Daily News Digest February 20, 2019

Daily News Digest February 20, 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, if necessary,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:

Bendib:Billionaires R-Us 

Quotes of the Day:

Robert Reiner claims that “(to) a large extent, a society gets the policemen if deserves.” Mr., Reiner is extremely optimistic about the police or extremely cynical about society. But undeniably, the history of our society is reflected in the history of its police. Much of that history clashes with our nation’s patriotic self-image. The history of America’s police is not the story of democracy so much as it is the preventionof democracy. Yet there is another story, an ever-present subtext—the story of resistance. It too, drives this narrative, and if there is a reason for hope anywhere in this book, we may find it here—amidst the slave revolts, strikes, sit-ins, protest marches, and riots. — Kristian Williams, in his forward of his book, Our Enemies in Blue Police and Power in America.

A Real Emergency: The United States’ Crumbling Infraststure:

Instead of using taxpayers’ money to build his useless $5.7 billion border wall — which migrants would cross anyway, whether by digging tunnels under it or climbing over it — Trump should use that money to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure. As anybody who flies from Beijing or other modern Asian airports to the United States can tell you, arriving at the biggest U.S. airports increasingly feels like landing in a Third World country. Rather than building a “big, beautiful wall” in the desert, Trump should modernize airports in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.   Our roads, bridges and internet connectivity are way behind other industrialized countries. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates that the country will need to spend about $4.5 trillion by 2025 to update its infrastructure, including roads, bridges and dams.­­ —Andres Oppenheimer, Instead of a border wall to fix a crisis that doesn’t exist, Trump should use the billions to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure

Videos of the Day:

Trump’s allies get set for fierce fight over emergency declaration

Public Citizen: Trump’s National Emergency Declaration Paves Way for Sweeping Authoritarianism


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to introduce bill blocking Trump’s ‘fake national emergency’ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joaquin Castro have announced new legislation they intend to introduce as part of an effort to block Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration over the US-Mexico border. The Democratic politicians pointed to the National Emergencies Act that provides Congress the ability to “terminate the President’s emergency declaration”, according to Mr Castro. In a tweet following the announcement, Ms Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive freshman representative from NewYork City, wrote: “JoaquinCastrotx and I aren’t going to let the President declare a fake national emergency without a fight.” By Chris Riotta

Worshipping the Electronic ImageDonald Trump, like much of the American public, is entranced by electronic images. He interprets reality through the distortions of digital media. His decisions, opinions, political positions, prejudices and sense of self are reflected back to him on screens. He views himself and the world around him as a vast television show with himself as the star. His primary concerns as president are his ratings, his popularity and his image. He is a creature—maybe the poster child—of the modern, post-literate culture, a culture that critics such as Marshall McLuhan, Daniel Boorstin, James W. Carey and Neil Postman warned us about. By Chris Hedges 

Presidents’ Day Can Kiss My AssHere at Truthout, we observe our own holiday today: Native Sovereignty Day, recognizing the civil rights, human rights and humanity of the many peoples who were damn well here first. Doing so, we acknowledge that in a world without colonial displacement and genocide, the very concept of a “U.S. president” would not, in fact, exist. How did we wind up in this bizarre situation? Is our presidential fixation just an ossified holdover from British colonial days, some atavistic and self-destructive yearning to be ruled by an untouchable absolute leader? Is it the God thing, a lazy surrender to the Divine Right of Kings because having no say whatsoever is an easy out in a complex world? Or are we all captives of a mass mainstream news media which loves to cover the presidential horse race because it fills air time and column inches, thus sparing them the grind of actually reporting on policy and substance? By William Rivers Pitt


Lack of proper health and safety regulation allows Robber Baron Contaractors to plunder government funds!:

Feinstein-Pelosi Obstruct Justice On Tetra Tech Eco-Fraud At Treasure Island & Hunters Point 6-17-18  (Video)

 Suspect Hunters Point shipyard contractor did similar work at Treasure Island

Corporate managers accused of directing an extensive fraud in the cleanup of San Francisco’s toxic shipyard led similar projects at nearby Treasure Island — work that apparently has never been rechecked since fraud at the shipyard was discovered, even as a $5 billion real estate development on the island speeds ahead. Tetra Tech EC, a subsidiary of the government contracting giant Tetra Tech Inc., is being sued for fraud by whistle-blowers and the Department of Justice. Federal prosecutors say the firm cut corners and falsified radiation tests while serving as a cleanup contractor at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, a mothballed naval base tainted with radioactive substances that last for thousands of years and can cause cancer. By Jason Fagone and Cynthia Dizikes

Big Energy:

Civil Rights/Black Liberation:

The Best Police Money Can Buy  In the Fox series APB, police misconduct doesn’t exist, and privatization and technology can fix any problem. If one were to produce an infomercial proclaiming the benefits of a corporate-run high-tech police state, the result might be something like the new Fox series APB. The show follows the adventures of billionaire engineer Gideon Reeves (played by Justin Kirk), who, after witnessing a friend’s murder while on hold with 911, decides the cops are due for an upgrade.By Kristian Williams



Daily Update (February 18th to 19th): Unexpected Plunges in January Production and December Retail Sales Signaled Weakening Economy and Likely Early-2019 Recession; 12.6% Annual Decline in St. Louis Fed’s January Adjusted Monetary Base Was Worst Since Onset of Great Depression’s Second Down-Leg

4,823 U.S. Banks Have Disappeared Since 1999At the end of 1999, the year thatPresident Bill Clinton and his  Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin brokered the deal to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and allow the casino investment banks on Wall Street to gobble up deposit-taking banks, there were 10,220 federally insured banks and savings institutions in the United States. Today, that number stands at 5,397, a decline of 47 percent according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). What exactly happened to those disappeared banks?  We examined FDIC data to see if the sharp falloff in bank numbers was from failures or mergers. We found that the vast majority of the decline resulted from banks being absorbed in mergers. By the end of 2005, six years after the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the U.S. still had 8,832 federally insured banking institutions. But in just that year alone, 315 banks were lost to mergers. By 2010, the number of U.S. banking institutions had dropped to 7,657 with 197 institutions absorbed that year through mergers. In years 2015, 2016 and 2017, there were a total of 786 federally insured banking institutions absorbed through mergers.   The loss of competition in banking services has unleashed an unprecedented concentration of the life savings of Americans being held as deposits at a handful of behemoth Wall Street banks which simultaneously engage in high risk securities and derivatives trading – the very combination that led to the epic Wall Street banking collapses in 2008 and the 1930s. By Pam Martens


Britain: Bye bye Blairites! Now show the rest the door Good riddance. This will be the sentiment amongst grassroots Labour members towards today’s news that a group of seven Blairites are splitting from the party. Delight at their departure will be mixed with immense anger towards the treacherous role that these right-wingers have been allowed to play over the past few years. The task now is to kick out the rest of the saboteurs who remain at large inside the Parliamentary Labour Party. This is why we need mandatory reselection. The announcement by the splitters came as a surprise to nobody. The names of those who have chosen to leave reads like a Who’s Who list of the most consistent Corbyn critics – a veritable rogues gallery of careerists and big business politicians. The shock is not that these gangsters have left the party, but that it has taken so long to get rid of them! By Adam Booth 

Britain: students rise up to fight capitalism’s climate crisis At least 10,000 students across the UK walked out of school on Friday 15 February, marking the arrival of the international School Strike 4 Climate movement in Britain. This movement has already mobilised hundreds of thousands of students in over 40 countries, with young people around the world participating in incredibly militant strikes and marches – the aim of which is to force governmental action on climate change. On Friday there were protests in around 60 locations nationwide. The largest event was in London, where a demo in Parliament Square attracted thousands of students. Ages ranged from sixth form down to primary school, with many students coming straight from classes, still wearing their school uniform. Supportive teachers and parents also joined in. It was clear, however, that this strike was organised and led by the students themselves. By Helena Nicholson


Health, Science, Education, and Welfare:

The Day the Music Died: Malcolm X’s Assassination, Feb. 21, 1965 by Roland Sheppard (First Published by the San Francisco Bayview )

Malcolm X in 1964, flashing the infectious smile that drew people to him

In the afternoon of Feb. 21, 1965, I went to the Audubon Ballroom to hear Malcolm X speak. I also went to sell the newspaper, The Militant, a radical newspaper that printed the truth about Malcolm X, published his speeches and publicly defended him.

When I got to the ballroom, things were radically different – there were no cops. Normally, Malcolm’s meetings in Harlem were crawling with cops. As I was selling papers, Malcolm X approached the Audubon Ballroom. I offered to sell him the latest issue, but he told me, “Not today, Roland. I am alone and in a hurry.”

A while later as I entered the meeting room, again I did not see any cops. I went in to sit down where I normally sat along with the rest of the press in the front and the left side of the room. On the way to my seat, Gene Roberts, who later surfaced as a police agent member of the Black Panther Party, told me that I could not sit at my regular place but that on that day I had to sit in the front row on the right side of the hall, facing the stage.

As I sat down, I glanced over to where I normally sat and saw a large Black man with a navy blue-gray trench coat. When the meeting started, all was quiet as the crowd listened to Benjamin X introducing Malcolm X.

When Malcolm approached the podium, he gave the normal Muslim greeting for peace. At that point a disturbance occurred in the room. Two men were standing about halfway back in the room and to the right of Malcolm on stage. One was shouting, “Get your hand out of my pocket!”

Malcolm was trying to calm things down, when the men — one later identified as Talmadge Hayer — started running down the right aisle shouting and firing a pistol at Malcolm and ran out the exit doors by the stage, to the right of Malcolm X

Malcolm is wheeled out of the Audubon Ballroom on a stretcher, escorted by NYPD, on the fateful day, Feb. 21, 1965.

Suddenly I heard gunshots fired from all over the place, and I instinctively hit the floor. When I looked up, I saw Malcolm X standing up and glaring down at one of his assassins. At that point, from the corner of my eye, nearby to my left, I saw a flash from a gun as I watched Malcolm X fall down and back about 10 feet.

In that instant, as Malcolm died before my eyes, I suddenly realized how big he was and I realized that he was a giant in stature and in the world. This vision of Malcolm X, being assassinated, has haunted me ‘til this day.

The fatal blast, which I later found out to be from a shotgun, came from the area where I had seen the large Black man with a navy blue-gray trench coat! When I left the hall, Malcolm’s bodyguards told me that they had caught two of the assassins, one who was shot – Talmadge Hayer – and one whom the police took away.

A few weeks later, when I was questioned in the Harlem police station, I was shown a series of photos of people whom I recognized as members of the Nation of Islam or Malcolm’s organization. I also saw a picture of the large Black man with a navy blue-gray trench coat that I had seen at the Audubon Ballroom.

I was thinking of how to respond to the cops and how to say that I did not recognize the photos of Malcolm’s friends and supporters and the members of the Nation of Islam. I then told the cops that I had to go to the rest room.

When I got to the men’s room door, I saw the same large Black man coming out of the men’s room that I had seen in the Audubon Ballroom and in the photos that had just been shown to me. He walked by me, past the desks of the secretarial pool, and went to his office inside the police station!

At that point I knew that he and the government either killed Malcolm X or were part of the assassination plot. I became very nervous thinking about what I was going to say to the cops when I got back and how I was going to get out of the station alive.

I then came up with, “I cannot recognize anyone, for all Black people look the same.” The cops nodded in agreement and we were allowed to leave the police station.

Malcolm X was one of my heroes. He was the most honest mass leader that I have ever known or seen. He was a great orator and his speeches seemed like a conversation between himself and the audience.

His speeches were like music to my ears and have inspired me for the rest of my life in the fight for social justice. He was so human in his orations. I still remember him when he made the “Harlem Hate Gang Scare” speech at the Militant Labor Forum on May 29, 1964, and other speeches in which he chuckled a “heh heh” when he was about to make a special comment.

At that forum, he said: “It’s impossible for a chicken to produce a duck egg … The system of this country cannot produce freedom for an Afro-American. It is impossible for this system, this economic system, this political system, this social system, this system period. It is impossible for it, as it now stands, to produce freedom right now for the Black man in this country — it is impossible. And if ever a chicken did produce a duck egg (heh heh), I’m certain you would say it was a revolutionary chicken (heh heh).”

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, both incomparable leaders, both assassinated – Photo: Trikosko, Library of Congress

Both he and Martin Luther King had come to similar positions about capitalism and the Vietnam War at the time of their death. That is why this government assassinated them. No one has followed in their footsteps.

From the point of view of this government, the world leader in political assassinations, the two assassinations worked. For to this day, no mass leader has had the courage to pick up where they left off. They were able to silence the art, science and truth of these two great orators. To me, Feb. 21 is “the day the music died.” It was the saddest day of my life.

For an in depth explanation of the government’s assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, read my article, “The Assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

Update: The assassin with the shotgun

On April 30, 2010, I received an email from John Judge, director of the Coalition on Political Assassinations, referring to an April 22, 2010, article titled For the First Time in History, The Face of William Bradley, Shotgun Assassin of Malcolm X-El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, in a Public Safety Campaign Commercial for Mayor Cory Booker! by Abdur-Rahman Muhammad.

William Bradley

In that article is the picture shown here of William Bradley, who is the man that I had seen in the Audubon Ballroom and in the photos that the Harlem police showed me while I was being interrogated. Bradley was the man I saw coming out of the men’s room, walking by me, past the desks of the secretarial pool, and into his office inside the police station, as I was going to the men’s room!

As I wrote in my original 2009 essay: “At that point I knew that he and the government either killed Malcolm X or were part of the assassination plot.” And now I know his name. William Bradley is the man that Talmadge Hayer identified as the one who shot the shotgun. Zak Kondo also identified William Bradley as the assassin with the shotgun.

In his article, Abdur-Rahman Muhammad states: “Although his name has been in the public domain now for well over three decades, ever since 1977 when Hayer filed his affidavit with famed lawyer William Kuntsler naming his accomplishes, nevertheless a face has never been attached to the name. Historian and member of the committee researching this story Zak Kondo published a marvelous book two decades ago on the assassination of Malcolm X, wherein he explored quite a bit of biographical material on the five assassins. Spike Lee even named the five killers in the credits of his movie. But in all of these years none of them, including ‘Willie’ Bradley, has ever filed a libel suit. And for good reason – they would lose.”

This video, “MALCOLM X The Assassination of Malcolm X,” shows the police catching a second man after Malcolm’s assassination.
MALCOLM X The Assassination of Malcolm X
Uploaded by polobylimsa. – Watch the latest news videos.

A new improved video, “The Hunt for William Bradley,” by Karl Evanzz in association of Shabazz Productions, identifies the man rescued from the crowd by the police as William Bradley. The video is contained in a collection of clips titled “Naked Lies: The Continuous War Against Malcolm X.” Shabazz Productions had previously produced: Omar Shabazz “Inside Job: Betrayal of the Black Messiah.”

Roland Sheppard is a writer and activist and former BA of the Painters Union in San Francisco. Email him at info@rolandsheppard.com  and visit his website, https://rolandsheppard.com/