Daily News Digest January 21, 2019

Daily News Digest January 21, 2019 

(Martin Luther King Jr. Day)

The Other America Speech Stanford University, April 14, 1967 A Film by Allen Willis

My introduction to King’s, The Other America, for the San Francisco BayView:  The Jan. 15 birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be celebrated. this year as, America’s only ‘Black holiday’, today, Monday, January, 21. Today, the ruling class and their mass media always feature his 1963 ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, as if he never evolved beyond that point. During his lifetime, as a leader of the civil rights movement, King was constantly hounded by the government with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. Since his death, an effort has been made to convert him into a harmless icon – to canonize him. Below is one of his last speeches, given over 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.

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.

Quote of the Day:

A group of Michigan State University researchers say there is a nexus between large-scale deaths of Monarch butterflies and the application of the widely applied herbicide glyphosate. — Study Blames Roundup for Monarch Butterfly Deaths

Images of the Day:

Here’s What a Real Strike Looks Like: 150 Million Say No to Despotism in IndiaPg&E at The Public Trough

Videos of the Day:

Agent Provocateurs and the Assassination of Black Panther Fred Hampton

Millions Of Women Already Live In A Post-Roe America: A Journey Through The Anti-Abortion South

New Study Concludes Greenland Ice Sheet Is Melting Even In Winter

L.A. Teachers to Billionaires: Stop Privatizing Our Schools

Trump’s Space Force: A Dangerous Lunacy Donald Trump announced a large expansion of space-based nuclear missile defense technology; Daniel Ellsberg says it won’t work and makes a nuclear armageddon more likely

National Emergency Declaration Could Trigger ‘Power Grab’  Lindsay Koshgarian argues that the government shutdown could very well lead to Trump calling a national emergency, which would be dangerous to freedom while also causing economic downturn


As Trial Starts For Border Humanitarian Volunteers, New Documents Reveal Federal Bureaucrats’ Obsession With Stopping Activists By Ryan Devereaux Trump Administration Prosecutors argued this week that members of the borderland faith-based organization No More Deaths broke the law by leaving jugs of water and cans of beans for migrants trekking through a remote wilderness refuge in the Sonoran Desert. The arguments came in the first of a series of high-profile federal trials in Tucson, Arizona, where humanitarian aid volunteers are facing prosecution under a litany of charges.

Ex-Trump lawyer: Rigging polls ‘was at the direction of’ TrumpMichael Cohen paid a firm to manipulate online polling data, the Wall Street Journal reportedMichael Cohen, a former lawyer for US President Donald Trump, said on Thursday he paid a firm to manipulate online polling data “at the direction of and for the sole benefit of” Trump. The Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen had paid the data firm RedFinch Solutions to manipulate two public opinion polls in favour of Trump before the 2016 presidential campaign.

Ocasio-Cortez Is on the Financial Services Committee, and Banks Are Afraid   By Shilpa Jindia  Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s assignment to the powerful House Financial Services Committee has triggered a fresh round of handwringing, this time with some merit. Banks are afraid of her — and they should be. The addition of Ocasio-Cortez, an outspoken advocate for financial reform, to the committee represents one of the greatest challenges to big banks’ interests since the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Though she joins other strong voices like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, on the committee, Ocasio-Cortez will give a voice to her generation, which came of age in the financial crisis.

Trump’s Space Force: A Dangerous Lunacy Donald Trump announced a large expansion of space-based nuclear missile defense technology; Daniel Ellsberg says it won’t work and makes a nuclear armageddon more likely

National Emergency Declaration Could Trigger ‘Power Grab’  Lindsay Koshgarian argues that the government shutdown could very well lead to Trump calling a national emergency, which would be dangerous to freedom while also causing economic downturn


California’s most famous butterfly nearing death spiralBy Peter Fimrite   An alarming, precipitous drop in the western monarch butterfly population in California this winter could spell doom for the species, a scenario that biologists say could also plunge bug-eating birds and other species into similar death spirals.Only 28,429 of the striking orange-and-black butterflies were counted at 213 sites in California, an 86 percent drop from a year ago, according to the final tally of the annual Thanksgiving count to be released Thursday by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. That’s a 99.4 percent decline since the 1980s, an all-time low for the Pacific Coast, where an estimated 10 million monarchs once blanketed trees from Marin County to the Baja California peninsula, providing, by all accounts, a spectacular winter display of color.

In Facing Mass Extinction, We Must Allow Ourselves to Grieve By Dahr Jamail No one knows if the biosphere will completely collapse. Our future is uncertain. Given the fact that a rapid increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere coincided with previous mass extinctions and that we could well be facing our own extinction, we should be asking ourselves, “How shall I use this precious time?” Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us of the value just in being present with what is happening to the planet: “When your beloved is suffering, you need to recognize her suffering, anxiety, and worries, and just by doing that, you already offer some relief.”

 “I’m Sure Dinosaurs Thought They Had Time, Too’: Over 12,000 Students Strike in Brussels Demanding Bold Climate ActionBy Julia Conley    “It’s great to see the number of people present here today,” said one march organizer. “It’s an incredible signal. This cannot be ignored.”By Julia Conley, staff writer  An estimated 12,500 students walked out of their classrooms in Brussels, Belgium on Thursday to join the country’s second youth-led climate march in the past week, demanding that government leaders from across Europe take bold action to help stem the global climate crisis.

Ongoing Big Energy Crisis:

Public Takeover of PG&E: A Radically Common-Sense Proposal By Justin Sullivan California’s large investor-owned utility, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), announced it would be filing for bankruptcy by the end of the month after being faced with $30 billion in damages related to a series of fires over the past two years, including last fall’s deadly Camp Fire, which was allegedly sparked by the utility’s old, faulty transmission lines. That fire killed 86 people, destroyed 14,000 homes in the town of Paradise, and stands as the deadliest and most destructive fire in the state’s history. PG&E’s bankruptcy forces a critical choice for new California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state leaders. They could opt to bail out PG&E, or break up the gargantuan company into presumably more manageable pieces. Or they could do the right thing and take the utility into democratic, public ownership.

Art Berman: Exposing The False Promise Of Shale OilBy Tyler Durden Estimates of recoverable oil are proving wildly wrong… Art Berman, geological consultant with over 37 years experience in petroleum exploration and production, returns to the podcast this week to debunk much of the hopium currently surrounding America’s shale oil output. Because the US is pinning huge hopes on its shale oil “revolution”, so much depends on that story being right. Here’s the narrative right now:

  • The US, is the new Saudi Arabia
  • It’s the swing producer when it comes to influencing the price of oil
  • The US will be able to increase oil production for decades to come
  • New technology is unlocking more oil shale supply all the time
  • But what if there’s evidence that runs counter to all of that?

We’re going to be taking a little victory lap on this week’s podcast because The Wall Street Journal has finally admitted that shale oil wells are not producing as much as the companies operating them touted they would produce — which is what we’ve been saying for years here at PeakProsperity.com, largely because we closely follow Art’s work: The Wall Street Journal did some research and they got the general point that the wells are not as good as advertised  But what they missed is just how much farther off many of these reserves are than even the discounted reserves that they’ve reported. Bottom line: if the understatement is only 10%, that’s a rounding error and it’s not that much of an issue to the average person. But I’ve been trying for a decade to get the number that I independently develop to get anywhere close to the published numbers. In most cases, I can only get near 60% or 70% of them. So, the gap, I think is much more substantial. The reason that The Wall Street Journal didn’t get it more right is because they don’t do any independent research and of course they didn’t talk to me, they didn’t talk to Dave Hughes, they didn’t talk to people who actually do the work, and so they’re getting one side of the story.

Civil Rights/Black Liberation:

Women’s March 2019: San Francisco street closures, route, and time Everything you need to know about the march on SaturdayAn estimated 50,000-60,000 people marched from Civic Center to the Embarcadero in 2018. The route for the 2019 march will be the same: Starting at Civic Center Plaza for a rally with speakers. Once that ends, the actual march will head down Market Street to the Embarcadero near the Vaillancourt Fountain. By Brock Keeling 

House Democrats’ HR 1 – Faking the Funk on Voting Rights, Spreading Fear and Gunning For the Greens in 2020It’s a new year, and Democrats running the House of Representatives under Nancy Pelosi, Jim Clyburn and Steny Hoyer need to rebrand themselves and prepare for the 2020 elections. So they’ve rolled out what they and their corporate media hacks are calling their flagship bill, HR 1, a 571 page monstrosity with dozens of empty promises they wouldn’t keep even if they could, along with a couple of serious threats against left dissenters in general and the Green Party in particular, that they just might. It’s not on the official House web site yet, but we read the version on the web site of its sponsor, congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland. By Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report managing editor


The Radical Organizing That Paved the Way for LA’s Teachers’ StrikeIn 2014, a progressive Union Power caucus took over UTLA—and that has made all the difference.There are three picket lines at the Harry Bridges Span School in Wilmington, California, on the morning of Wednesday, January 16, but the one in front of the gate is where the action is. There’s a truck driver there to make a delivery. He’s looked at the picket line and kept on driving for the previous two days, to the jubilation of the rallied teachers, parents, and neighbors holding the line. But today his supervisor is there, and it appears the supervisor has called the police to clear the way for the drivers.The teachers are facing off with the police officers—one teacher is in tears—as they explain why they think fellow unionized workers should stand with them, not try to cross the line. One woman taps my shoulder, saying, “The police should be going after bad people, not teachers!” Another picketer asks where all these police cars are when someone gets shot.By Sarah Jaffe

The L.A. Teachers’ Strike Is About So Much More Than WagesBy Sonali Kolhatkar  Los Angeles public school teachers began a historic strike on Monday, for the first time in 30 years. Members of the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) walked out of contract negotiations with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) that had dragged on for nearly two years. The specific battle is being fought over LAUSD’s refusal to tap into its record $1.86 billion reserve in order to reduce class sizes, hire more support staff, including counselors and nurses, improve infrastructure and more. But more broadly speaking, the L.A. teachers’ fight is symbolic of a bigger struggle to maintain and expand quality public education for all Americans and to secure the rights that the critical stakeholders—teachers, students, parents—have within that system


Unprecedented in the 100-Year History of the Series, U.S. Manufacturing Has Seen 11-Full Years (44 Quarters, 132-Straight Months) and Counting of Economic Non-Expansion. The dominant Manufacturing Sector remained shy by 4.00% (-4.00%) in fourth-quarter 2018 of ever having recovered its fourth-quarter 2007 pre-recession peak. Such should be of particular concern to policy makers and the FOMC, with the broad economy currently slowing, on the brink of a “new” recession.  Shadow Government Statistics Alternate Gross Domestic Product Chart The SGS-Alternate GDP reflects the inflation-adjusted, or real, year-to-year GDP change, adjusted for distortions in government inflation usage and methodological changes that have resulted in a built-in upside bias to official reporting.


Solidarity with Catalan independence activists: stop the repression!Yesterday, 16 people were arrested by Spanish police in Girona (Catalonia) without a warrant. Amongst those arrested were two local mayors of the anti-capitalist pro-independence CUP, a photojournalist and several activists of the CDRs (Committees for the Defence of the Republic), ANC (Catalan National Assembly), La Forja (pro-independence youth organisation) and SEPC (Catalan Students’ Union).  The International Marxist Tendency would like to express our solidarity with those arrested and their organisation and express our strongest objection at yet another case of repression and criminalisation of the Catalan Republican movement by theSpanish state. We call on working-class and left organisations and activists around the world to do the same.

Zimbabwe boils over: general strike has insurrectionary implicationsZimbabwe is again moving in the direction of a social explosion. Over the last few days, mass protests against new austerity measures have spontaneously grown over into a general strike against the government By Ben Morken

Health, Science, Education, and Welfare:

Why Infants May Be More Likely to Die in America Than Cuba Many Americans would welcome some traits of the island’s free,  Universal health care system.  Cuba is poor and repressive with a dysfunctional economy, but in health care it does an impressive job that the United States could learn from. According to official statistics (about which, as we’ll see, there is some debate), the infant mortality rate in Cuba is only 4.0 deaths per 1,000 live births. In the United States, it’s 5.9.  In other words, an American infant is, by official statistics, almost 50 percent more likely to die than a Cuban infant. By my calculations, that means that 7,500 American kids die each year because we don’t have as good an infant mortality rate as Cuba reports. By Nicholas Kristof

New England Journal of Medicine: Globalization Climate Change, and Human Health Rapid globalization has brought new, large-scale influences to bear on patterns of human health. Various global-scale changes — economic, social, demographic, and environmental (particularly climatic) — are linked, for example, to the increased prevalence of obesity, changes in regional food yields, the emergence of infectious diseases, the spread of cigarette smoking, and the persistence of health disparities

New England Journal of Medicine Globalization: Climate Change — A Health Emergency Some physicians may be willing to take more direct action in protest of policies that harm health. On this question, we agree with Charles van der Horst, a North Carolina physician who was arrested for protesting his state’s failure to expand Medicaid, that “In the face of great danger to our patients…remaining silent is not an option.”5We, like others, are frightened by the unfolding climate crisis, with its implications for the health of our communities and the future of our children. Rather than being paralyzed by despair, we choose to focus our efforts on areas where our voices are most powerful — for instance, by working with medical students on climate action, supporting the undergraduate divestment movement, joining forces with like-minded health professionals, and speaking with our legislators. There are currently more than a million physicians in the United States, and our actions matter. When the next generation asks us, “What did you do about climate change?,” we want to have a good answer