Category Archives: Class

Chart of the day II: Post-crash global pay disparity


From the Philadelphia-based global management consultancy group HayGroup — an outfit with offices in 49 countries — a look [PDF] at the changes brought to the differentials between the salaries of CEOs and the average corporate worker since the Crash of 2008:

Blog Pay gap

Chart of the day: European unemployment


The latest numbers from Eurostat [PDF], with rates ranging from the German low of 4.7 percent to the Greek high of 25.8 percent. The black bars represent the full 28-member European Union [9.8 percent] and the 19-member common currency Eurozone [11.2 percent]. Click on the image to enlarge:

TAUX DE CHOMAGE DESAISONNALISES (%)

MexicoWatch: Politics, disappearances, crime


We begin with the political, via teleSUR:

Murillo Sparks Final Controversy with Resignation Contradiction

  • The Attorney General said the Ayotzinapa case should be kept open, after declaring it closed more than a month ago.

Former Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam prompted yet more derision when he apparently contradicted himself during a speech announcing his resignation.

The fumbling official, who has repeatedly bungled the case of the 43 students forcibly disappeared from a protest for a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa, told the press conference that the case could not be closed because the remains of 42 of the 43 young people had not been identified.

Yet in January Murillo sparked major controversy after announcing the Ayotzinapa case closed.

More politics, from teleSUR:

Mexican President’s Relationship With TV Station Deepens

  • The Mexican President’s selection for attorney general is the sister of a high-ranking executive at Televisa.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto named Arely Gomez as his choice for attorney general Friday, in a move that raised eyebrows due to Gomez’s connection with media giant Televisa.

If confirmed by the Senate, Gomez would replace Jesus Murillo Karam, who stepped down after facing months of criticism over his handling of the case of the 43 forcibly disappeared students.

Gomez happens to be the sister of the vice-president of news at Televisa. It was Televisa who broke the news that Murillo was stepping down and was to be replaced by Gomez.

Next, today’s Ayotzinapa protest image, via Sith Spider:

BLOG Ayotz

From teleSUR, disappearances:

400 Women Disappeared in the State of Mexico in 2014

  • Over 10,000 people have disappeared since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012.

As disappearances are on the rise since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office two years ago, Mexican activists and politicians on Saturday called on authorities to declare a state of gender alert in the central State of Mexico after local reports revealed that in 2014 about 400 women have been disappeared in the entity.

Mothers of minors, social activists and members of the center-left PRD party demanded that the government put in place “drastic” measures to eradicate this crime, according to Mexican daily newspaper La Jornada.

Families and relatives of the disappeared women offered heart wrenching testimonies during an event called “Enough of Disappearances, Femicides and Human Trafficking” in Ecatepec, just north of Mexico City.

More from Frontera NorteSur:

The Missing Faces of February

Martha Cecilia Gomez was visibly shaken as she pleaded for the whereabouts of her daughter. According to the Mexican mother, her 16-year-old daughter Paola Yaneth Alvarez left the family home in the central Mexican state of Aguascalientes the morning of February 1 to go shopping for pork rinds and never returned.

“We don’t know anything about her,” Gomez told FNS. “As the mother of a family, I ask people who might have seen something to come forward, but nobody has”  Along with relatives of other missing or murdered persons, Paola’s family members staged a march earlier this month through the state capital of Aguascalientes to press for answers.

The other presumed and confirmed victims spotlighted in the demonstration included Sergio de Lara Quezada, 28, disappeared on August 30, 2011; Maria del Cristal Acevedo Gomez, 29, missing since July 26, 2014; and Cecilia Martinez Mota, murdered in 2014.

In the days following the march, stickers affixed to structures lining one of Aguascalientes’ main streets asked passerby, “Where is Cristal Acevedo?”

More disappearances, via BuzzFeed News:

Mexican Lawyers Are Disappearing, Leaving Nothing But Fear And Questions Behind

More than 60 lawyers disappeared or were killed during a wave of violence in Durango. Their families mourn them and hope for justice while their colleagues scurry away from certain criminal cases.

When Claudio Hugo Gallardo disappeared in 2013, his sons scoured the local hospital, prison, and morgue frantically. They combed through video footage recovered from Gallardo’s last known location and even inquired with the cartels whether their operatives had picked up the well-known lawyer.

But before Gallardo’s family could find him, they stopped looking.

“It’s for our own peace. We don’t want threats,” said Claudio Gallardo, one of the attorney’s sons. The family has floated several theories, including the involvement of government officials, cartel thugs, and a combination of both, but prefer to be discreet about their findings, citing orders by local authorities to stop prodding.

Gallardo is one of more than 60 lawyers killed or disappeared here during a spate of crimes against litigators that began in 2008, according to members of Durango’s Benito Juárez Bar Association. Some of the bodies that have been recovered carried messages from criminal groups saying the litigator should not have been defending certain clients, said Celina López Carrera, who is in charge of the state’s public prosecutors.

From teleSUR, demands:

Mexican Teachers Demand Justice

  • Members of the CETEG teachers union have demanded the appearance of 11 teachers, and justice for the death of Claudio Peña Castillo outside the headquarters of the Federal Police in Chilpancingo.

Members of one of Mexico’s teachers unions marched on the headquarters of the Federal Police in Chilpancingo on Saturday to demand justice for the death of a retired teacher, and the return of 11 missing teachers

Claudio Peña Castillo was killed in a protest on Tuesday, and 11 teachers who were also at the demonstration have not been seen since then.

The protesters chanted “murderer” at the leader of the federal police in Chilpancingo and pointed out the numerous injuries people had suffered at the hands of the police.

And from Mexico News Daily, an activism incentive denied:

Feds nix Oaxaca’s promotion scheme

  • Teachers who want an administrative position must turn up for protests

The National Institute for the Evaluation of Education (INEE) gave Oaxaca Gov. Gabino Cué a deadline to invalidate an agreement that specifies how teachers are promoted to administrative positions in secondary schools. That deadline was yesterday.

INEE head Sylvia Schmelkes said if it wasn’t met it would fall to the Public Administration Secretariat of the federal government to take punitive action against the state government.

Promotions to administrative positions bring higher salaries but the process, designed by the teachers’ union CNTE, violates the constitution, according to the INEE. Federal law stipulates that such promotions can only be awarded following competitive examinations that adhere to parameters and assessment tools that will be defined in the next few months.

But for promotion in Oaxaca, under the CNTE plan, teachers must produce documents that show they participated in protests in Mexico City and Oaxaca.

From Justice in Mexico, the war on the Fourth Estate continues:

Reforma distribution center attacked in Edomex

A distribution center for the newspaper Reforma was attacked early in the morning of February 15 in Tlalnepantla, near the border with the municipality of Naucalpan, in the State of Mexico (Estado de México, Edomex). The attack occurred at approximately 2:00am on Sunday morning in the neighborhood of Viveros del Valle, and has left a franchisee employee in critical condition after he was shot in the nape of his neck during the attack. A truck owned by Reforma was also fired upon four times. No suspects have been detained yet in the case.

The attack comes on the heels of a series of publications made by Reforma in previous weeks that addressed the insecurity in nearby Naucalpan and the local police force’s alleged involvement in several incidences. On February 1, Reforma reported that Naucalpan Councilmember Esther Tapia accused the local police of kidnapping and beating her 23-year-old son to intimidate him, though it is unclear why he was targeted. Video footage of the event captured by nearby security cameras show a vehicle approach her son, and police officers exit from the vehicle and detain and physically assault him. The police vehicle, reports El Universal, is one of the Naucalpan Police’s nine new patrol cars, though it lacked official police insignia and police license plates.

From the Guardian, a cartel capture:

La Tuta captured: Mexico’s flamboyant primary teacher turned drug kingpin

  • Servando Gómez Martínez, the head of the Knights Templar crime cartel and nicknamed ‘La Tuta’, was captured by federal police early on Friday morning

Mexican police have captured a former primary school teacher who became the head of one of the country’s most bizarre and bloodthirsty drug-trafficking groups, putting an end to a flamboyant criminal career that stood out in a country where underworld bosses have traditionally sought to avoid the spotlight.

Servando Gómez Martínez, nicknamed “La Tuta” was captured by federal police in the early hours of Friday morning in the city of Morelia, capital of the Pacific coast state of Michoacán.

He was taken to Mexico City for questioning, before being marched in front of TV cameras to a helicopter to be flown to prison the same night.

And from the Associated Press, consequences:

Mexico drug lord captures change but don’t lower trafficking

It’s another big score for the Mexican government, which has been tearing through its list of most-wanted drug lords in recent years.

Still, no one expects drug trafficking or violence to decrease after the capture of Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, a former grade-school teacher whose Knights Templar cartel once terrorized the western state of Michoacan.

Crime will only shift around as the now weakened cartel regroups, or even splinters, as has happened with some of Mexico’s drug gangs after the killings or capture of top leaders. Others continue business as usual after top leadership hits.

“Dismantling them was a necessary step, but that does not end the problem of insecurity,” Alejandro Hope, a Mexico City-based security analyst, said of the Knights Templar. “The next part is more complicated. There are still small groups, remnants, which will be extorting, robbing and perhaps even producing methamphetamine.”

Chart of the day: Minimum wages across the EU


From Eurostat [PDF]:

BLOG Eurowages

Converted to dollars [with the euro now going for a low $1.12], the range extends from the Bulgarian low of $206 to the Luxembourgian high of $2153. By comparison, the current U.S. level is $1376, scheduled to rise to $1462 in July.

MexicoWatch: Protests, politics, plans, graphics


We begin with protest, first from The News.mx:

Nationwide protests for students continue

Five months after the disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, thousands of protestors, led by relatives of the students, marched from the Ángel de la Independencia to the Los Pinos official presidential residence in Mexico City Thursday.

Teachers from the State Coordination of Guerrero Education Workers (CETEG) in Acapulco marched to demand the students be brought back alive and to protest the death of retired teacher Claudio Castillo Peña.

Manuel Salvador Rosas, from the Political Commission of the CETEG, said that the federal police apprehended at least 11 teachers on Feb. 25 who have not yet been released. Thirty other teachers have been hospitalized, 15 with serious injuries, he said.

Next, a video report from teleSUR English:

Mexico: Omar Garcia, “the 44th,” of Ayotzinapa, demands justice

Program notes:

Omar Garcia is one of the 43 student teachers in Ayotzinapa who was able to escape with his life from the attack on September 26th. He says that he is a living symbol of the fact that anyone in Mexico could be “the 44th.” Surviving the violence against the students by municipal police, Garcia has become one of the group of full-time activists who travel the country to seek support for the demands of Ayotzinapa: the safe return of the missing students, and the punishment for those responsible.

More protest news from the Latin American Herald Tribune:

Mexican Teachers Protest Police Repression

Some 1,000 teachers marched in this Pacific resort city on Thursday to protest the police response to a protest here earlier this week that left one demonstrator dead.

The marchers, most of them members of the State Coordinator of Education Workers of Guerrero, or CETEG, union, held a rally outside the Federal Police offices in Acapulco to demand an investigation into the death Tuesday of 65-year-old retired teacher Claudio Castillo Peña.

Federal authorities say Castillo was struck by a vehicle, but CETEG rejects that explanation.

“We will not let them come to us now and say our comrade didn’t die from the direct blows he suffered,” one teacher said Thursday. “May they not try to deceive the people, may they not try to deceive Mexico, may they accept responsibility for the death.”

And a change of tactics, via Mexico News Daily:

Stopping elections parents’ new objective

  • Marches aren’t enough, says spokesman, as only 3,000 people turn out

The protest marches are not enough, says the spokesman for the parents of the missing students of Ayotzinapa, so the new plan is to prevent the mid-term elections from being held June 7.

Felipe de la Cruz made the statement after yesterday’s ninth day of global action for Ayotzinapa, for which only 3,000 people turned out in Mexico City, according to estimates by the Federal District government. That’s a big drop from the more than 15,000 who marched in the first event held to draw attention to the violence in Guerrero on September 26, when the 43 students disappeared.

Their families refuse to accept the findings of the official investigation.

De la Cruz said it was the job of all Mexicans to organize, “neighborhood by neighborhood, municipality by municipality,” to ensure there are no elections this year.

And a dose of politics form the Associated Press:

Mexico to replace embattled attorney general

Mexico’s embattled attorney general is leaving the post to take a new cabinet-level job as head of urban and rural development.

Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam had weathered scathing criticism over his handling of the Sept. 26 disappearance of 43 students in southern Guerrero state.

Murillo Karam had also been criticized for being slow to investigate evidence that soldiers killed between 12 and 15 criminal suspects after they surrendered in June.

To close, another protest graphic, this time from Creators:

BLOG Ayotz

MexicoWatch: Protests, violence, politics, laws


We begin with an image, via Sailor Lunita, of family members with images of their missing students in a protest in Mexico today, held as part of the global day of action on behalf of the missing students of the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa who were disappeared on 26 September 2016:

BLOG Ayotz

Next, from teleSUR, marking an anniversary:

Mexico Protests Mark 5 Months Since 43 Students Disappeared

  • The forced disappearances have brought to light the deeply entrenched state violence and corruption in Mexico.

Families and supporters of the 43 forcibly disappeared Ayotzinapa students continue their fight to find their loved ones in demonstrations Thursday, marking exactly five months since they went missing.

The families called for a national day of action on Feb. 26 to pressure the Mexican government to be more transparent about the details of the case and to put more resources into locating the students. Mass protests are scheduled in Mexico City to begin at 4 p.m. local time.

Tensions have grown in the country since the students went missing, which has become the highest profile example of the entrenched corruption within Mexico’s government.

So far, Iguala’s mayor and his wife, which is where the students went missing, have both been arrested for their involvement in the disappearances and allegedly ordering local police to arrest them and hand them over to a local drug gang called United Warriors (Guerreros Unidos).

From AJ+, anger over a protester’s death:

Anger Continues In Guerrero Mexico After Protester Is Killed

A 65-year-old man has died after sustaining injuries at a protest in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, demanding better pay. The region has seen near-daily protests ever since 43 students disappeared five months ago.

From teleSUR, more revelations:

Mexico: Photos Shed Light on Military Role in Ayotzinapa 43

  • New photographs suggest the military knew more about the disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa 43 than previously thought.

Mexico’s military released previously unseen photographs of students who survived a massacre in Guerrero state Wednesday that have sparked renewed controversy over the case of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa teachers training college students.

Published in Mexican newspaper Milenio, the photos allegedly show 25 students that survived the initial shoot out in Iguala, Guerrero on Sept. 26, 2014.

From teleSUR again, more protests planned:

Mexican Teachers Union Preparing for Civil Disobedience

  • Angered at the violent repression unleashed by police against teachers, unions in Mexico have put their members on maximum alert.

A teachers’ union in Mexico announced Thursday that it will escalate its tactics, declaring itself on maximum alert and preparing its members for civil disobedience and rebellion.

The National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) issued its warning in response to the violent repression against teachers by federal police in Acapulco earlier this week.

Mexico News Daily covers a law we suspect, given the vote, to be yet another instance of impotent window dressing:

Anti-corruption plan approved by deputies

  • Legislation to establish the national system will now move on to the Senate

A National Anti-Corruption System was approved today by the Chamber of Deputies after ironing out a number of differences that have stalled its passage.

It was approved by 409 of the 500 deputies.

The legislation establishes a system to coordinate efforts to implement policies to prevent and deter corruption and to promote integrity, and strengthen the Public Administration Secretary to allow it to audit, investigate and apply sanctions against crimes of corruption.

Finally, another image, this time from Insurrection News, with and image from today’s protest in Mexico City, bearing a message we suspect is true, tranlsating as “Justice will come when the blood of the bourgeois begins to run.”:

BLOG Ayotz 2

ISIS emulates the GOP in destroying history


Hoe is ISIS like the Grand Old Party?

Consider the following ISIS video, depicting the destruction of 4,000 years of history in the museum of Mosul, Iraq, located in the region of the world that served as cradle of  Western Civilization:

The story, via Newsweek:

ISIS Smashes Thousands of Years of History at Museum

Ultra-radical Islamist militants in northern Iraq have destroyed a priceless collection of statues and sculptures from the ancient Assyrian era, inflicting what an archaeologist described as incalculable damage to a piece of shared human history.

A video published by Islamic State on Thursday showed men attacking the artifacts, some of them identified as antiquities from the 7th century BC, with sledgehammers and drills, saying they were symbols of idolatry.

“The Prophet ordered us to get rid of statues and relics, and his companions did the same when they conquered countries after him,” an unidentified man said in the video.

Lamia al-Gailani, an Iraqi archaeologist and associate fellow at the London-based Institute of Archaeology, said the militants had wreaked untold damage. “It’s not only Iraq’s heritage: it’s the whole world’s,” she said.

“They are priceless, unique. It’s unbelievable. I don’t want to be Iraqi any more,” she said, comparing the episode to the dynamiting of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Afghan Taliban in 2001.

The action follows the destruction of thousands of manuscripts and books in libraries in ISIS-occupied areas of Iraq and Syria.

Even before we learned to write our own name in cursive, we insisted that our teacher help us write out the word “archaeology,” and between the years five and eighteen, we were resolved to become an archaeologist working on digs in Mesopotamia, the land between the rivers.

After witnessing firsthand the vicious pettiness that all too often marks the world of academic politics, we surrendered our trowels and camel hair brushes to dig in more contemporary dirt as a journalist.

But we never relinquished our first love, and have kept abreast from afar of some of the remarkable discoveries made since we wrote our first newspaper story a half-century ago.

In covering politics, we discovered that fundamentalist zealots are ever eager to annihilate a past that contradicts their version of events, along with the artifacts and institutions that would remind them of a time when things were different.

While ISIS seeks to annihilate five thousand years of history and purge culture of anything reminding them of that “idolatrous” past, the GOP seeks similarly to purge America of the institutions and creations evolved under a different vision of humanity in the form of the institutions of the relatively mild social welfare state implemented by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight David Eisenhower, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Just as ISIS smashes statues, the GOP would destroy Social Security, Medicare, the Post Office, public schools, public land, public health, and so much more. And along with government institutions, they would also smash our historical legacy in the form of the architectural creations of the past, eager to build those stark, cheaply built high rises and McMansions they so deeply love.

Similarly, GOP radicals would purge classrooms and school libraries of thousands of books contradicting their own versions of religious, pseudoscientific, and political beliefs.

The one notable difference between the GOP radicals and ISIS lies in the domain of honesty, where ISIS holds all the cards.

Very few in the GOP are so frank, knowing that even with their control of campaign money and much of the media, frank expression of their real agenda would turn off even many in their own party — people with children and parents who benefit from those very programs the Koch-heads would annihilate in order to increase their already dominate control of the world’s money and resources.

We’ll leave the last word to Bernie Sanders:

Pope Francis