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Romney speculates Turkey called Trump's bluff: 'Are we so weak and inept?'The Utah senator delivers an impassioned speech on the Senate floor that accuses the president of betraying American values.


10/17/2019 4:20:21 PM

One year on, migrant caravan leaves unexpected legacyA year ago, thousands of Central American men, women and children chasing the American dream arrived in Mexico in a massive caravan that has left a lasting legacy -- just not the one people generally thought it would. Fleeing chronic poverty and brutal gang violence at home, they banded together in hopes of finding safety in numbers against the dangers of the journey, including criminal gangs that regularly extort, kidnap and kill migrants. The images made an impact around the world: carrying their meager belongings on their backs, many migrants pressed small children to their chests or held them by the hand.


10/18/2019 7:25:40 PM

The Chicago teachers' strike shows how to go on offense against neoliberalismChicago teachers led the battle against destructive reforms seven years ago – now they’re showing all working people left behind by cuts how to fight‘Together, the coordinated strikes have put more than 30,000 workers on the picket lines – more than 1% of the city’s population.’ Photograph: Xinhua/Barcroft MediaIn 2012, when Chicago teachers walked off the job in their first strike in 25 years, the cards were stacked against them, nationally and locally. Today, they’re on strike again – and on the offense against austerity.Seven years ago, Rahm Emanuel had just been elected mayor and was looking to deal the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), who he saw as a barrier to privatizing the city’s education system, a crushing defeat. That agenda was shared by both Republicans and Democrats across the country, with a barrage of attacks on teachers’ unions, devastating budget cuts to schools and charter school networks – intended to undercut public schools and do an end run around their unions – rapidly multiplying.Yet after electing a new militant leadership in 2010 that pledged to fight not just for bread-and-butter issues like higher pay but a broad agenda of “educational justice” and opposition to austerity, Chicago teachers won that strike, inspiring educators and workers of all kinds across the country – and planting the seeds of future unrest in schools across West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Oakland, Denver and elsewhere, in the teachers’ strike wave that kicked off last year.Chicago teachers are again on strike, now against the recently elected mayor, Lori Lightfoot. As in 2012, their demands are focused on burning issues in their schools and the city as a whole rather than simply wages and benefits (a strategy that has been called “bargaining for the common good”). And they’re waging that fight alongside another striking union, SEIU Local 73, which represents bus aides, janitors, classroom assistants and other school staff – many of whom earn below-poverty wages.CTU’s staffing demands are straightforward: a nurse, counselor, librarian and social worker in every school. The current ratio of students to counselors, nurses and social workers in Chicago public schools (CPS) far exceeds professional association recommendations. The National Association of School Psychologists recommends one psychologist for every 700 students; last year, each CPS psychologist served 1,760. For nurses, the ratio is four times what is recommended; for social workers, nearly five times. The union is also demanding enforceable caps so that classes aren’t overcrowded, which CTU says is the case in nearly a quarter of all Chicago classrooms.The union is also connecting its bargaining to the city’s affordable housing crisis, demanding housing assistance for both its members and its students, nearly 16,000 of whom experience homelessness. The op-ed pages of the city’s newspapers have upbraided this proposal, but CTU argues that “to fully support our public schools, we must address the lack of sustainable, affordable housing in our city” – a problem faced by cities throughout the country.CTU is breaking new ground, both in the kinds of broad working-class demands it is putting forward and by striking alongside SEIU Local 73. Together, the coordinated strikes have put more than 30,000 workers on the picket lines – more than 1% of the city’s population. Yesterday, a sea of CTU red and SEIU purple swarmed the city’s downtown in the afternoon, with thousands on the streets for a mass march after morning school pickets.The union is up against Lightfoot, a political newcomer who won office earlier this year by campaigning as a progressive and running on an education agenda that borrowed heavily from CTU’s: an elected school board rather than one appointed by the mayor, a freeze on charter expansion and major investments in public schools. But Lightfoot’s progressive posturing is now running up against tens of thousands striking Chicago teachers and staff who want more than progressive rhetoric – they want hard commitments, put in writing and legally enforceable through their contract.If she continues to balk at union demands at the bargaining table, Lightfoot will probably see the goodwill she has maintained from average Chicagoans since taking office disappear. The signs don’t look good for her: a Chicago Sun-Times poll conducted just before the strike shows that the public is backing the CTU over the mayor and school board. The same was true for Rahm Emanuel in 2012.Critics on the school board and in mainstream media have responded with the common refrain that Chicago is broke and can’t afford such demands. But Chicago is awash in wealth – enough for Lightfoot to approve the giveaway of $1.3bn in public money to luxury real estate firm Sterling Bay for the mega-development project Lincoln Yards. CTU has long argued that the way to pay for their demands is clear: end these corporate giveaways and tax the rich.The nationwide neoliberal education reform movement was on the march when CTU struck in 2012. But after numerous corruption scandals, growing charter school unionization and strikes, and teacher walk-offs in states throughout the country, that movement is on its heels. Just as the Democratic party has been forced to at least feint left on issues like Medicare for All and free public college tuition because of Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaigns, the party has been forced to back off of its most fervent support for corporate education reform.Chicago teachers led the way in the fight against these destructive reforms seven years ago. Today, they’re showing educators around the country how to fight not only for themselves, but for all working people who have been left behind by budget cuts and the dismantling of the public sector.The education policy scholar Pauline Lipman once described Chicago as “the incubator, test case and model for the neoliberal urban education agenda”. This week, teachers are working to make sure Chicago is where that agenda ends. * Miles Kampf-Lassin is an editor at In These Times. * Micah Uetricht is the managing editor of Jacobin and host of its podcast The Vast Majority. He is the author of Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity and coauthor of the forthcoming Bigger Than Bernie: How We Go From the Sanders Campaign to Political Revolution in Our Lifetimes


10/19/2019 4:00:22 AM

Joe Biden digs at Elizabeth Warren after debate: Polls don't show 'anybody else as a frontrunner'"You know, I haven't seen any polling showing that nationally, on average, that anybody else is a front-runner," Joe Biden said.


10/17/2019 3:23:19 PM

Home from home: Hong Kong police group plans retirement in mainland ChinaA Hong Kong police association is in talks with a Chinese property developer about a planned Hong Kong-themed retirement community in mainland China, it said on its website. A letter from the Hong Kong Junior Police Officers' Association, dated Wednesday, coincides with more than four months of sometimes violent protests in the Chinese-ruled city, much of it aimed at the police. "Hong Kong City" will be in Zhaoqing, one and a half hours by high-speed rail from Hong Kong, with the first phase expected to be completed by the end of next year, the letter said.


10/18/2019 12:58:35 AM

Asylum-seeking Mexicans are more prominent at US borderLizbeth Garcia tended to her 3-year-old son outside a tent pitched on a sidewalk, their temporary home while they wait for their number to be called to claim asylum in the United States. The 33-year-old fled Mexico's western state of Michoacan a few weeks ago with her husband and five children — ages 3 to 12 — when her husband, a truck driver, couldn't pay fees that criminal gangs demanded for each trailer load. "I'd like to say it's unusual, but it's very common," Garcia said Thursday in Juarez, where asylum seekers gather to wait their turn to seek protection at a U.S. border crossing in El Paso, Texas.


10/18/2019 6:46:20 PM

Family waiting for "the end of time" discovered in farm basementThe children reportedly had no idea that there were other people in the world


10/18/2019 6:30:37 AM

U.N. Investigates Possible Chemical Weapons Use by Turkish Forces in SyriaUnited Nations chemical-weapons inspectors announced that they are investigating whether Turkish forces used chemical weapons in their invasion of Syria, the Guardian reported Friday.The Kurds have accused Turkey of using white phosphorous during their recent incursion into northeastern Syria. The Kurdish Red Crescent claims that six patients, including civilians and military members, have been hospitalized in the city of Hasakah due to burns from "unknown weapons."The organization could not confirm chemical-weapons usage, saying it was "working together with our international partners to investigate this subject." However, a British chemical-weapons expert who examined a photo of one of the victims said the burns on the victim were likely from a chemical weapon."The most likely culprit is white phosphorus," said Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commander of Britain's chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear regiment. "It is a horrific weapon, and has been used repeatedly during the Syrian civil war; unfortunately its use has become increasingly normalized."White phosphorous can be used legally as a smokescreen or as an incendiary at night to illuminate the battlefield, and is held by militaries worldwide. The use of white phosphorous as a weapon, however, is illegal under international law because it causes severe burns upon contact with skin.While some Kurdish officials alleged that Turkey used "unconventional weapons" in Syria, Turkey denies this."It is a fact known by everyone that there are no chemical weapons in the inventory of the Turkish armed forces," said Turkish defense minister Hulusi Akar.Turkey invaded northeast Syria on October 9 to clear a "safe zone" in which to resettle 3.6 million Syrian refugees residing in Turkey, as well as to combat Kurdish groups in the region it considers terrorist organizations. Some of these Kurdish groups were instrumental in the U.S.-led fight against ISIS in Syria.Syrian president Bashar Assad has repeatedly used chemical weapons against Syrian citizens in that country's civil war.


10/18/2019 7:33:42 AM

Polls show Americans have come to support Trump's impeachment much faster than Nixon's or Clinton’sPresident Trump hasn’t just crossed the 50 percent threshold on impeachment, peaking at 50.3 percent earlier this week. He’s gotten there faster than Richard Nixon — and, for that matter, Bill Clinton, who never got there at all.


10/17/2019 9:54:18 AM

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