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
As the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s violent death (on April 4, 1968) grows closer, you can expect to hear more and more in U.S. corporate media about the real and alleged details of his immediate physical assassination (or perhaps execution). You will not be told about King’s subsequent and ongoing moral, intellectual, and ideological assassination. I am referring to the conventional, neo-McCarthyite and whitewashed narrative of King that is purveyed across the nation every year, especially during and around the national holiday that bears his name. This domesticated, bourgeois airbrushing portrays King as a mild liberal reformist who wanted little more than a few basic civil rights adjustments in a supposedly good and decent American system—a loyal supplicant who was grateful to the nation’s leaders for finally making noble alterations. This year was no exception. The official commemorations never say anything about the Dr. King who studied Marx sympathetically at a young age and who said in his last years that “if we are to achieve real equality, the United States will have to adopt a modified form of socialism.” They delete the King who wrote that “the real issue to be faced” beyond “superficial” matters was the need for a radical social revolution. It deletes the King who went on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) in late 1967 to reflect on how little the black freedom struggle had attained beyond some fractional changes in the South. He deplored “the arresting of the limited forward progress” blacks and their allies had attained “by [a] white resistance [that] revealed the latent racism that was [still] deeply rooted in U.S. society.” — America Needs a Radical Dr. King, Not a New Obama
Twenty states suspend people’s professional or driver’s licenses if they fall behind on loan payments, according to records obtained by The New York Times. Fall behind on your student loan payments, lose your job. Few people realize that the loans they take out to pay for their education could eventually derail their careers. But in 19 states, government agencies can seize state-issued professional licenses from residents who default on their educational debts. Another state, South Dakota, suspends driver’s licenses, making it nearly impossible for people to get to work. As debt levels rise, creditors are taking increasingly tough actions to chase people who fall behind on student loans. Going after professional licenses stands out as especially punitive. Firefighters, nurses, teachers, lawyers, massage therapists, barbers, psychologists and real estate brokers have all had their credentials suspended or revoked. Determining the number of people who have lost their licenses is impossible because many state agencies and licensing boards don’t track the information. Public records requests by The New York Times identified at least 8,700 cases in which licenses were taken away or put at risk of suspension in recent years, although that tally almost certainly understates the true number. — When Unpaid Student Loan Bills Mean You Can No Longer Work
Robert De Niro Accused of Exploiting Hurricane Irma to Build Resort in Barbuda A chorus of voices from the Caribbean island of Barbuda is accusing Robert De Niro of being part of a backroom effort to exploit a devastating hurricane to fundamentally change the island’s communal land ownership law in the interest of developers — changes opposed by many Barbudans, but which could aid the actor’s controversial plans to build a large luxury resort called Paradise Found Nobu. By Naomi Klein and Alleen Brown
Seabed mining could destroy ecosystemsMining on the ocean floor could do irreversible damage to deep-sea ecosystems, says a new study of seabed mining proposals around the world. The deep sea (depths below 200m) covers about half of the Earth’s surface and is home to a vast range of species. Little is known about these environments, and researchers from the University of Exeter and Greenpeace say mining could have “long-lasting and unforeseen consequences”– not just at mining sites but also across much larger areas.
Planning the Poor People’s Campaign The King Legacy 50 Years Later A View From the BattlefieldA not-so funny thing happening on the way to the annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday—the St. Louis planning committee distanced itself from the Poor People’s Campaign. If one ever needed to wonder why Dr. King’s legacy is such a challenge to carry on, this must constitute one of the many reasons why. St. Louis boasts of having one of the biggest and oldest marches in the country. We begin the recognition of the holiday long before it became an official federal holiday. The clash between members of the MLK planning committee and the Poor People’s Campaign at the annual ceremony is an unfortunate contradiction in this proud history. There was no space permitted for a PPC rep to speak and when the group unfurled banners from the second floor balcony of the Old Courthouse, attempts were made to snatch them down by an event organizer. The incident was wrong on so many levels starting that it happened in the hallowed courthouse where the infamous Dred Scott decision took place and where enslaved Africans were sold. Did organizer forget the connection between Dr. King and the Poor People’s Campaign? Have we become so proprietary of the holiday, so disconnected from Dr. King’s vision that we have lost sight of the reasons for celebration? By Jamala Rogers, BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member and Columnist
Originally, this piece was to be a commentary on the television comedy, Black-ish. Just before the holiday season, December 2018, I rented season one of the program from a local library, and I watched three episodes of season four online. What is all the hype about this program and its Black creator, Kenya Barris? A few minutes into the first episode, I started thinking about the creative team working on this production. Are they fearful of being truly radical? Marketing a product and receiving recognition and rewards for this product is a sure sign of success. In America. It tackles police brutality, the “thorny” issues, according Variety, of being Black in America. And Black-ish is a success, “critically acclaimed” – even if its main “wife” and “mother” figure, Rainbow, is also a physician, but seen, that is, sold, primarily as a wife (and a mother of five!) to a very successful business executive. Should the consumers not question what’s being sold to them as representing a “woman,” that is, a Black woman – part of the package deal representing a Black family?
Maurice Carney: The US Has Always Been the Wrong Side of History in Africa
The So-Called Resistance Isn’t Resisting the State of Permanent War
Can a Case’s Prosecutor Be Its Judge on Appeal and Subsequent Litigation?
Kamm Howard: Reparations Legislation After John Conyers
Trump’s Gift for the Unemployed: Kicking Them Off Health CareOn January 11, the Trump administration issued a cruel announcement: If you can’t find a job, don’t count on being able to get health care.Under an unprecedented new policy, the administration will let states kick people off Medicaid for the crime of being unemployed. Instead of providing good jobs to struggling people, the administration is offering threats and tougher times. Those hurt could include the Carrier plant workers from Indiana, whose jobs Trump promised to save when he was campaigning for the presidency. Last year, the company announced 600 layoffs. Now the last of these employees are being pushed out the door. One worker says she’s “a lost paycheck away from homeless.” Imagine telling her Medicaid won’t be there for her on top of everything else she’ll lose. The heartlessness is incomprehensible. by Leeann Hall
Meet Don and Shannon McGahn: Trump’s Regulatory Chainsaw Couple President Donald Trump’s White House Counsel, Don McGahn, has a long history of gutting campaign finance laws to the benefit of corporations. His wife, Shannon McGahn, also an attorney, has a long history in efforts to roll back financial regulations on Wall Street. They have become corporate America’s favorite power couple in Washington. We’ll get to the details in a moment but first some necessary background on how campaign finance law was brazenly corrupted at the U.S. Supreme Court. By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
South Korea Slips Off the US Leash The mainstream US media, when it comes to the idea of talks between the governments of North and South Korea, are focused on the idea that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is trying to drive a wedge between the Republic of Korea and the United States. No doubt that is true, but this focus misses a major part of the story. What we’re really seeing here is South Korean President Moon Jae-in making a bold move to assert South Korea’s independence from the United States.by Dave Lindorff