Daily News Digest February 14, 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

Daily News Digest February 14, 2018

February is Black History Month

Images and Quotes of the Day:

The Image of Human


Below is one of his last speeches, given 40 years ago and one year before his assassination, at Stanford University in April 1967 and titled the ‘The Other America.’ Here he speaks not of a dream but of the nightmarish economic condition of Black people. When he talks about ‘work-starved men searching for jobs that do not exist’ and living on a ‘lonely island of poverty surrounded by an ocean of material prosperity,’ the speech remains timely in today’s world.” — Roland Sheppard, San Francisco Bay View Newspaper

The questions of ownership and control that we’ve been discussing today go right to the heart of what is needed to create that different kind of society. Because it cannot be right, economically effective, or socially just that profits extracted from vital public services are used to line the pockets of shareholders when they could and should be reinvested in those services or used to reduce consumer bills. We know that those services will be better run when they are directly accountable to the public in the hands of the workforce responsible for their front line delivery and of the people who use and rely on them.  It is those people not share price speculators who are the real experts. That’s why, at last year’s general election, under the stewardship of Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, Transport Secretary, Andy McDonald  and Environment Secretary, Sue Hayman, Labour pledged to bring energy, rail, water, and mail into public ownership and to put democratic management at the heart of how those industries are run. . . . We need to put Britain at the forefront of the wave of international change in favour of public, democratic ownership and control of our services and utilities. — Jeremy Corbyn speech to Alternative Models of Ownership Conference

Videos of the Day:

Guilty Verdict in Gun Trace Task Force Corruption Trial Gun Trace Task Force members Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor have been found guilty on a number of charges tied to racketeering, conspiracy, and fraud. Hersl and Taylor were the only two members of the Baltimore Police Department’s federally-indicted gun unit not to plead guilty, and their trial, which began three weeks ago revealed numerous shocking tactics used by Baltimore Police officers to enrich themselves, including the illegal seizure of money, drugs, and guns—often keeping some or all of the drugs and money (and in one case reselling a gun)—along with extensive overtime fraud.

Koreas Talk Peace, But Does Trump Want War? The thaw between North and South Korea at the Olympic Games culminated in an invitation to Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang. But the Trump administration’s militarism in the region could stand in the way, says professor Christine Hong

Trump Privatizes America Trump’s infrastructure privatization plan is a hat trick that optimistically turns $200 billion into $1.5 trillion, is designed to eliminate the public sector and to bankrupt cities and states, says economist Michael Hudson.


‘Morally Bankrupt’ Budget: After $1.5 Trillion Gift to Rich, Trump Demands $1.7 Trillion in Safety Net Cuts “Millions of Americans will lose access to life-saving programs because the GOP gave $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to the rich.” By Jake Johnson

The Plutocrats Are Chomping at the Bit to Punish Us with Pricey Road Tolls Early this past December, Virginia state officials opened up their latest “dynamically priced” toll superhighway, a 10-mile stretch of interstate that runs from Northern Virginia into Washington, D.C. Ten days later, commuter Chris Kane looked up  at the signage that continually updates the road’s current rush-hour fare. The sign read $44 By Sam Pizzigati                 

The New Jim Crow Voting Laws: No Voting Rights for Felons: Unfair, Anti-Democratic, and, Yes, “Nonsensical” In late January, US District Judge Mark Walker struck down Florida’s rules for restoring the voting rights of former convicts, finding those rules not just unconstitutional (on First and Fourteenth Amendment grounds) but “nonsensical.” Why nonsensical? Because “disenfranchised citizens must kowtow before a panel of high-level government officials over which Florida’s governor has absolute veto authority.” by Thomas Knapp

The UK’s Hidden Hand in Julian Assange’s Detention It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. In fact, they depended on a legal charade. Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case.In other words, for more than four years Assange has been holed up in a tiny room, policed at great cost to British taxpayers, not because of any allegations in Sweden but because the British authorities wanted him to remain there. On what possible grounds could that be, one has to wonder? Might it have something to do with his work as the head of Wikileaks, publishing information from whistleblowers that has severely embarrassed the United States and the UK. By  Jonathan Cook

Judge refuses to withdraw Julian Assange arrest warrant  By Nadia Khomami


Ongoing Big Energy Crisis:

 Lissa Lucas Dragged Out of West Virginia House Judiciary Hearing For Listing Oil and Gas Contributions Lissa Lucas traveled the 100 miles from her home in Cairo, West Virginia to the state capitol in Charleston yesterday to testify against an oil and gas industry sponsored bill (HB 4268) that would allow companies to drill on minority mineral owners’ land without their consent. . . . “As I tried to give my remarks at the public hearing this morning on HB 4268 in defense of our constitutional property rights, I got dragged out of House chambers,” Lucas said. “Why? Because I was listing out who has been donating to Delegates on the Judiciary Committee.” by Russell Mokhiber

Civil Rights/ Black Liberation:

At the time of Martin Luther King’s assassination, he was willing to risk jail and to organize a mass demonstration, in defiance of a court injunction and National Guardsmen, in armored personnel carriers equipped with 50-caliber machine guns, to help the striking Memphis municipal garbage workers.  These workers ultimately won their union contract, and thousands of ordinary working families in that city got living wages that allowed them to educate their children, buy houses, live decent and dignified lives, and even retire.In his last speech, he stated: All we say to America is, “Be true to what you said on paper.” If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, MAYBE I COULD UNDERSTAND SOME OF THESE ILLEGAL INJUNCTIONS. Maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they HAVEN’T committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for RIGHTS. And so just as I say, WE AREN’T GOING TO LET ANY DOGS OR WATER HOSES TURN US AROUND, we aren’t going to let any injunction turn us around.

Memphis, Tennessee, March 29,1968 Martin Luther King Supports Sanitation Works Strike Striking Workers /Civil rights protesters meet the National Guard at the home of the Memphis Blues

In contrast, Maynard Jackson quickly demonstrated that he was not beholden to or a leader of the Black population that elected him, but beholden to those who financed his election campaign and who helped his personal political and financial advancement. In Atlanta, Jackson, instead of helping city sanitation workers, fired more than a thousand city employees to crush their strike. In this, he had the support of white business leaders and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This contrast  was clearly stated in the essay A disgrace before God: Striking black sanitation workers vs. black officialdom in 1977 Atlanta: 

Memphis in 1968 best demonstrated this connection, where wildcat strikes by an all-black workforce against overtly racist city officials became a larger battle for black liberation and community self-management. This struggle eventually saw the involvement of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights establishment figures. When Dr. King was assassinated the day after giving a stirring speech to assembled sanitation workers, victory for striking workers followed shortly for much of American liberal official society sympathized with the strikers against the racist city officials. The city recognized the strikers’ call for union recognition, nationally backed by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and conceded to demands for better pay and improved workplace conditions. This scene repeated itself in St. Petersburg and Cleveland later that year. This also occurred in Atlanta in 1970, where civil rights figures, some of whom were newly elected city officials, supported striking sanitation workers threatened with termination by Atlanta’s white mayor Sam Massell. Fast-forward seven years to the Atlanta of 1977 and something strange, one may think, happened. The script was flipped. The same black officials who supported sanitation workers against firings by a white mayor decided to replace striking city sanitation employees with scabs. This occurred with the full support of many old guard civil rights leaders and organizations, allied with business and civic groups associated with Atlanta’s white power structure during Jim Crow segregation. What explains the apparent about-face by black officials?  The Atlanta strike of 1977 shows the coming of age of a coalition of black and white city officials, along with civic and business elites, under the leadership of the city’s first black mayor, Maynard Jackson. Just seven years earlier Jackson publicly sided with sanitation workers against a white mayor seeking to fire them. Jackson and some members of the civil rights establishment, in positions of local government by the mid 1970s, did not hesitate to marshal the forces of official society against the self-activity of black workers. They allied with white business and civic elites, the same people that just a few years earlier openly supported white supremacist segregation, all in the name of smashing the sanitation workers’ strike by any means necessary. This showed the open class hatred of black and white elites against working people, a prominent feature of communities in Atlanta for generations. Similar ‘fruits’, from the political policy of supporting the “lesser evil” Democratic Party, has led to a set back for the struggle for civil rights and equality. — Roland Sheppard,  The Rise and Fall of the Civil Rights Movement



A Stock Market Primer, in Six Easy Steps What is the stock market?

  • It’s not real economic activity—it’s a form of mass hysteria or mass psychosis. Stock prices reflect a mass-hysteria impression of the worth of a piece of paper you hold—a stock certificate.The worth of that piece of paper is sometimes tethered to some economic reality of some corporation—at least partially—but sometimes not. Often a stock price bears little relation to the economic health of a company, as illustrated in the wildly gyrating stock price-to-earnings ratios through the decades.

  • Hence the stock price is often a matter of caprice, covert manipulation, and/or unfathomable crowd psychology, not necessarily real economic “health” or productivity. by William Kaufman 

Underlying Real-World Economic Activity Never Recovered from the Great Recession. Underlying reality remains that the economy crashed into 2009 and never has recovered fully. Not only that, but broad activity began to turn down anew, with an unrecognized ―new‖ recession likely to be timed from December 2014, as indicated by downturn in the Industrial Production and the Manufacturing series (see Graph ECON-16 out of the Federal Reserve).  John Williams, Shadow Government Statistics

Shadow Government Statistics ―The Headline Illusion‖ Real GDP (1970 to 2017), First Estimate of Fourth-Quarter 2017

Rumors Grow that the U.S. Fed is Propping Up the Stock Market By Pam Martens and Russ Martens

These Fears Are Overhanging the Stock Market It’s Time to Pull Back the Curtain on the Central Banks Trump’s presidency is spinning out of control leaving no adults in the room; the much ballyhooed tax cut legislation is actually going to produce frightening budget deficits that push up interest rates to a level that crashes the stock market; the Republican Party that pushed for this fiscally-irresponsible tax cut plan will be responsible for handing the House over to Democrats in the midterms, putting an end to the deregulation perks to corporations that have buoyed this stock market; if the House shifts leadership so will important House Committees like Intelligence and Financial Services, which may decide to start issuing meaningful subpoenas. By Pam Martens and Russ MartensWorld:

Jeremy Corbyn: Nationalize, Democratize Electricity Grid to Avert Climate Crisis Labour Party leader calls for ‘radical’ action to help avert climate catastrophe UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said making the nation’s electricity grid publicly-owned is the best course to “put tackling climate change at the heart of our energy system.” Speaking  Saturday at a conference in London, Corbyn decried the failure of privatization of public services and laid out an economic vision that addresses the climate crisis while narrowing inequality. “The challenge of climate change requires us to radically shift the way we organize our economy,” he said.  By Andrea Germanos

France: Macron declares war on the unemployed Following amendments to the labour code (adopted in September 2017) that made it easier to fire workers, Macron’s government is now lashing out at the unemployed with a counter-reform to the unemployment insurance system. ‘Negotiations’ with the trade unions should conclude in mid-February. The law is scheduled to be adopted this summer. . . . Organic unemployment—The root of the problem is an economic system that generates organic mass unemployment. Despite the current ‘economic recovery’, unemployment has stagnated at high levels. Over 2017, the number of category A job seekers (those required to actively look for work) only fell by 0.4 percent, amounting to 13,000 fewer unemployed workers. In other words, a drop in the ocean. By Hubert Prévaud

Escalation of imperialist aggression against Venezuela: respond with revolutionary measures

Brazil and Colombia are sending troops to their borders with Venezuela / Image: public domain

It is clear that US imperialism and its lackey countries have increased aggression against Venezuela in recent weeks. The aim has been declared publicly: to trigger a coup d’etat against the government of President Maduro and allow the capitalist oligarchy to take control again. It is necessary to respond with revolutionary measures that strike a blow at the economic power of the oligarchy: the agents of imperialism in the country

Health, Science, Education, and Welfare: