Daily News Digest April 16, 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 April 16, 2018

Image of the Day:

It’s Election (Wag the Dog) Time!Carlos Latuff: Israel Quote of the Day:

The threat of Hamas has been skillfully used by the Israeli ruling class and by Netanyahu in particular as a means of consolidating their grip over society, after facing rising criticism and opposition to the austerity policies imposed by the government on the Israeli working class. Corruption scandals have undermined Netanyahu’s authority to a great extent and the still relatively small but significant demonstrations of tens of thousands of people over the past few months against the government policy on immigration and against corruption show that the potential for a stronger movement against the government exists. The shooting of unarmed protesters in Gaza and the defiant attitude of the Palestinian youth has also undermined the credibility of the government. The crisis of capitalism in Israel is creating the basis for further convulsions in the area which will put on the agenda once again the need to unify the struggle of the Palestinians in Israel and in the Territories with the struggle of the working class and youth within Israel against the policy of austerity, war and class inequality ruthlessly imposed by the Israeli ruling elite. — Massacre on Gaza border reveals brutality of Israeli ruling class

Videos of the Day:

US Attack on Syria Would Be Illegal Under International Law U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened a military strike on the Syrian government after Salafi-jihadist rebels alleged a chemical attack in Douma, but human rights expert Alfred de Zayas says this would be illegal under international law

Zuckerberg Hearing: An Opening for Regulating Social Media? The two day congressional hearing with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg opens a door to regulating social media privacy, which is especially needed given that Facebook and similar media companies are virtual monopolies in their fields, says Justin Anderson


Military strikes on Syria: what does it mean?  The US and its ‘allies’, the UK and France have bombed multiple government targets in Syria in an early morning operation targeting alleged chemical weapons sites. Explosions hit the capital, Damascus, as well as two locations near the city of Homs, the Pentagon said. “The nations of Britain, France, and the United States of America have marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality,” President Trump said in an address to the nation from the White House at about 21:00 local time (02:00 BST). At a Pentagon briefing shortly after Mr Trump’s announcement, Gen Joseph Dunford listed three targets that had been struck:

  • A scientific research facility in Damascus, allegedly connected to the production of chemical and biological weapons.

  • A chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs.

  • A chemical weapons equipment storage site and an important command post, also near Homs.

Early reports indicate that 110 cruise and air to land missiles targeted two ‘chemical weapons’ facilities and one command centre inside Syria. But some reports claim that Syrian air defences had brought down the majority of missiles. In any case, all these sites had already been evacuated. This was because Russia, which had been informed of the attack in advance by the Americans, had passed on the warning to their Syrian allies. By Alan WoodsU.S. has no evidence of Syrian use of sarin gas, Mattis saysWASHINGTON — The U.S. has no evidence to confirm reports from aid groups and others that the Syrian government has used the deadly chemical sarin on its citizens, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday. “We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. “We do not have evidence of it.” He said he was not rebutting the reports.“We’re looking for evidence of it, since clearly we are dealing with the Assad regime that has used denial and deceit to hide their outlaw actions,” Mattis said. By Robert Burns, Associated Press

FILE PHOTO: A U.N. chemical weapons expert, wearing a gas mask, holds a plastic bag containing samples from one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus, Syria August 29, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abdullah/File Photo – RC1350FA2000

Donald Trump Ordered Syria Strike Based on a Secret Legal Justification Even Congress Can’t SeeOn Friday night, President Trump ordered the U.S. military to conduct a bombing attack against the government of Syria without congressional authorization. How can this be constitutional, given the fact that Article I, Section 8 of America’s founding document declares that “The Congress shall have Power … To declare War”? By Jon Schwarz Are We Over the US/UK Fomented Crisis In Syria?It appears from the very limited US missile attack, most of which were intercepted and destroyed by Syrian air defenses, that the US military prevailed over the crazed John Bolton and carefully avoided a strike that would have resulted in a Russian response. No significant Syrian site appears to have been targeted, and no Russians were endangered. https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/04/in-depth-syria-stuns-world-thwarts-us-attack/ The US ambassador to Russia said that the US strikes were coordinated with Russia to avoid a great power confrontation. https://www.rt.com/news/424132-us-russia-syria-strikes/Russia Insider concludes that the exercise was a face-saver for Trump https://russia-insider.com/en/out-whimper-trump-blinks-delivers-limited-strikes/ri23132 By Paul Craig Roberts

Trump Is Already Wagging The DogThe 1997 film was about inventing distraction, not starting an actual war. The prospect of a scandal-plagued president launching a military attack on a distant land has pundits reaching for the handiest film cliche, the 1997 political satire Wag the Dog. On Monday, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews raised that possibility on his show Hardball while talking with USA Today’s Susan Page. “How about Wag the Dog, Susan?” Matthews asked. “I was with Barry Levinson last week. He is the director of a film where a president in fiction decided to start a little war to cover up for hanky-panky.” By Jeet Heer

As Trump and May Claim Concern for Syrian Civilians, Critics Slam Leaders for Anti-Refugee Stance“If the Trump administration truly cares about the fate of Syrian civilians, it can do far better in resettling Syrian refugees.” By Julia Conley

The civil war in Syria, exacerbated by military intervention by countries including the U.S., has left 5.5 million Syrians seeking asylum. (Photo: World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr/cc)

The Slippery Slope to a Constitution-Free AmericaThose who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” —Benjamin Franklin The ease with which Americans are prepared to welcome boots on the ground, regional lockdowns, routine invasions of their privacy, and the dismantling of every constitutional right intended to serve as a bulwark against government abuses is beyond unnerving. by John W. Whitehead


Brief Exposure to Tiny Air Pollution Particles Triggers Childhood Lung Infections, Largest Study of Its Kind FindsEven the briefest increase in airborne fine particulate matter PM2.5, pollution-causing particles that are about 3% of the diameter of human hair, is associated with the development of acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) in young children, according to newly published research. 

Ongoing Big Energy Crisis:

 Hanford’s Toxic Avengers: Department of Energy Suppresses Deadly Nuclear-Cleanup FlawsOnce home to the nation’s largest plutonium-making facility, Hanford, Washington, is now one of the most toxic nuclear-waste sites in the world. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is currently spending $2 billion a year to clean up the 586-square-mile reservation. However, not all is well on Washington’s dusty southeastern edge: Whistle-blowers are stepping forward, claiming that taxpayer money is being spent recklessly on a project riddled with potentially deadly design defects. by Joshua FrankCivil Rights/ Black Liberation:



Comey Compares Trump to “Mob Boss” as RNC Launches “Lyin’ Comey” Website The Republican National Committee (RNC), the organization that provides leadership and funding for the official Republican Party of the United States, has put its reputation on the line along with every Republican that’s running for public office in November by setting up an official RNC website calling former FBI Director James Comey “Lyin’ Comey.” By Pam Martens and Russ Martens


Health, Science, Education, and Welfare:

Patient Advocacy Groups Take in Millions From Drugmakers. Is There a Payback?Pharmaceutical companies gave at least $116 million to patient advocacy groups in a single year, reveals a new database logging 12,000 donations from large publicly traded drugmakers to such organizations.  By Emily Kopp, Sydney Lupkinand Elizabeth Lucas, Kaiser Health News| Report

From emancipation to criminalisation: Stalinist persecution of homosexuals from 1934In March 1934 Stalin re-criminalised homosexuality across the whole of the Soviet Union. Henceforth anyone involved in homosexual acts could be sent to prison for three to five years. In the early years of the Russian Revolution, however, homosexuality had been legalised – but this is something you will find little mention of in the literature produced by the official Communist Parties after 1934. Today’s Stalinists, who model themselves on Stalin’s regime, have a lot of explaining to do. By Fred Weston