Daily News Digest March 23, 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 March 23, 2018

Image of the Day:

Bendib: Great Energy/Chaos Quotes of the Day:

My life has recently intersected, in a most personal way, two of Mark Twain’s famous quips. One I shall defer to the end of this essay. The other (sometimes attributed to Disraeli), identifies three species of mendacity, each worse than the one before — lies, damned lies, and statistics.  — Stephen Jay Gould

Liberals this week want to drum us into outrageous fury over the fact that Facebook, with almost 2 billion accounts worldwide, handed over user data of millions of people to Cambridge Analytica, a firm retained by the Trump campaign. Cambridge Analytica, or CA for short is part of the Robert Mercer empire , which funds an entire zoo of nonprofits from Citizens United to the Cato and Heritage Foundations, and which sponsored Steve Bannon’s career and Breitbart News after the death of its founder Andrew Breitbart. CA’s claim to fame was the supposed identification of 5,000 data points on millions of people by which they could supposedly distinguish firm supporters from wavering ones, identify potential contributors and much more. Of course the millions whose data is being sold to marketers have nothing to say in the matter. This should be no surprise to anybody. Aggregating and selling user data to marketers of all kinds has always been at the core of Facebook’s business model, and US political campaigns were widely recognized and conducted as marketing operations for a generation or two before Facebook or even the internet came along. The angry liberals have forgotten that eight years earlier the Obama campaign hired Mark Zuckerberg’s college room mate and former Facebook architect Chris Hughes to run their web operation, and to deploy and use the social networking data of millions of users and their Facebook friends purchased the same way Trump got it. The Obama crew was so good at using the stuff that a couple months before the election Advertising Age named the Obama campaign its 2008 “Marketer of the Year ” beating out the likes of Apple, Amazon and Nike. — Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Rreport,  Managing Editor, Liberal Ire at Trump and Cambridge Analytica is Misdirected From Billionaires Who Own Your Data

Videos of the Day:

Former Venezuelan Interior Minister Arrested: Fracturing the Bolivarian Movement? As the political and economic situation in Venezuela continues to intensify, the Maduro government arrested Miguel Rodriguez Torres, a well-known former interior minister. What is behind this and does it point to a fragmentation of the governing movement?

How Long Will It Take for Casino Money to Reach Classrooms? Hundreds of teachers, students and advocates descended on Annapolis to demand legislators increase funds to Maryland schools and make good on the promise to use casino revenue to supplement education funding

Trump Boasts of Killer Arms Sales in Meeting with Saudi Dictator, Using Cartoonish Charts Trump kicked off his White House meeting with his authoritarian “good friend” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by pulling out charts listing the weapons the U.S. is selling to Saudi Arabia – Ben Norton reports.

Operation Demetrius – Internment without Trial


More ‘Lies and Damn Lies’  Of A Type Developed By Liars Re: communique issued  by the UK, USA, France and Germany yesterday: “This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War I have now received confirmation from a well-placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve agent as being of Russian manufacture,  and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation. The Russians were allegedly researching, in the “Novichok” programme a generation of nerve agents which could be produced from commercially available precursors such as insecticides and fertilisers. This substance is a “novichok” in that sense. It is of that type. Just as I am typing on a laptop of a type developed by the United States, though this one was made in China. To anybody with a Whitehall background this has been obvious for several days. The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was used by Theresa May in parliament, used by the UK at the UN Security Council, used by Boris Johnson on the BBC yesterday and, most tellingly of all, “of a type developed by Russia” is the precise phrase used in the joint communique issued by the UK, USA, France and Germany yesterday: This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War. by Craig Murray

The New Jim Crow Privately Run Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Prison Headlines From Intercept:

ICE Contractor Says It Doesn’t Use Solitary Confinement. Photos of Its Isolation Cells Reveal Otherwise.

Private Prison Continues to Send ICE Detainees to Solitary Confinement for Refusing Voluntary Labor

ICE Detainee Sent to Solitary Confinement for Encouraging Protest of “Voluntary” Low-Wage Labor


Dying Forests Outpace Efforts to Fight Climate Change The world’s unregarded forests are at risk. Intact forest is now being destroyed at an annual rate that threatens to cancel out any attempts to contain global warming by controlling greenhouse gas emissions. Trees in the tropical regions are dying twice as fast as they did 35 years ago – and human-induced climate change is a factor.  And a third study has highlighted the value to humanity of intact forests, while estimating that four-fifths of the Earth’s remaining woodlands are now in some way degraded by human activities. “This figure,” researchers warn, “is probably an underestimate.” By Tim Redford Ongoing Big Energy Crisis:

Civil Rights/ Black Liberation:

No Holding Back “Black” Brazil “The Brazilian state is conducting an even more lethal war against its Black population than its northern counterpart’s militarized oppression of U.S. Blacks.”The assassination of Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman Marielle Franco sent huge crowds of outraged mourners into the streets of Brazil, the western hemisphere’s “blackest” nation, where more than half of the 210 million inhabitants describe themselves as preto (black) or pardo (partly African). The 38 year-old member of the Party of Socialism and Liberty (PSOL) and her driver were ambushed by hit men firing police-issued bullets, sending “a message to all black bodies that fight for rights in the favela,” the besieged ghettos of Brazil’s cities, said Black activist Marcelle Decothé . By Glen Ford, BAR executive editor Ongoing Police Terrorism: Died For the Crime Of Being A Young Black Male, Yet Again.  Police in Sacramento killed 22-year-old Stephon Clark, nicknamed Zoe, Sunday night as he stood in his own backyard behind the house he shared with his grandparents and siblings. Police were responding to a call about someone breaking car windows in the neighborhood when they confronted Clark; because they “feared for their safety,” two officers shot him 20 times – 10 times each – within seconds of shouting for him to show his hands and then frantically screaming “Gun! Gun!” After they murdered him, they muted the audio on their body cameras and talked for five more minutes before approaching Clark and handcuffing him as he lay on the ground. They offered no medical help. Once reinforcements arrived, they questioned Clark’s grandmother for several hours before telling her that her grandson was dead. He left behind two sons, 3 and 1. byAbby Zimet


Energetically Corrupt’ Mulvaney Gave Green Light to Delete Data on Trump’s Tip-Stealing Rule “This is a transparency concern, a legal concern, and I think it’s got to be a concern for the legitimacy and the integrity of the deregulatory agenda writ large.” Further revealing how far the Trump administration is willing to go to “actively make workers’ lives worse,” Bloomberg Law reported on Wednesday that White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney personally approved the Labor Department’s decision to delete an internal analysis showing that its proposed “tip-sharing rule” would allow companies to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from their employees per year. By Jake Johnson

Economy: Wall Street Is Winning By Going Dark As front page news focuses more and more on the Russia-Trump investigation, there is rarely an in-depth journalistic investigation into the dangerous risks building up on Wall Street that makes front page news. And yet, as we know from the epic financial crisis of 2008, an unreformed Wall Street presents the gravest threat to America’s long-term vitality and economic might. Take, for example, what happened this past Monday. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) awarded a record $83 million to three whistleblowers from one of America’s largest retail brokerage firms, Merrill Lynch, part of the sprawling Bank of America. That bank holds $1.4 trillion in deposits, much of which is FDIC insured and backstopped by the U.S. taxpayer — the same taxpayer that bailed out Bank of America in 2008 .By Pam Martens and Russ MartensTrump, Bannon and Cambridge Analytica: The Money Trail Leads to the Mercers Last evening, the Washington Post reported that Steve Bannon was the individual overseeing the earliest collection of Facebook data for Cambridge Analytica in 2014. The company is under investigation in both the U.S. and U.K. for data mining private information on more than 50 million Facebook users to target voters for the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. Bannon, with funding from billionaire hedge fund manager, Robert Mercer, was involved in the launch of Cambridge Analytica in 2013. Both Bannon and Mercer served on the Cambridge Analytica Board after its founding. By Pam and Russ Maerens


 Venezuela: Ex-Spymaster Detained for Alleged ‘Conspiracy’ Miguel Rodriguez Torres has been accused of “conspiracy” against the constitution and of sowing division within the armed forces. Venezuela’s former interior minister and intelligence czar, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, was arrested by state intelligence officials Tuesday over allegations of “conspiracy” against the constitution. The retired army major-general was asked to cut short his speech at a conference at the Hotel Presidente in central Caracas before being escorted by eight members of the National Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) to the general headquarters of military counterintelligence. As shown in video footage of the arrest, Rodriguez Torres put up no resistance. By Paul DobsonIsrael’s Admission of 2007 Clandestine Bombing of Syria Contains This Warning: Iran Could Be Next The overnight operation dubbed “Outside the Box” took place from Sept. 5-6, 2007, when F16s and F15s carried out the airstrikes against what the U.S. and Israel say was a reactor built with help from North Korea. Israel—a nuclear-armed power but not a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)—argues that the facility in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor region was “in its last stages of construction.” Syria, which is a party to the treaty, has denied it was building a reactor. By Andrea GermanosFrom Belfast to Guantánamo: the Alleged Torture of Northern Ireland’s “Hooded Men” For Jim Auld, it began at a house party. On August 9, 1971, while he and his friends drank pints of beer and danced to the Rolling Stones in their nationalist neighborhood of West Belfast, the government of Northern Ireland and the British Army began Operation Demetrius. Auld strolled back to his parents’ house around 3:30 a.m. and thought it was odd that the lights were still on. He found the door already open, and a man with a rifle waiting for him on the other side. Soldiers jumped out from the bushes and shoved him inside. Auld’s memory of that evening remains sharp because of what followed: He and 13 other Irish Catholics were subjected to treatment that on Tuesday the European Court of Human Rights declared “inhumane and degrading,” but rejected to revise as legally torture. The government took the men to a secret detention facility and used them as guinea pigs to perfect what would later be called the “Five Techniques.” The court had originally ruled in 1978 that the treatment was not severe or cruel enough to be classified torture. By Summer Eldemire

Tory Profiteering in Russia and Putin’s Debt of Gratitude Low and behold, Tory toffs love to profit from Russian affairs. Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Somerset Capital Management Fund has £57 million invested in the blacklisted Russian Sberbank – a company which is subject to EU and US economic sanctions. Then there is Sir Roderic Lyne — a recent board member of the Petropavlovsk plc (one of the largest producers of gold in Russia), who in earlier years served as the private secretary to John Major for foreign affairs, defence and Northern Ireland.by Michael Barker

‘International community’ unites behind Turkey to crush the Kurds in Afrin On Sunday, the Turkish war machine, supported by so-called Syrian rebel troops took control of the Kurdish-majority city of Afrin in northeastern Syria. Of course, while the western media were busy condemning the Assad regime’s offensive against Islamist forces in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, they paid no attention whatsoever to the brutal onslaught against the Kurds, who have never attacked Turkey. By Hamid Alizadeh

Health, Science, Education, and Welfare: