Daily News Digest February 5, 2019

Daily News Digest February 5, 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.

Image of the Day:

America First!

Quotes of the Day:

In a 1926 essay for The Nation, The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain, Hughes described the group, which came together during the Harlem Renaissance, when hanging out uptown was considered a lesson in cool: We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, it doesn’t matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too. The tom-tom cries and the tom-tom laughs. If colored people are pleased we are. If they are not, their displeasure doesn’t matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves.— The Elusive Langston Hughes

Why is the United States so intent on regime change? Because Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, and the United States is its biggest customer. Within two days of his self-inauguration as “interim president,” Guaidó began a process to restructure and privatize Venezuela’s oil industry for the benefit of multinational corporations. Drawing a parallel with George W. Bush’s Iraq war, Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) tweeted, “It’s about the oil … again.” Indeed, Halliburton, exempted from the new sanctions against Venezuela, is once again benefitting from regime change, like it did in Iraq. Bolton didn’t pull any punches when he stated at a press conference that, “We’re in conversation with major American companies now. … It would make a difference if we could have American companies produce the oil in Venezuela. We both have a lot of stake here.” The Trump administration appears intent on privatizing Venezuela’s oilin order to maximize the profits of US oil companies at the expense of the Venezuelan people and the rule of law. — Marjorie Cohn, The US Is Orchestrating a Coup in Venezuela

Videos of the Day:

Withdrawal From INF Nuclear Treaty Brings us “Closer to Doomsday” Than any Time Since 1950’s Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces agreement is one of the most important international treaties and its cancellation will mean a full return to the nuclear arms race and closer to nuclear disaster, says Peter Kuznick of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American UniversityOver 40% of US Households Are One Paycheck Away From Poverty

War Criminal Elliott Abrams Headed To Venezuela


The US Is Orchestrating a Coup in Venezuela  As Venezuela’s second president, Simon Bolivar, noted in the 19th century, the US government continues to “plague Latin America with misery in the name of liberty.” From engineering coups in Chile and Guatemala, to choreographing a troop landing at the Bay of Pigs intended to establish an exile government in Cuba, to training Latin American strongmen at the School of the Americas in torture techniques to control their people, the United States has meddled, interfered, intervened and undermined the democracies it claims to protect. . . . There is a major difference, however, between the 2002 coup attempt and the Trump administration’s current effort to change the regime in Venezuela, Golinger says. She told Truthout that unlike the situation in 2002, “when the Bush administration worked behind the scenes to back a coup d’état against Chávez with multimillion-dollar funding and political support to the opposition, the Trump administration is now pursuing regime change in  iVenezuela in plain sight.”By Marjorie Cohen

Not ‘Left-Wing Fantasy’ But ‘Mainstream’: Poll Shows Enormous Public Support for Higher Taxes on Rich  “Raising taxes on the wealthy isn’t just good policy. It’s also good politics.”Likely 2020 contenders and progressive members of Congress have proposed a variety of plans in recent days to make the rich pay more in taxes and begin reversing soaring inequality—from a wealth tax to a 70 percent top marginal rate to a higher estate taxon the richest families—and a survey published on Monday found that such ideas are extremely popular among the American public. By Jake Johnson

Despite Demand for End to ‘Dangerous’ US Meddling, Trump Says Troops to Venezuela ‘An Option’“It’s not up to the U.S. or anyone else to decide Venezuela’s future. After all, when has U.S. meddling ever ended well for the people in the targeted country?” By Jon Queally

Report Warns Trump Giving Wall Street ‘Green Light to Ramp Up Risk’ as Penalties Against Big Banks Plummet“How can Trump call himself ‘tough on crime’ while he lets the industry that crashed our economy 10 years ago get away with slap-on-the-wrist penalties?” By Jake Johnson


Thwaites Glacier Startles Scientists  “It’s a disturbing discovery,” according to Pietro Milillo, a radar scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, who co-authored a recently published study: Heterogeneous Retreat and Ice Melt of Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica, Science Advances, Vol. 5, No. 1, Jan. 30, 2019. It’s only within the past 10 years that NASA’s IceBridge Mission has served as the largest airborne survey of Earth’s polar ice, providing unprecedented three-dimensional views of Antarctica’s ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice. Scientists are now able to peer into glaciers with remarkable accuracy to see what’s happening. By Robert Hunziker

Don’t Fence Me In Send me off forever but I ask you please Don’t fence me in Years ago, I recalled standing on the Arctic Coast in Alaska’s Arctic Wildlife Refuge looking south across the coastal plain towards the Brooks Range. One of my impressions was that I saw what the Great Plains might have looked like in the days before livestock. To me, it was the lack of fences which was one of the most remarkable features of that place. Yet fences are so ubiquitous that they are virtually invisible to most people—until you are someplace like the Arctic Coast where they don’t exist. Fences run across even some of the most remote parts of the West. The invention of barbed wire in 1874 provided an inexpensive and effective means of corralling domestic livestock on open ranges. Since that time, barbed wire has been strung across most of the western United States, including on public lands without any oversight or consideration of its negative impacts on wildlife. Not only is it a pain for humans to cross, but its influence on wildlife is also far more significant. By George Wuerthner

Big Energy:

Fossil Fuel Industry Attacks Budweiser’s Pro-Wind Super Bowl AdThe pro-wind power Budweiser ad that Anheuser-Busch will air during the Super Bowl on Sunday is being attacked by the fossil fuel industry. The Kentucky Coal Association is among the groups attacking the Budweiser ad, which has already racked up nearly 14 million views on YouTube. Their attack was echoed by the website ClimateDepot.com, a project of a coal-backed group called the Committee for Constructive Tomorrow.  By Dave AndersonCivil Rights/Black Liberation:

MLK’s Radical Final Years: Civil Rights Leader Was Isolated After Taking On Capitalism & Vietnam War As we mark the beginning of Black History Month, we look at “Always in Season,” a disturbing new documentary that examines lynching in the United States both past and present. It interviews Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, which built the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery to remember the more than 4,000 African Americans lynched in the United States. It also looks closely at the case of Lennon Lacy, a 17-year-old African-American high school student who, on August 29, 2014, was found hanging from two belts attached to a wooden swing set in a largely white trailer park in Bladenboro, North Carolina. At the time of his death, Lacy was dating an older white woman. Local authorities quickly determined his death to be a suicide, but Lacy’s family and local civil rights activists feared authorities may have been covering up a lynching.


Despite Backlash, Teacher Strikes Are Spreading Across Country Teachers in Colorado, Virginia and Oakland, California, were newly emboldened this week as they watched teachers in Los Angeles return to their classrooms after a successful six-day strike with an increase in pay and support staff. Now, they too are making their demands for fully funded schools known, with some moving closer a strike of their own. The LA strike has reverberated strongly in northern California, where educators face many of the same issues, including ballooning class sizes and meager support staff. The Oakland Education Association, whose members have been without a contract since July 2017, began a four-day strike authorization vote Tuesday. The last of the union’s 3,000 memberswill vote today, and an authorization could lead to Oakland teachers’ firststrike since 2010. The authorization votes come on the heels of hundreds of Oakland teachers calling out sick January 18 in a wildcat “sickout” action to rally and march for school funding.


Shadow Government Statistics Alternate Unemployment ChartsThe seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.The U-3 unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.


Corbyn calls for snap election to help put an end to austerity Labour leader wants people ‘bearing the brunt’ of nine years of austerity to have their say Jeremy Corbyn has called for a snap general election during a meeting of anti-poverty charities in Glasgow. He said people who have experienced “the brunt of nine years of austerity” must be allowed a new vote. The Labour leader met with voluntary organisations and charities working to tackle poverty in south-west Glasgow on Saturday, where he criticised “Tory cuts” while pointing to double-digit yearly increases in food bank use and falling life expectancy in Scotland’s most populated city. “People are suffering under austerity as a direct result of Tory cuts in Westminster passed down by the SNP in Holyrood,” he said. “The people who are bearing the brunt of nine years of austerity cannot wait years for a general election. They need a general election now.”

How The Murders Of Journalists In The Middle East Are Brushed Aside  It’s encouraging to hear that Agnes Callamard, the UN’s execution expert, is at last in Istanbul to lead the “independent international inquiry” into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Better late than never, perhaps, but the old UN donkey clip-clops upon the world stage according to the politics and courage of the panjandrums beside the East River in New York. By Robert Fisk

Health, Science, Education, and Welfare:

Monsanto Exposed as Source for White Phosphorus Used in Gaza MassacreMonsanto has earned the dubious reputation of being one of the most hated companies in the world. Its grand proclamations of working to feed the world and help the environment have been exposed for a sham. Their genetically modified (GM) crops have not increased yields, despite claims to the contrary.What they have done is:

Debunking Industry Lies, Analysis Shows Medicare for All Would Cut Costs, Boost Efficiency, and Save Lives“For people who care about evidence—not ideology—the facts are clear: Medicare for All is the most efficient and most just approach to provide healthcare for everyone in America.” By Jake Johnson
A Historic Document: A Bill of Rights for Working People

A Bill Of Rights For Working People (1976)

Today we are ruled by a new tyranny. Industrial and financial barons govern by the rule of profits, denying us the basic democratic and social rights we need for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness:”

America is in a developing crisis. The quality of life for most people is going from bad to worse. And the present system offers no hope for the better.

There is no end to wars—one after another since the end of World War If. After Korea came Vietnam; now the Middle East is like a powder keg.

Huge stockpiles of atomic weapons are a constant reminder of the threat of nuclear war.

Pollution is destroying our environment—from the water we drink to the air we breathe.

The economic crisis is worsening.

Breakdowns, shortages, layoffs, soaring prices—each week it’s harder to get by. Suffering the most are those at the bottom of the ladder—Blacks, Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, and other doubly oppressed people.

Neither the Republican administration nor the Democratic Congress offers a solution. They are only interested in shifting the responsibility and escaping the blame.

They pit white workers against Blacks in a struggle for jobs, housing, and education.

They blame all working people, claiming we eat too much and live too well. They say that inflation will slow down if we live in colder rooms and stop demanding higher wages.

They blame people in other countries. They point to a “population explosion” in poor countries as a burden on the American economy, while the corporations they represent plunder the resources of these same countries.

They say Arabs cause the energy crisis, as if the skyrocketing profits of U.S. oil monopolies weren’t responsible.

The Democratic and Republican proposals are clear: Don’t struggle to defend your living standards; pay the costs of foreign wars; eat less and pay more; deport foreign-born workers; use less electricity and gasoline, forget about safety, Social Security, and jobs.

This way of handling the economic crisis can be stated in nine words: “What’s good for big business is good for America.”

The Rockefellers, DuPonts, Mellons, Morgans, and other families like them who run the country think they were born with rights that come first no matter what happens to the welfare and security of the rest of us. For the sake of profits they think ifs perfectly justifiable to lay off tens of thousands of workers, to destroy our environment, or to plunge the country into war.

They are a tiny minority who brush aside the rights of the American people.