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Kazakhstan: Erlan Baltabay sentenced to 7 years in prison for union activity

The government of Kazakhstan is cracking down on independent trade unions.

This has gone on now for several years, and this is not the first time we have written to ask you to join us in protesting this repression.

Erlan Baltabay (pictured) is the leader of the Industrial Trade Union of the Fuel and Energy workers, known as "Decent Work".

His trade union was dissolved by a decision of the court.

Criminal proceedings against Erlan began ten months ago.

On 17 July this year, he was sentenced to seven years in prison.

The Wizard of of Oz

With the governments of the US, Australia and now the UK in the hands of erratically dangerous leaders, much anger has been directed at Rupert Murdoch. I think we give the man too much credit.

It’s tempting to portray Murdoch as a modern day William Randolph Hearst, pulling the strings of government and influencing the minds of the masses with yellow journalism. Murdoch is more than happy to be seen in that light, but I suspect the reality is more pathetic.

Yang is what America Needs

I don't understand why folks on Social Security and Medicare support Trump, who has systematically conspired with other Republicans to destroy Social Security and Medicare. Congress borrowed against Social Security to bail out the uber-wealthy during the recession. Trump cut taxes for the uber-wealthy so that the wealthy don't have to pay back Social Security for the bailout. Trump's policy is designed to destroy Social Security.

Workplace "negotiations" in Nestlé's Russia

Nestlé sales force workers across Russia confined to rooms and compelled to resign employment.

On May 14 all Nestlé Russia sales force employees were invited to the company's regional centers in 10 cities across Russia under the pretext of "discussing business results". The workers were confined in locked rooms under security guard, denied access to all communication to the outside world and instructed to sign a notice of staff reduction or resign immediately "by agreement of the parties".

Socialism and Wage-Slavery

Any variety of socialism that seeks to perpetuate the institution of wage slavery is kinda worthless in my estimation. We don't need jobs for all, we need income for all. We need a universal basic income. Andrew Yang's basic income platform is much better than Bernie's. It's a route beyond capitalism and socialism, towards a post-scarcity world without wage slavery. Pushing for a high minimum wage, as Bernie does, means that automation is going to be sped along, with private sector jobs disappearing to outsourcing/automation faster than ever.

Deportation is murder!

Deportation is murder! The guy in this video is begging for his life and the Trump Administration is fighting to kill him. People are dying because of your fascist political ideology. My wife has a Greencard. She became a legal resident through marriage. If things had been different and we had never fallen in love, she could very well have found herself in a situation like this. And as a Republican and a Trump supporter, you absolutely would have supported the murder of my wife. That makes you a Nazi in my book. Don't tell me to "be nice." All Trump supporters are Nazis.

Millennials V Baby Boomers

I find the whole Millennials V Baby Boomers thing just another iteration of the divide and conquer strategy of making people fight over their perceived differences instead of working together to achieve their actual common interests.

It’s been fuelled by a none too subtle strain of propaganda prevalent in both mainstream and social media. The way Millennials are portrayed in the media is nothing short of gaslighting. While the portrayal of Baby Boomers as a bunch of self-absorbed, property hoarding, robber barons who think the world owes them a living, is a cartoonish stereotype.

Pissed off with Labor; rightly and wrongly

A lot of people are pissed off at Labor supporting the government's tax cuts, rightly so.

A lot of people are also pissed off at Labor voting against the Greens' motion to increase the Newstart allowance, wrongly so.

Money bills cannot be introduced from the Senate, which means voting for them means voting to waste time and money on a bill that will be ruled out on a point of order when it ends up in the House of Reps.

That's the reason Labor always votes against these types of bills.

Negative Emissions and Carbon Pricing

One of the problems with carbon pricing is that it's difficult to use for negative emissions. Let's say that you set the price of carbon at the cost of removing the carbon from the atmosphere. That lets you get to net zero emissions, but it doesn't do anything about existing emissions. Now let's say that you increase the price on carbon to, let's say, 150% of the cost of CDR (Carbon Dioxide Removal). That lets you go net negative, but only by a certain amount. It's hard to calculate what percent of CDR your carbon price needs to be, since it depends on so many different factors.

CLR James Never Turned to Stalinsm

I recently encountered an individual, who is deserving of remaining unnamed, who claimed that in the later years of his life that CLR James shifted from support of Trotsky to Stalin in his with his interest in the Pan-African movement and association of WEB DeBois and Paul Robeson. This irked me somewhat because CLR James was, in my opinion, never sympathetic to Stalinism.

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