Daily News Digest January 22, 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 1% Who Profit From Austerity! Under Austerity, All of the World Will Eventually Be Pauperized, Humbled, and Desecrated Like Greece and Puerto Rico! The Current government shutdown is over how to Apply austerity — Not an Opposition to austerity!

Daily News Digest January 22, 2018

Images of the Day:

From Obama to Trump Austerity — American style

Cookie Jar Accounting

Quotes of the Day:

Song From South Pacific Musical:  You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught By Richard Rodgers (This song is sung by Lieutenant Cable, with the line [Racism] is not born in you! It happens after you’re born before he begins singing. This song (and the discussion of racism in the musical) were very controversial.)

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear
You’ve got to be taught from year to year
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade
You’ve got to be carefully taught

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late
Before you are six or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate
You’ve got to be carefully taught

Today’s Robber Barons:

On Thursday, January 11, shares of Aflac stock hit a 52-week high of $91.69. That capped an increase of 29.6 percent over the past year, tracking the market’s strong run in 2017. During that time, Aflac management and its board were aware of serious allegations leveled against the company by former workers. None of the allegations were fully disclosed in federal filings to the investors pouring money into the company. Most pertinent to investors, the workers alleged that Aflac managers in the field have for years manipulated several key operational metrics, the very financial information that investors look at to make trading decisions. They also claimed that Aflac state coordinators have in the past massaged earnings numbers by moving weeks into or out of particular quarters, in what they called “cookie-jar accounting.” These claims form the basis of a derivative shareholder suit, filed by the workers who hold Aflac shares. If true, these actions could represent material misrepresentations to investors, on top of the failure to disclose the allegations — and Aflac’s internal investigations into those matters — over the past year. — Aflac Deceived Shareholders with ‘Cookie Jar Accounting,’ Lawsuit Says

Videos of the Day:

Cape Town Water Wars: A Literal Shitstorm In Cape Town, one of the most unequal cities in the world, poor people are taking the buckets they use for chemical toilets and turning them into weapons, as the water shortage intensifies class conflicts

After Hawaii Scare, Trump Worsens Nuclear Danger Trump’s bellicose statements about North Korea and the recent false missile alert in Hawaii have raised global alarm over nuclear war. Now, in an unprecedented step, a draft of the new U.S. Nuclear Posture calls for authorizing nuclear weapons use even in response to a non-military attack


No Foreign Bases! A new coalition, The Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases, held its inaugural event January 12-14, 2018 at the University of Baltimore in Maryland. The meeting was framed by a Unity Statement that brought together numerous peace and justice organizations. The basis for unity was: “U.S. foreign military bases are the principal instruments of imperial global domination and environmental damage through wars of aggression and occupation, and that the closure of U.S. foreign military bases is one of the first necessary steps toward a just, peaceful and sustainable world.” You can endorse the statement here. by Kevin Zeese – Margaret Flowers

Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation On Wednesday,  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the creation of a de facto autonomous Kurdish state in east Syria that will be supported by the United States and defended by a US-backed “proxy” army of occupation. Tillerson’s announcement was made at a confab he attended at Stanford University at the Hoover Institute. According to The Hill: By Mike Whitney

 Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show Much has been written about our Twitterer-in-Chief and the tortured response to his presidency, particularly within the GOP.  As a recent example, Frank Bruni of the New York Times lamented the fate of Senator Lindsey Graham, who has now become one of Donald Trump’s biggest defenders on mainstream shows such as “Meet the Press”. Bruni, however, reminds us that during the presidential campaign of 2016, Graham described then candidate Trump as the “world’s biggest jackass”, even as he now praises POTUS, thereby personifying “his party’s spastic, incoherent, humiliating response to Trump across time and its fatally misguided surrender.” by Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney

Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters After violence in Charlottesville last August, a Washington Post article asserted that alienated right-wingers had “sparked the deadly standoff in Ruby Ridge, Idaho” in 1992.  Ruby Ridge has recently been invoked by many people to show the need for federal crackdowns on dangerous extremists.  Unfortunately, the mainstream media has largely forgotten – or expunged – the federal misconduct and deception that permeated that showdown.   But it is difficult to comprehend the fear that many Americans have of the government without reconsidering Ruby Ridge.by James Bovard


Large Dams Fail on Climate Change and Indigenous Rights Brazil has flooded large swaths of the Amazon for hydro dams, despite opposition from Indigenous Peoples, environmentalists and others. The country gets 70 percent of its electricity from hydropower. Brazil’s government had plans to expand development, opening half the Amazon basin to hydro. But a surprising announcement could halt that.In an interview with O Globo, Mines and Energy Executive Secretary Paulo Pedrosa said the government is reconsidering hydro construction in the face of societal pressure, environmental damage and increasingly competitive renewable energy options.We can see parallels in Canada, where large hydro projects have been pushed through despite similar opposition and concerns.With an October election in Brazil, things could change, but we hope whatever government holds power will recognize there are better options than large-scale hydro. We also hope the BC government will reconsider its decision to proceed with Site C. Hydropower isn’t as “green” as many people once thought, and climate change creates new challenges. Decades of research show greenhouse gas emissions from large hydroelectric projects can be substantial, especially if carbon dioxide emitted during steel and concrete manufacturing and construction activities is accounted for. By David Suzuki

Ongoing Big Energy Crisis:

Nuclear Power Plants, Chemical Plants, and Oil Refineries ‘Cancer Alleys’ are Near Every Major City’s Black Hispanics and Hispanic Neighborhoods.:

Environmental Racism: Chester Pa. Environmental Racism is a subject that has long been known but only recently defined by black and environmental justice activists.Nevertheless, a recent court case centered  around Chester, Pa., has just been turned down by the Supreme Court. Basically, the Court’s decision determined that environmental racism does not legally exist! The following is a statement by the Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL): “Chester, Pa., a 65 percent African American,  low-income community southwest of Philadelphia, is home to four hazardous and municipal   waste facilities. The nation’s fourth largest trash-to-steam incinerator, the nation’s largest medical waste autoclave, and a sewage treatment plant and   sludge incinerator are all cited only yards from the houses of Chester.  The EPA has found that blood lead-levels in Chester’s children are ‘unacceptably high,’ that ‘air emissions from facilities in and around Chester  provide a large component of the cancer and non-cancer risks to the citizens of Chester,’ and that  both cancer and non-cancer risks, e.g. kidney and  liver disease and respiratory problems, from the  pollution sources at locations in the city of   Chester exceed levels which EPA believes are  acceptable.” By Roland Sheppard (1998)

Cancer Alley, Louisiana – Victims of Environmental Racism  (Video)

Signaling More Independence from the US, the World Bank Phases out its Support for Fossil Fuels The World Bank, which provides developing countries about US$60 billion a year in financial assistance, is officially phasing out its support for the oil and gas industries. This move brings its actions more in sync with its overarching commitment to slowing the pace of climate change and keeping the Paris agreement on track. Based on my research regarding international relations, I see this move — which World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced in December — as significant for two reasons. The bank has signaled that the international community is taking the fight against global warming more seriously than ever. And it shows that the bank intends to keep playing a leading role in that battle at a time when its most powerful shareholder, the U.S., is turning its back on global environmental leadership. By Jason Kirk, Elon University

 NYC sues, divests from oil firms over climate change New York City is taking on the oil industry on two fronts, announcing a lawsuit Wednesday that blames the top five oil companies for contributing to global warming and saying the city will sell off billions in fossil fuel investments from the city’s pension funds.

To Fight Climate Change, New York City Takes On Oil Companies Seeking to position himself as a national leader against climate change, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday announced a two-pronged attack against the fossil-fuel industry, including a vow that city pension funds would divest about $5 billion from companies involved in the fossil fuel business.

Civil Rights/ Black Liberation:


Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today In this paper we recall the history of Jubilee debt cancellations, emphasizing what their social purpose was at that time. We note that it would not be possible to copy that procedure exactly nowadays, primarily because most debt/credit relationships are intermediated via financial institutions, such as banks, insurance companies, etc., rather than by governments or wealthy families directly. But we argue that the underlying social purpose of such Jubilees – to keep debt within the reasonable ability to be paid without social and economic polarisation – could be recreated via alternative mechanisms, and we discuss the politico-economic arguments for, and against, doing so. Keywords: Inequality; Debt-Canceling Jubilees; Babylonian and Byzantine Empires; Equity Participation; Student Loans; Land Tax. By M. Hudson (University of Missouri) and C. Goodhart (LSE)

What Recovery?: Shadow Government Statistis Headline Industrial Production and Real Production

Alternate Gross Domestic Product Chart



Venezuela: economic crisis worsens – which way forward? The economic situation facing the masses in Venezuela has suffered a sharp turn for the worse over the Christmas period. The problems that already existed have worsened, with prices spiralling out of control, a further collapse of the transport system and an aggravation of scarcity (of food, fuel and cash). This has led to scattered protests and incidents of looting. By Jorge Martin

Health, Science, Education, and Welfare:

The Sports Ball as a Fomite for Transmission of Staphylococcus aureus Abstract: Outbreaks of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are becoming increasingly frequent in the athletic community. Skin– fomite contact represents a putative mechanism for transmission of MRSA. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the prevalence and transmissibility of S. aureus in three surfaces commonly encountered in the gymnasium setting: the court floor, the sports ball, and the athlete’s hands. Three sports scenarios were simulated by dribbling a sports ball within a designated area; the surfaces were cultured before and after play using media selective for S. aureus. There was significant transfer of S. aureus from the native, contaminated surface towards two disinfected surfaces. In a fourth experiment, survival of S. aureus on sports balls was evaluated over time. S. aureus was found to be viable on the ball for at least 72 hr. This study demonstrates the significance of the sports ball as a vector for pathogen transmission. Interventions aimed at reducing athletic outbreaks should therefore include routine disinfection of sports balls during and after play.