back to 1999. These take-overs and emergency managers were pushed by Republican and Democratic governors alike. But under each and every take-over, conditions for students and teachers got worse.

After years of school closings and teacher layoffs, classrooms regularly have more than 50 students in them. With maintenance and custodial crews slashed to the bone, buildings are falling apart – teachers and parents have posted photos of buckets of brown water leaking from ceilings, torn-up floors, mushrooms growing along walls.

Teachers had finally had enough. Several weeks ago, groups of teachers began holding “sick-outs,” closing schools. On Monday, January 11, teacher sick-outs closed 64 buildings – over half of the district. On that same day, more than 100 teachers, joined by parents and students, braved the cold to protest these horrendous conditions. School closings continued on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Faced with this groundswell of anger, state politicians moved ... to try to make sick-outs illegal! They had the nerve to accuse teachers of hurting the children – when their policies have been destroying education in Detroit for years!

Some politicians, like Mayor Mike Duggan, took note of the horrible conditions, while urging teachers to stay in the classrooms.

NO, the only reason the politicians are paying attention to the conditions is the sickouts and protests!

Detroit teachers have absolutely the right idea. And parents and students are right to join them.

DPS Debt:
It’s a Racket

Jan 18, 2016

“Emergency Financial Managers” have plunged Detroit Public Schools into debt. In 1999, when the state first took over the district, the district’s budget had a 93 million dollar surplus. Now, the most recent fiscal year ran a deficit of nearly 216 million dollars. The overall debt is more than 3.5 billion dollars!

And the loans themselves carry crippling interest rates, ensuring that this debt will only continue to explode.

It’s obvious where the cause of the DPS resource drain lies. Money isn’t going to teachers or to schools or students – but to crazy debt to the banks.

The series of emergency managers has served up a series of gifts to the banks, siphoning more and more public money into their hands. At the same time, that growing debt has been used as an excuse to close schools – and hand them to private charter operations. Meaning even more public funds go into private hands.

The whole state take-over process has been a way to dismantle the school district and give its resources as a gift to financial interests.

Last month, the “Emergency Financial Manager” announced that 41 cents of every DPS funding dollar goes to service on the debts – and that if “something isn’t done,” the district would run out of money by April.

That something, politicians suggested, was MORE cuts, so the banks could be paid.

NO! Wipe out the debt completely, and give the Detroit Public Schools a clean slate going forward! Stop the drainage of public funds! Let the banks pay for the crisis they’re CONTINUING to cause!

Powerball:
A Tax and a Trap

Jan 18, 2016

A Powerball lottery of nearly 1.6 billion dollars, the largest in U.S. history, had at least three winners. The return on a $2 ticket was astronomically high, which is what sucks many millions of people into this gambling.

But, the chance of winning is astronomically low. It is all in the mathematics. The odds are tiny, close to one in 300 million.

The states that run these lotteries consciously set these extremely low odds against unimaginably high monetary gains so that they can attract more people to purchase these tickets. Last July, as if the money they gain was not enough, Powerball officials changed the rules, making the winning even more difficult.

Most players are from the working class. Low income households spend close to $300 per year on lottery tickets. Working class people give away their money on gambling, not as a form of entertainment, but in the vague hope of getting out of their dire economic conditions. The government channels these hopes into this bleak trap.

Stock Market Crisis:
The Senile Disease of Capitalism

Jan 18, 2016

On Monday, January 4th, a single statistic indicating that Chinese industrial growth was running out of steam was enough to send stock markets tumbling, first in Asia, then in Europe and the United States. The Chinese government shut down the stock exchanges to prevent them from spiraling even further out of control and “injected liquidities” in order to “reassure investors.” But “reassurance” didn’t last long: stock markets began to tumble again.

Many commentators have emphasized that the economy has never gotten back on its feet since the crisis of 2008. And they have recognized that capitalism is going toward a new crisis and is unable to stop itself.

The central banks, which are supposed to guide the global economy, continue to flood the financial markets with credit in hope, they say, of restarting the economy. But the capitalists don’t do it. They carry off billions of dollars and use them to speculate, to buy each other up, and to guarantee dividends to their shareholders – anything but to invest in the production of new wealth. The big oil companies, whose profits are relatively low this year because of the decline in oil prices, have even reached the point of borrowing from the banks in order to keep pouring out dividends!

The growth in wealth and profits on the part of a tiny handful of capitalists comes at the expense of the constant and increasingly dramatic impoverishment of the majority of humanity. This is at the same time the cause, the consequence, and the motor of the crisis, and it is what will inevitably bring about its explosion.

It is also what makes the revolt of the exploited to put an end to capitalism all the more necessary.

RushCard Rip-off

Jan 18, 2016

Nearly three million holders of RushCard couldn’t access the money on their prepaid cards for two weeks, thanks to a colossal computer glitch.

RushCard, founded by hip-hop magnate Russell Simons, is one of these predatory lenders that preys on people who don’t have the steady stream of income it takes to maintain the minimum balances required by most banks. It offers two-day advances on users’ paychecks. But like many financial products offered to the working class and poor, RushCard comes with a ball and chain attached.

Fees. Lots of fees. There is a $9.95 fee just to acquire the card in the first place. Then there is the monthly account fee of $7.95, and the $1 for every transaction fee oh, and let’s not forget the $1.95 “maintenance fee,” when members don’t spend money for 30 days.

RushCard is making a killing off low-income people.

Beware of Politicians’ Gifts

Jan 18, 2016

With plenty of media coverage, the governor of Maryland and the mayor of Baltimore announced a 700-million-dollar initiative to help Baltimore overcome some of its economic troubles.

The vast majority of that 700 million dollars goes to developers – 85%. There are incentives so that developers might build in poorer neighborhoods. Incentives, but no regulations requiring them to do so.

How has that worked in the eight years since the city council already passed a regulation insisting that new housing should include some units priced so working class people could afford them? Since then, more than 9,000 new apartments or condos have gone up in Baltimore. “Affordable” units? Not even one half of one percent! Only 32 units were built so they could be rented at affordable prices.

Expecting Mr. Pro-Businessman Governor and Ms. Departing Mayor to solve the troubles of Baltimore residents is just a dream. Political noise because, as they say, “the devil is in the details.”

Baltimore:
Permanent Sewage?

Jan 18, 2016

On December 31, the city of Baltimore was supposed to have completed 13 years of work to prevent constant overflows of sewage from its aging water and sewer system. But in those 13 years, the city has only worked on 85 miles of sewer lines, out of a total of 300 miles.

But hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage still spew out into the streams running into the harbor. And 335 million gallons of those spills went unreported despite a consent decree requiring Baltimore City to clean up this mess.

There are consequences for residents throughout the area. Baltimore’s neighborhood streams show elevated counts of dangerous bacteria, especially after rain storms. Some residents have faced sewage backing up into their basements. And the water is so polluted that one expert said no one should boat in the Inner Harbor.

So polluted for boats – but it’s OK for us to drink? This is not reasonable!

Pages 4-5

The Flint Water Disaster

Jan 18, 2016

In Flint, Michigan a series of decisions made by emergency managers – appointed by the governor – set in motion the poisoning of thousands of children and adults.

A Flint pediatrician recently told The Guardian that an estimated 9,000 children under the age of six are in jeopardy because of contaminated water in the city. “This is an emergency. People think of disasters as being hurricanes, or tornadoes or ice storms, but this is a disaster right here in Flint that is alarming and absolutely gut-wrenching.”

It is a disaster that was man-made, driven by the search for private profit at the expense of public services and the population.

Covering Up the Danger to Children

Since April of 2014, Flint children and adults were poisoned by a series of water quality “mistakes.”

The state AND federal governments did know that the water was poisoned much earlier than they admitted, and they did everything they could to minimize the issue, or in other words, to cover it up. Government’s own records and Freedom of Information Act searches show that.

General Motors knew enough back in June of 2014 to stop using the water in the manufacture of engines for its cars. But no one in government thought to inform people who were still DRINKING this water. Why not?

The Flint pediatrician who helped expose the poisoning said, “You’d expect that utilities, states, federal agencies would take their jobs seriously and try to protect people rather than deliberately mislead, lie and make up excuses not to protect public health.

No, they didn’t because their job is to protect the profits of big corporations and the banks.

The Human Cost

Flint residents complained as soon as the switch was made to river water in late April 2014, due to its brown color, bad smell, and the skin rashes it caused. In January 2015, before lead poisoning was documented, it was determined the water was contaminated with tri-halomethanes, which can cause kidney and liver damage.

Veolia North America, a for-profit water company, was hired by Flint’s emergency manager as a “consultant” to evaluate water safety. According to Mlive.com, Veolia reported as late as February of 2015 that Flint water was safe to drink and met ALL state and federal standards!

The cost in money and human lives is staggering. The Flint mayor has estimated it may cost 1.5 billion dollars to fix the pipeline system in Flint. No one has any idea of the human cost on the health of the children affected by the lead poisoning.

In mid-2015, even the state’s own test results started showing higher lead levels in area children, but media spokespersons for the Governor and for the Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) did everything they could to cover up the results. After all this, residents were still being told by government officials the water was safe to drink!

A recent report found that an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Pneumonia happened at the time of the switch to Flint water, with 87 cases and 10 deaths!

Business as Usual

A committee of experts – hand-picked by Michigan’s Governor Snyder – is investigating how Flint’s children came to be poisoned. In a preliminary report, they found that the State of Michigan was primarily at fault. Their report explains it was the governor’s emergency managers who made the decisions that poisoned the water.

To quote a journalist covering the Flint fiasco, it is “inconceivable that nobody has gone to jail, or been impeached, or recalled from office” over the Flint disaster. No, in fact, this is little more than business as usual, filthy business as usual.

No one ever would have known about it if the determined working class residents of Flint, Michigan had not fought to protect themselves from poisoning. They were later joined and helped by experts and together, this sickening disaster has come to national attention. The fight continues.

Missing Chapter of the Flint Water Crisis

Jan 18, 2016

Corporate greed and an unnecessary NEW water pipeline in the Flint area make up the missing chapter in the already horrendous story of the Flint Water crisis.

Back in 2010, business interests were pushing for the new water pipeline. The proposal was opposed by the Flint area Drain Commissioner, who said it wasn’t needed, would only duplicate an existing tunnel. But under state “Emergency Management,” construction plans got the green light.

State approval was given in April of 2013 for Flint to join a new 600 MILLION dollar water pipeline project called KWA, short for Karegnondi Water Authority.

An engineering study paid for by the State of Michigan’s Dept. of Treasury had shown in February of 2013 that joining the new pipeline project would hurt Flint financially. The lowest cost option, according to the study, was to continue getting the clean Lake Huron water from the Detroit water system!

So government officials who continue to explain the switch to Detroit River Water as a cost-saving move are lying!

So they decided to build a new water tunnel, just miles from the one built in the early 1970s because wealthy business interests were pushing for it. But the human costs of this unnecessary and expensive duplication were made worse when the Emergency Financial Manager proposed to switch to much dirtier, corrosive and polluted Flint River water in April of 2014 until the new tunnel is ready.

Switching to Flint River water meant that the Flint Water treatment plant – which had NOT been treating water since 1973 – had to go back to “treating water.” Why was this decision made? Possibly because the KWA pipeline water WOULD need to be treated at the Flint Water Treatment Plant when the new pipeline is finished in 2016. Possibly because it cost the state less. Possibly both reasons.

There is a memorial just north of Port Huron to the 24 people who died (the 22 from the explosion, and the two earlier fatalities), but it was so long ago; most people do not remember this history.

But today a new, much greater tragedy is in the making, created by the same corporate greed for profit and the same willingness of the two big parties to do what Big Business wants.

Hidden History of the Flint Water Crisis

Jan 18, 2016

In the late 1960s, the state made a decision to expand the Flint area water system. A new water intake tunnel was built on southern Lake Huron, just north of the city of Port Huron, Michigan.

The water in this area is some of the cleanest in the world. In fact, it was stated at that time, the water was so clean it did not need to be treated. (It is treated anyway, supposedly to comply with the law.)

Construction began in 1968. This water intake tunnel had to be bored out – six miles long – under Lake Huron. The work building the tunnel was dangerous. Two workers were killed in accidents early in the building of the tunnel. As it turned out, there were other concerns. Drilling into shale rock as they were doing is known to cause methane gas buildup. In this project, methane gas had been detected on previous occasions.

On Saturday, December 11, 1971, about three years after construction began, an explosion due to a build-up of methane gas occurred during the drilling of a vent shaft. There were 43 workers in the tunnel at the time of the explosion and 22 workers died.

Of those who survived, 10 of the workers escaped on their own, the rest had to be rescued. By some accounts it was the worst industrial accident ever in the history of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. One of the rescuers stated, “It was unbelievable what it (the explosion) did to the tunnel, let alone to the bodies (of the workers in the tunnel.)”

The explosion was later described as what happens inside a gun barrel. Metal, concrete, anything in the tunnel became a deadly projectile. The blast was so powerful that those killed in the six-mile tunnel were more than four and a half miles from the actual area of the explosion!

When the tunnel construction workers who were not working that afternoon heard what happened they rushed to the area to try and rescue their co-workers. When the police blocked the area roads, they went around the barricades and entered the tunnel anyway, but to no avail. The methane gas was still so dangerous it was impossible to save those who were trapped.

A former safety inspector at the tunnel testified that his superiors ignored safety so as to stay on schedule.

This water tunnel was later completed, and the clean Lake Huron water started to flow in 1973. This water was treated by the Detroit Water Dept. and supplied Flint and other areas with water.

The water tunnel that cost workers their lives has never been used to its full capacity.

Emergency Manager Law in a Racist Society

Jan 18, 2016

According to Democracy Now!, 52 percent of black Michigan residents lived in areas overseen by emergency managers from 2013 to 2014. Only 2 percent of white residents of Michigan were in the same situation.

In other words, white residents in Michigan have not lost democratic rights in the same way that black residents have lost them.

Flint’s Hatchet Man Talks “Ethics”

Jan 18, 2016

Current DPS emergency manager Darnell Earley called the teacher sick-outs “very unethical”.

That’s interesting coming from the guy who, as Flint’s emergency manager, oversaw the lead poisoning of a whole city’s children!

The people who stand up to the attacks on their children are the only “ethical” ones in this situation!

Pages 6-7

Political Gas Bags at Climate Change Summit

Jan 18, 2016

California Governor Jerry Brown and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti flew out to Paris in December to attend the United Nations Summit on Climate Change. To great rounds of applause, they bragged about how much they were supposedly doing to reduce greenhouse gases and stop global warming.

Back home the busted well at Porter Ranch spewed record amounts of greenhouse and poisonous gases into the air – enough to increase California’s emissions of greenhouse gases by 25%!

L.A. Gas Leak:
Capitalism’s Human Disaster

Jan 18, 2016

When a natural gas storage well in Porter Ranch, Los Angeles started to massively leak natural gas on October 23, the well’s owner, the Southern California Gas Company, refused to admit that there was a leak. And it continued to deny anything was wrong for five more days, despite the fact that about 70,000 pounds of methane and other chemicals were spewing into the air every hour.

After it grudgingly admitted to the leak, the Gas Company and county health officials still assured the residents that it posed no long-term health risks. It took six long weeks of residents complaining of nausea, dizziness, massive nose bleeds, as well as eye, ear and throat infections, for health officials to finally admit that the leak may have long-term health consequences far beyond the region. Long-term exposure to the chemicals in the gas leak, like benzene, is known to cause cancer.

Not spending money on necessary maintenance and upkeep of the gas storage facility is what caused the environmental disaster in the first place. The source of the leak is a 61-year-old metal pipe that runs 8,750 feet deep. The pipe has obviously corroded, which is what happens to old pipes that have huge amounts of gas and liquids running through them at high pressure. The company didn’t even replace a safety valve at the base of the pipe that it had removed in 1979, with the blessings of the state regulators. A safety valve would have shut off that leak almost immediately.

Old, decrepit equipment and infrastructure is the rule. The leaking well is part of the second biggest gas storage facility in the country, which includes 229 wells scattered over five square miles. Half of the wells are over 57 years old, and 52 wells are more than 70 years old. And most of those old wells have no safety valves.

Anneliese Anderle, a field engineer who used to monitor the giant gas storage facility for the state regulator, told the Los Angeles Weekly, “They have a beautiful facility. It’s gleaming. They have great roads and well-marked pipelines. Everything’s painted. But just below the surface, it’s junk.

Old and dangerous junk that the Gas Company squeezes massive amounts of profits out of – with the blessings of government officials, state regulators and politicians.

Ivory Coast:
A Victorious Strike

Jan 18, 2016

This article is from the January 8th, 2016 edition of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

In the most recent edition of their journal Le Pouvoir aux Travailleurs (December 20, 2015) our comrades from the African Union of Internationalist Communist Workers (UATCI-UCI) recount a strike by bus drivers working for the Abidjan Transport Company (SOTRA).

The SOTRA drivers went out on strike on December 7th. They issued no strike notice and did not even inform the main union leaders in advance, out of fear that those who were closer to the bosses than to the workers would sabotage them.

In past strikes, SOTRA management laid off striking workers using the pretext that they did not respect the proper procedures and their action was illegal. This time, management changed its attitude when it saw that the bus drivers were determined. Just a few hours after the strike started, the bosses were forced to meet with the strike delegation....

The bosses agreed on the spot to raise their pay by 8%, including a retroactive increase going back to January 2015. They also got a bonus equal to 150% of their take-home pay.

As for the workers' other demands, which included hiring new workers as “employee-trainees,” a security bonus of 50,000 francs CFA (about $80), and a housing allowance of 60,000 francs CFA (about $100), management agreed to establish a “framework for discussion.” In other words, the workers will have to carry out another strike, this time even stronger and along with the other SOTRA workers, before the bosses will condescend to take seriously what they are asking for.

This bus drivers’ strike shows once again that only a change in the balance of forces can make the bosses listen. What weighed in favor of the drivers was that they transport thousands of workers to their jobs every day. This means that a SOTRA strike has immediate consequences for the bosses at the port, the banks, and the factories, to name only a few examples! The SOTRA management, and no doubt the government behind them, chose to partially give in to the demands of these striking workers. All the more so because the government also has reason to fear that the strike could spread. If this strike had lasted, it had the possibility of drawing in workers from other industries, knowing that many of the drivers’ demands resonated just as strongly with their own situations. Such a strike might have “spoiled” the bosses’ New Year’s celebrations.

Income Tax Drops
– for the Top 400!

Jan 18, 2016

The top 400 income earners in the U.S. saw the percentage they pay in federal income tax drop from over 29 per cent in 1993 to under 17 per cent in 2012, according to the IRS. These are people whose average income for the year 2012 alone was a mere 336 million dollars!

The federal income tax is one of the few taxes that falls on the wealthy at a higher rate than those with lower incomes. Even under this so-called “progressive tax,” these greedy gluttons saw their tax rates drop steadily through eight years under Bill Clinton, eight years under George W. Bush and four years under Barack Obama.

The two parties compete with each other: who can give the wealthy classes the biggest deal!

Page 8

Chicago:
Abuse and Cover-up Organized from On High

Jan 18, 2016

In the midst of one police scandal after another, Mayor Rahm Emanuel insists that the problem is a few bad apples, and not his policies, not the system he runs for the capitalist class. Chicago Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton said: “To say this is a practice, a systemic abuse or part of a cover-up, there’s just no evidence of that.”

But in fact there is a lot of evidence of a systematic policy of murder, abuse, and cover-ups – a policy that goes right to the top.

In early January, a judge called out the city’s lawyer for covering up the police murder of Darius Pinex, killed in 2011. This lawyer hid a crucial recording and lied in court when Pinex’s family sued.

The city also buried the killing of Esau Castellanos. The police officers who killed Castellanos in 2013 lied that he had shot at them. One of them even pretended to have been shot in the head! After these lies were exposed, the police department referred the case to the Independent Police Review Authority and the FBI – who have been “investigating” for two years.

Rahm Emanuel’s top aides, and almost certainly Emanuel himself, also knew the details of the police murder of Laquan McDonald months earlier than the mayor claimed – and their reaction was to cover up the story and hide the video for thirteen months.

Emanuel and his lawyers also tried to cover up the police killing of Cedrick Chatman by stonewalling the release of a video showing his murder for more than two years.

They also hide and cover up more routine brutality. A judge just reprimanded the city’s law department for lying and hiding records in an illegal search lawsuit.

And how many more cases like these are there – still being covered up?

What is all this but a systematic policy of covering up brutality and murder by the Chicago Police Department?

Confronted by bad publicity as these cases finally came to light, Emanuel hired a lawyer supposedly to investigate the law department and how it handles cases of police misconduct. But – surprise! – that lawyer just happens to be one of Emanuel’s biggest campaign donors! Hardly an independent investigator.

The evidence is clear: there is a systematic policy to set the police against the poor population of Chicago, and to cover up the brutality and killing that this policy entails. It’s not just a few rotten apples. It’s a whole rotten system. It impacts black working class Chicago more harshly than the rest of the city’s people. But every working class person can be a target.

Deporter-in-Chief

Jan 18, 2016

Obama poses as the friend of immigrants. Last year, he said he would temporarily legalize four million undocumented people who had never been convicted of a crime. In speech after speech, he’s pretended to fight the Republicans, who openly express hostility to immigrants.

But, as we all know, actions count, words don’t. And in the last months, the Obama administration has carried out raids in Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and Illinois. Undocumented people disappeared from shopping at big Wal-Mart stores because of the fear they would be captured and sent out of the country.

Most of those Obama has deported have been women and children sent back to Central American countries where they face death, rape, or torture.

By his actions, Obama has more than earned his title as “Deporter in Chief.”

CPS Has Tens of Millions for Bank of America

Jan 18, 2016

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool tells teachers the only way to avoid layoffs is to accept a cut in pay. He says there’s no money. Not true! The Board has money to pay tens of millions of dollars to banks like Bank of America for toxic financial deals.

During the financial bubble of the 2000s, business people working for CPS pushed the district to arrange swap deals on variable rate loans – arrangements similar to the crazy financing in real estate that cheated people out of their houses when the economy collapsed.

Same thing with the schools: the school board was locked into paying high rates to the banks – a big gift to these banks, when interest rates were plummeting. Bank of America has already taken 60 million dollars in extra interest, they stand to make 40 million more by the end of the loan.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says nothing can be done about this rip-off – “there’s this thing called a contract.” B.S. – they wrote the contract with the purpose of feeding the banks, rather than funding Chicago students’ education. That was the intention from the beginning!

Another Hack on Chicago’s School Board

Jan 18, 2016

Rahm Emanuel filled a vacancy to Chicago’s School Board. With all the upheaval in Chicago, between police killings, cover ups, and the fake budget crisis in the schools, would Emanuel seek to appoint someone he could at least pretend is “from the community”? The answer is no.

Emanuel chose Jaime Guzman, a big advocate of privatized charter schools. Guzman worked on the Illinois Charter School Commission: he worked for an office within CPS responsible for expanding charters; and he worked with the scandal-plagued UNO network of charter schools.

Guzman’s appointment is a clear political statement from Emanuel – he intends to continue taking the public schools system apart, and to hand public resources to his friends.

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