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Bombardment of Gaza portends further criminal wars in Middle East

From World Socialist Web Site - November 23

For eight days, the Israel Defense Forces rained down devastation on Gaza. More than 150 Palestinian lives were lost, including 40 children, and much of the city lies in ruins.

Further suffering is inevitable, even if the current ceasefire holds. There are thousands of injured, and the death toll will likely mount. The infrastructure on which one and a half million people depend has been devastated, especially key civic buildings that were the main target of 1,500 bomb and missile attacks. Hundreds of millions of dollars in damage has been wrought through the destruction of residential and commercial buildings that have left 11,000 refugees sheltering in United Nations facilities and paralysed Gaza’s economy.

The bombing of 140 smuggling tunnels and Egypt’s pledge to more effectively police Gaza’s border will prevent vital goods from entering a strip that has long served as a glorified prison camp.

The offensive against the Palestinians will also continue. The night the ceasefire came into effect the IDF arrested what it described as 55 “terror operatives” in the West Bank.

Judge approves Hostess liquidation, eliminating 15,000 jobs

From World Socialist Web Site - November 22

A federal bankruptcy judge in White Plains, New York, issued a ruling Wednesday endorsing the immediate liquidation of Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread. The company began sending out layoff notices to 15,000 workers and closing dozens of plants and distribution centers.

The frontal assault on a section of the American working class came in response to the second week of a strike by members of the Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, which has halted operations at most of the company’s bakeries.

Hostess management asked for Judge Robert Drain’s approval of the liquidation to speed the sale of the company’s assets to outside bidders, which at least one banker told the judge could net $2.4 billion.

The banker, Joshua Scherer of Perella Weinberg Partners, cited more than a dozen inquiries from potential buyers, calling it “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get iconic brands separate from their legacy operators.”

Hostess bankruptcy: The brutal face of American capitalism

From World Socialist Web Site - November 21

Hostess Brands has sought authorization from the bankruptcy courts to liquidate its bakery business and wipe out the jobs and pensions of 18,500 workers. The 82-year-old company, maker of the well-known brands Wonder Bread and Twinkies, submitted plans last week to close 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States.

Company executives blamed their move on a week-long strike by 5,600 members of one of the largest unions at the company, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM). Management gave strikers until November 15 to accept demands for deep wage and benefit cuts and further plant closings—or face liquidation.

But the workers—who are passing through their second company bankruptcy in a decade—said enough was enough. A typical worker saw his pay cut from $48,000 to $34,000, or $16.12 an hour, after the company’s first trip through bankruptcy in 2004.

Obama’s trip intensifies US push into South East Asia

From World Socialist Web Site - November 20

Just two weeks after securing his second term, President Obama’s first overseas tour—to South East Asia—underscores his determination to aggressively pursue his administration’s so-called pivot to Asia. Over three days, Obama has visited Thailand, Burma (Myanmar) and Cambodia, where he will attend the East Asia Forum hosted by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The political and strategic significance of Obama’s trip is underscored by the fact that it is the first by a sitting American president to Burma and the first by a US president ever to Cambodia. While the timing was largely determined by the ASEAN summit, the US focus on South East Asia is part of a broader diplomatic offensive aimed at undermining China’s position throughout Asia.

All three countries, especially Burma and Cambodia, have had close economic and military ties with China. Obama’s visit is aimed at consolidating US efforts to entice, pressure and bully these countries to distance themselves from Beijing and engage more closely with Washington, especially militarily.

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