Daily News Digest January 2, 2018

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  Who Profit From Austerity! Under Austerity, All of the World Will Eventually Be Pauperized, Humbled, and Desecrated Like Greece and Puerto Rico

Daily News Digest January 2, 2018

Image of the Day:

‘The Politics of Pain:’ Big Pharma, Big Greed and the Opioid Crisis

Quotes of The Day:

Q&A Why is there an opioid crisis in America?  That is straight out of the opioid manufacturers’ playbook. Facing a raft of lawsuits and a threat to their profits, pharmaceutical companies are pushing the line that the epidemic stems not from the wholesale prescribing of powerful painkillers – essentially heroin in pill form – but their misuse by some of those who then become addicted. In court filings, drug companies are smearing the estimated two million people hooked on their products as criminals to blame for their own addiction. Some of those in its grip break the law by buying drugs on the black market or switch to heroin. But too often that addiction began by following the advice of a doctor who, in turn, was following the drug manufacturers instructions. Trump made no mention of this or reining in the mass prescribing underpinning the epidemic. Instead he played to the abuse narrative when he painted the crisis as a law and order issue, and criticised Barack Obama for scaling back drug prosecutions and lowering sentences. But as the president’s own commission noted, this is not an epidemic caused by those caught in its grasp. “We have an enormous problem that is often not beginning on street corners; it is starting in doctor’s offices and hospitals in every state in our nation,” it said. Opioids killed more than 33,000 Americans in 2015 and the toll was almost certainly higher last year. About half of deaths involved prescription painkillers. Most of those who overdose on heroin or a synthetic opiate, such as fentanyl, first become hooked on legal pills. This is an almost uniquely American crisis driven in good part by particular American issues from the influence of drug companies over medical policy to a “pill for every ill” culture. Trump’s commission, which called the opioid epidemic “unparalleled”, said the grim reality is that “the amount of opioids prescribed in the US was enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for three weeks”. The US consumes more than 80% of the global opioid pill production even though it has less than 5% of the world’s population. Over the past 20 years, one federal institution after another lined up behind the drug manufacturers’ false claims of an epidemic of untreated pain in the US. They seem not to have asked why no other country was apparently suffering from such an epidemic or plying opioids to its patients at every opportunity.  With the pharmaceutical lobby’s money keeping Congress on its side, regulations were rewritten to permit physicians to prescribe as many pills as they wanted without censure. Indeed, doctors sometimes found themselves hauled before ethics boards for not supplying enough. It’s an epidemic because we have a business model for it. Follow the money. Unlike most other countries, the US health system is run as an industry not a service. That gives considerable power to drug manufacturers, medical providers and health insurance companies to influence policy and practices. — Don’t blame addicts for America’s opioid crisis.

Videos of the Day:

The Real Baltimore: How Bigotry Shaped a City On this episode of The Real Baltimore, author and journalist Antero Pietila discusses how racist policies embraced by Baltimore a century ago continue to haunt the city today

Jeremy Corbyn’s 2018 New Year message in full as he declares Labour a ‘government in waiting’ “The old political consensus is finished. We are staking out the new centre ground in British politics, backing the things which most people want but are blocked by vested interests.


Half of Puerto Rico is still without power 100 days after Hurricane Maria hit the island Experts say that some parts of the island are not expected to get power back until next Spring By Frances Robles, Jess Bidgood

Puerto Rico mayor tears into Trump 100 days after hurricane, as half of island still remains without power ‘Where he needed to be a commander-in-chief, he was a disaster-in-chief’ By Emily Shugerman

 Don’t blame addicts for America’s opioid crisis. Here are the real culprits  America’s opioid crisis was caused by rapacious pharma companies, politicians who colluded with them and regulators who approved one opioid pill after another By Chris McGreal

One Year of Immigration Under Trump Donald trump made his formal entry into politics with the racism and xenophobia that would become a hallmark of his lightning-rod candidacy and, ultimately, his first year in the Oval Office. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said in his presidential announcement speech. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” “It’s coming from more than Mexico,” Trump continued. “It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably — probably — from the Middle East.” By Maryam Saleh

Officer involved 2017 For the third year in a row, police officers in the United States have killed more than 1,000 people. How do we make sense of such a staggering number?  This week, the research collective Mapping Police Violence, led by Sam Sinyangwe, released the 2017 Police Violence Report — an analysis of data concerning every deadly run-in with law enforcement recorded this year. By Josh Begley


Ongoing Big Energy Crisis:

Civil Rights/ Black Liberation:

When It Comes to Defending Rights, LeBron Takes Michael Jordan to School For Sunday’s game against the Washington Wizards in the nation’s capital, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James took the floor wearing a pair of mismatched sneakers — one white, the other black — each bearing the word “Equality” inscribed in gold stitching. “We all know where we are right now, and we know who is at the helm here,” James explained to a reporter after recording his third consecutive triple-double in the Cavaliers’ 106-99 win. He continued: “Us as Americans, no matter the skin color, no matter the race, no matter who you are, I think we all have to understand that having equal rights and being able to stand for something and speak for something and keeping the conversation going [is important]. Obviously, I’ve been very outspoken and well-spoken about the situation that’s going on at the helm here, and we’re not going to let one person dictate [to] us, us as Americans, how beautiful and how powerful we are as a people. For all his athletic accomplishments, Michael Jordan has never inspired the same kind of emotional response that LeBron James does today. by  Jon Jeter

Black Agenda Radio, Week of January 1, 2018

Stein is Clinton’s Scapegoat “Democrats are waging an all-out war against anyone that opposes them from the Left,” said Black Agenda Report editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley in her Freedom Rider column, “First They Came for Jill Stein.” The Green Party standard bearer “has been a convenient scapegoat” for Hillary Clinton’s defeat, said Kimberley. The vendetta against Stein “is an attack on the ability to publicly oppose U.S. foreign policy and freely communicate with people and governments all over the world.”

A New Rwandan-Ugandan Occupation of Congo?  Uganda, which along with Rwanda repeatedly invaded the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, has once again deployed its forces in Congo’s resource-rich Beni region. Even as local Congolese are driven out of the territory, Rwandan-speaking settlers are pouring in, said Helen Epstein, a professor of human rights at Bard College and author of Another Fine Mess: America, Uganda and the War on Terror. “People are wondering if they are really Congolese or, perhaps, Rwandans that are being settled there as a kind of de facto way of occupying this incredibly lucrative area,” said Epstein, speaking on The Real News Network.

Democracy Stolen Again in Honduras The United States endorsed the results of Honduras’ presidential election, despite calls by the Organization of American States for a new vote. “The policy of the Honduran military is to kill young activists in front of other young activists to discourage them from resisting,” said Ciara Taylor, a U.S. activist in solidarity with Honduras. The Obama administration backed a military coup in Honduras in 2009. “The U.S. is losing a lot of credibility in the world,” said Taylor. “People are resisting imperialism, colonialism and occupation.”

GOP Deficits Spell Doom for Social Programs The Republicans will use the multi-trillion dollar debt that will result from its tax cuts to defund Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, said historian and activist Paul Street. The defunding will amount to “an overall lifetime wage cut” and “reduction of our life expectancies,” said Street, author of They Rule: The 1% vs. Democracy.





Health, Science, Education, and Welfare: