Daily News Digest February 1, 2019

Daily News Digest February 1, 2019

 Daily News Digest Archives

Laura Gray’s cartoon from the front page of The Militant August 18, 1945, under banner headline: “There Is No Peace”

During This Economic Crisis, Capitalism’s Three Point Political Program:  1. Austerity, 2. Scapegoating Blacks, Minorities, and ‘Illegal Immigrants’ for Unemployment, and 3. The Iron Heel.

Democracy?: As the Capitalist Robber Barons Steal from the 99% — Only the 1%Voted For Austerity — The 99% Should Decide On Austerity — Not Just The 1%Who Profit From Austerity! Under Austerity, All of the World Will Eventually Be Pauperized, Humbled, and Desecrated Like Greece and Puerto Rico.

Images of the Day:

Who Needs Elections? Ask the US About the Government Your Country Should Have

Hands Off Venezuela protest in Vancouver, Canada, on January 26. (Fire This Time)

Quotes of the Day:

Video of the Day:

Economic Update: Yellow Vests & Tax Reformwith Richard Wolff  This week: Updates on “yellow vests” spread to the United Kingdom; Jeffrey Pfeffer’s book Dying for a Paycheck; the “bail-in” scam; the gentrification of airplane seats and postal banking; a major discussion of needed and deserved tax reforms and gentrification as an injustice created by the market. 


United States Falls Deeper Into Corrupt Nation StatusThe U.S. is no longer in the top 10, or even the top 20, of least corrupt nations. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018 was released today and the United States has fallen four points deeper into corruption than last year. The U.S. now ranks below Luxembourg, Estonia and France, coming in at number 22 on the chart. In the Americas region, only Canada came in among the top 10 least corrupt nations, earning a number 9 ranking. (View the full list here.) Zoe Reiter, Acting Representative to the U.S. at Transparency International said this about the report: “A four point drop in the CPI score is a red flag and comes at a time when the US is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances, as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power. If this trend continues, it would indicate a serious corruption problem in a country that has taken a lead on the issue globally. This is a bipartisan issue that requires a bipartisan solution.”The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people. It reveals that the continued failure of most countries to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis in democracy around the world. While there are exceptions, the data shows that despite some progress, most countries are failing to make serious inroads against corruption.  By Pam Martens

The Racist, Imperialist War on Venezuela 

The Racist, Imperialist War on Venezuela / Picture: President Hugo Chavez, depicted as a monkey in opposition newspaper

Donald Trump is simply exercising an imperial mandate handed down to him by Obama, who put “humanitarian” lipstick on the white supremacist pig of American exceptionalism. “The darker peoples of the world understand clearly that what is at stake is the sovereignty of nations and people’s right to self-determination.” In transferring control of Venezuelan property and assets to opposition party leader Juan Guaidó, the United States has committed an act of war against that country, and marked Guaidó as a traitor and agent of a foreign aggressor. The U.S. State Department announced that certification to Venezuelan accounts and assets in the U.S. was transferred last Friday to Guaidó, a 35 year-old member of the national assembly who declared himself president during a street demonstration in Caracas. Trump national security advisor John Bolton dared Venezuela to move against Washington’s chosen Quisling, warning there would be “serious consequences” if anyone attempted to “harm” Guaidó. The Venezuelan Supreme Court has frozen Guaidó’s accounts and barred the politician from leaving the country during an investigation of his “serious crimes that threaten the constitutional order,” but he continues to speak and move around the capital city. By Glen Ford, BAR executive editor

Your Complete Guide to the N.Y. Times’ Support of U.S.-Backed Coups in Latin America On Friday, The New York Times continued its long, predictable tradition of backing U.S. coups in Latin America by publishing an editorial praising Donald Trump’s attempt to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. This will be the 10th such coup the paper has backed since the creation of the CIA over 70 years ago.A survey of The New York Times archives shows the Times editorial board has supported 10 out of 12 American-backed coups in Latin America, with two editorials—those involving the 1983 Grenada invasion and the 2009 Honduras coup—ranging from ambiguous to reluctant opposition. The survey can be viewed here. ByAdam H. Johnson 

Continuing Long History of Supporting US-Backed Regime Change, NYT Hands Venezuela Opposition Leader Op-Ed Megaphone  “Absolutely disgusting that the New York Times is giving Juan Guaidó space to appeal to governments around the world to support his efforts at a coup.” By Jake Johnson

150 Congressional Republicans Represent Fossil Fuel Companies Instead of Their CommunitiesLast week, we mocked the fossil fuel industry’s use of an outlet it owns to brag about perverting democracy — but we didn’t actually call out the politicians in the industry’s pocket. Lucky for us, the Center for American Progress Action Fund did just that this week. A new analysis from CAP tallies up the climate deniers in the 116th Congress. As it turns out, there are a lot: 150. But that’s actually an improvement from last year, when there were 180. Of those 180, 47 are no longer serving: 22 were defeated in 2018, 16 retired, five resigned, and four went to other positions.

A Brief History of Our Longest, Most Futile War Anyone who closely followed the U.S. war in Afghanistan since Oct. 7, 2001, knew it would end badly. The news that the U.S. has reached an agreementwith the Taliban for a peace framework is indeed a positive development, but it masks the fact that the war has largely been futile and destructive—and that the Taliban is the likely
victor.Over the past 18 years, the U.S. went from considering the Taliban an inconsequential enemy that would be easily defeated to negotiating with the dictatorial regime to now seemingly capitulating to its demands. This disastrous trajectory of events is well worth examining as the history of the United States’ longest war is written. By Sonali Kolhatkar 


With Ocasio-Cortez/Markey Bill Reportedly on Horizon, Expert Says Green New Deal Must Include ‘Fossil Fuel Phaseout’The text of the bill, however, has not been finalized, according to Axios—meaning it is still unclear how closely it will align with the draft legislative document promoted by Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunrise Movement. That proposal called for a transition to 100 percent renewable energy within the next decade, a federal jobs guarantee program, universal healthcare, and a House Select Committee to hammer out the details.While welcoming the news, Greenpeace USA climate director Janet Redman said in a statement that any Green New Deal bill must include a “fossil fuel phaseout” for it to be taken seriously. Jessica Corbett

Big Energy:

Civil Rights/Black Liberation: 

Draft Bill for Hopkins Private Armed Police Force Already Drawing Backlash The group Students Against Private Police told The Real News in a statement the bill fails to address their concerns. “The administration continues, as they have throughout this whole process, to be vague, to avoid transparency, and to make the bare minimum of gestures towards the dialogue residents and students have been trying to engage them in,” the statement reads. They group also says the bill “co-opts the language of accountability,” but does not demonstrate how Hopkins “will address any of these issues.” By: Jaisal Noor

Prisons Across The U.S. Are Quietly Building Databases Of Incarcerated People’s Voice Prints It’s particularly alarming, they add, that the technology’s use in prisons can ensnare people beyond their walls. “Why am I giving up my rights because I’m receiving a call from somebody who has been convicted of a crime?” asks Jerome Greco, a digital forensics attorney at New York’s Legal Aid Society. Greco argues that the mining of outside parties’ voice prints should require a warrant. “If you have a family member convicted of a crime, yet you haven’t been, why are you now having your information being used for government investigations?” By George Josephand Debbie Nathan


Confused Again: Trump Thinks His Trade War is Responsible for China’s Economic ProblemsThe New York Times had an article on the status of Trump’s trade war with China. While the piece pointed out Trump’s claim that his trade war is responsible for China’s economic problems, it didn’t point out that this is almost certainly not true.  In spite of Trump’s tariffs, China’s exports to the United States were up by more than $30 billion in the first ten months of 2018 compared to 2017. While their exports may have grown even faster without the tariffs, it doesn’t make sense that slower than expected growth in exports to the U.S. could be too big a hit to the Chinese economy. By Dean Baker


Guaido Continues Diplomatic Efforts as Venezuelan Courts Open Proceedings against HimLocal and international authorities have also reacted fiercely to the recently announced oil embargo, describing it as “illegal.” Uruguayan President Tabare Vasquez revealed that EU Foreign Affairs High Representative Federica Mogherini called him Monday to discuss the possibility of Uruguay hosting an international dialogue summit to resolve the political crisis. Uruguay’s El Pais newspaper reported that “According to the President, Mogherini told him that ‘it is certain’ that Europe will not have the necessary majority to recognise Guaido as interim president of Venezuela.”Meanwhile, pressure is growing on Guaido in Venezuela, with the country’s Supreme Court issuing a travel restriction on the National Assembly Deputy following a request from Attorney General Tarek William Saab, as well as ordering the freezing of his local bank accounts whilst an investigation continues into his recent actions. The measures generated a vociferous response from the Trump administration Tuesday, who threatened “serious consequences” should either Guaido or any of their diplomatic staff be arrested.

David Smolansky (left), Carlos Alfredo Vecchio (center), and Julio Borges (right) walk from the White House after a meeting in Washington, U.S., January 29, 2019. (Jim Young / Reuters)

Packed London meeting says: “US-UK, hands off Venezuela!” Narly 100 people packed the #HandsOffVenezuela meeting in London on 30 January, and heard Venezuelan ambassador Rocío Manero, Alan Woods (International Marxist Tendency), Steve Hedley (Assistant General Secretary of the RMT) and Jorge Martín (Hands Off Venezuela) discuss the ongoing imperialist coup in Venezuela, the UK’s role in it, and what can be done to fight it. The meeting also heard a message from John McDonnell MP, rejecting Trump’s attempt to manufacture regime change, and declaring solidarity with the people of Venezuela. Over 1,000 people followed the livestream of the meeting from
all over the world. 

Health, Science, Education, and Welfare:

Kansas: Students Walk Out to Protest Tech-Based Summit Learning Program  Mark Zuckerberg and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative funded the Summit learning program, which is computer-based online instruction. not personalized learning.Students in Kansas sent a message to Zuckerberg: Another student #walkout vs #SummitLearning – this time at McPherson MS in Kansas. Like earlier one in Brooklyn, protest was sparked by students’ frustrations about inadequacies of the online Learning program.  Waving signs and chanting No Summit, No Summit, No Summitthe students spent their afternoon out of class venting their frustration with the changes in their curriculum…. “It’s a learning program that is supposed to be a better way, but you are just on a computer,” said Drake Madden, a seventh grader. “Every time I get home, my head starts hurting.” he said. By  Diane Ravitch