USA: Kaiser’s Outrageous Two-Tier Wage Proposal May Provoke a Massive Strike

Jonah Furman & Sarah Hughes

Three women dressed in red hold hand-lettered signs: "Safe Staffing Saves Lives" and "Patients Over Profits"
Kaiser nurses and other health care workers rallied September 28 in Oregon on the eve of the Alliance contract expiration. Photo: OFNHP

At midnight on September 30, the national agreement expired between Kaiser Permanente and the Alliance of Healthcare Unions: 21 locals representing 52,000 workers. Now 35,000 of them have authorized strikes.

The heart of the conflict is a two-tier wage proposal, a rarity in health care. The company wants to create regional wage scales for everyone hired after 2022—meaning a giant cut in pay.

Kaiser isn’t hurting financially; last year it netted $6.4 billion, and it even returned $500 million in CARES Act funding to the federal government.

But the company claims the wage cuts are for you, the customer. According to management, wages are to blame for sky-high health care costs in the U.S.—and Kaiser employees with their hard-won union standards are the worst offenders.

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UK Spies Incited Mass Murder of Indonesia’s Communists, An Exposure

Newly declassified papers show murderous role played by Britain in the mass slaughter

A Journal of People report

An alleged communist is questioned under gunpoint by Indonesian soldiers in 1965. (University of Melbourne)

The Indonesian Army’s brutal crackdown on the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) in 1965 and 1966 is considered to be one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century. Between 500,000 and three million supporters of the PKI were slaughtered, according to various estimations. It was genocide.

Declassified papers reveal that UK propaganda campaign incited this mass slaughter of communists in Indonesia.

President Sukarno was arrested in 1967 and died three years later under house arrest.

He was overthrown by General Suharto, who had been leading the Indonesian Army. Suharto then ruled Indonesia until 1998, enjoying political and economic support from the West. Transparency International labeled him the most corrupt politician in modern history in 2004, claiming that he embezzled between $15 billion and $35 billion during his time in office.

The campaign of apparently spontaneous mass murder, now known to have been orchestrated by the Indonesian army, was later described by the CIA as one of the worst mass murders of the century.

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Central Asia’s Neoliberal Tragedy: A Review

Michael Hudson

The Greanville Post | October 16, 2021

In the mid-1980s, Soviet officials saw a need to open up their economy in hope of achieving Western-style innovation and productivity. That was the decade in which Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were sponsoring the neoliberal pro-financial policies that have polarised the U.S., British and other economies and loaded them down with rentier overhead.

The Soviet Union followed a privatization policy far more extreme than anything the social-democratic West would have tolerated. It agreed in December 1990 to adopt the neoliberal blueprint presented in Houston by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to transfer hitherto public property into private hands.[1] The promise was that the privatisers would find their interest to lie in producing abundant new housing, consumer goods and prosperity.

The Soviet leaders believed that the neoliberal advice they received was about how to follow the path by which the advanced industrialised nations had developed and made their prosperity seem so attractive. But the advice actually turned out to be how to open up their economies and enable U.S. and other foreign investors to make money off the former Soviet republics, by creating client oligarchies of the sort that U.S. diplomacy had installed in Latin American and other puppet states. The Cold War’s isolation of the former Soviet Union gave way to turning its republics into prey for financial and natural-resource exploitation by U.S. and other Western banks and corporations.

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NicaNotes: The Right to Defend Our Existence

Aparicio Cienfuegos and William Camacaro

AFGJ | October 07, 2021

“Every time President Daniel Ortega speaks, he emphasizes that the Nicaraguan government has a preferential option for the poor. It is a way of doing politics. Why do politics if we do not seek the welfare of our populations, of the majority of historically marginalized people who have lacked services such as education, health, recreation, sports, electricity, or water? What is wrong with a government that defines its internal policies so that those who historically have had nothing now have access to the most basic services? Our government seeks to define and make policies to restore the fundamental human rights of our people.”

Foreign Minister Denis Moncada (center) in conversation before speaking at Holyrood Church in NYC.

This is how Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister Denis Moncada opened his speech on Sunday, September 26, before hundreds of people who packed the Holyrood Church in Manhattan to show their solidarity with Nicaragua. Pastor Luis Barrios welcomed Minister Moncada to speak about the importance of peace, security, and sovereignty for Nicaragua. For more than two hours, the conversation revolved around the November 7 elections and the 150 years of Nicaraguan resistance against colonialism and U.S. economic, political, and military interference, now present in the form of Illegal unilateral sanctions.

A wave of threats and insults followed the announcement of the Community and Popular Mass in Solidarity with Nicaragua, many of them originating from fake social media profiles. However, the opposition did not foresee that these attacks, far from intimidating the audience would become an additional motivation for the Sandinista supporters resisting far-right censorship in the U.S. The Popular Mass at the Holyrood Church event – the most significant action in solidarity with Nicaragua since 2007 in New York City – was an opportunity to show their solidarity with the Nicaraguan people and their struggle for sovereignty.

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Credit Suisse: Venezuela’s GDP to Grow 5.5% in 2021

Orinoco Tribune | October 09, 2021

Credit Suisse investment bank has forecast that Venezuela’s gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 5.5% in the current year.

Among the factors driving the economic growth, the first to be recorded since 2013, “are the positive effects on income due to high oil prices and the widespread use of foreign currency in daily economic activities.” According to Credit Suisse’s latest report, Venezuela may be entering a “new phase.”

“Our estimate for next year assumes the stability of oil production and non-oil GDP growth of approximately 4%,” states the October report of Credit Suisse, the well-known bank headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. “Although mobility appears higher than in the rest of the region (relative to pre-pandemic levels), Venezuela’s growth will likely be lower than that of the rest of Latin America in 2021.”

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Eyewitness report: Cuba’s scientists, medical workers advance fight vs. COVID

Gloria La Riva

People’s Dispatch | October 19, 2021

San Miguel del Padrón Pediatric Hospital: Head nurse, intensive care dept. Liliana Vaillant, nurse Marcia Marcial, nurse Yusliana Bustamante Hernandez, anesthesiologist Angel Labadid, Dr. Elizabeth González, head of the Intensive Care Dept. Photo: Gloria La Riva

After a serious rise in Cuba of illnesses and deaths from COVID-19 during the summer, there are encouraging developments with a steady recovery and downward curve in illnesses and deaths. Similar to the worldwide “third wave” of COVID, the delta variant quickly became the dominant mutation in Cuba and swept through the island.

Now, people are breathing a sigh of relief this month of October. Workplaces, restaurants, beaches and public spaces are opening up and tourism is soon to be welcomed on November 15. Of course, health experts still urge continued caution to avoid a new outbreak.

Massive vaccination of the population means that by November 15, an astounding 92% of the whole population will be fully vaccinated thanks to Cuba’s development and production of its own vaccines: Abdala, Mambisa and Soberana Plus. In fact, Cuba’s vaccination rate is the fastest in the world, and the only country whose children as young as two years are being covered.

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Castillo Struggles to Implement Promised Change

Kawsachun News | October 11, 2021

A controversial cabinet reshuffle this week has served to show just how difficult it can be to implement radical and redistributive change. President Pedro Castillo won Peru’s June 6th elections in the second round. His flagship policies were; a new constitution and the nationalization of natural resources. The expulsion of US forces (military bases, USAID, DEA) was also part of the winning manifesto. However, all those promises have run up against corporate interests, which appear to have forced the government into a corner following the controversial cabinet reshuffle. 

When President Castillo was officially sworn in, in July, he made clear his intention to carry out the changes Peruvians voted for. He appointed Guido Bellido, as Prime Minister; an indigenous Quechua and a senior leader of the socialist Peru Libre party. Marxist professor Hector Bejar was appointed Foreign Minister. His first act as Minister was to withdraw from the anti-Venezuela ‘Lima Group’, leaving it without its headquarters. 

However, the pressure began to be felt from day one. Every single national media outlet aggressively attacked President Castillo for choosing Bellido. Even the liberal La Republica newspaper employed the same McCarthyite language to implore Castillo to incorporate liberal establishment figures from the former administrations. 

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Venezuela condemns illegal kidnapping of envoy Alex Saab

Zoe Alexandra

The representative of the Venezuelan government to the dialogue process, Jorge Rodríguez, announced that Venezuela was suspending its participation in the dialogues with the opposition following the “kidnapping” of Alex Saab by the US. Photo: ANV

Venezuela’s special diplomatic envoy, Alex Saab, was extradited to the United States on Saturday October 16 after being detained in Cape Verde for 491 days. Saab was arrested in Cape Verde on June 12, 2020 at the request of the US government when his plane was refueling at the Amilcar Cabral International Airport on the island of Sal. Following his extradition on Saturday, the Venezuelan government released an official statement condemning Saab’s “kidnapping” by the US with complicity of Cape Verdean authorities.

Venezuela’s representative to the dialogue process in Mexico, Jorge Rodríguez, announced that the national government of Venezuela is suspending its participation in the dialogues. “We will not attend the round that should have begun tomorrow [October 17] as a profound expression of our protest against the brutal aggression against the person [Alex Saab],” Rodríguez announced in a press conference.

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How opium trade funded the British Empire

Newsclick | October 19, 2021

The British empire and the massive strides made by the United Kingdom in the age of colonization was built on the trade of opium that had a lasting effect on India and China. Journalists Nilanjan and Prabir Purkayastha, and author Thomas Manuel talk about the past and present of opium trade

Senior journalist Nilanjan talks to Thomas Manuel, author of “Opium Inc.: How A Global Drug Trade Funded The British Empire,” and Prabir Purkayastha, editor-in-chief of NewsClick, about the history of the opium trade.

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