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During This Economic Crisis, Capitalism’s Three Point Political Program: Austerity, Scapegoat Blacks, Minorities, and ‘Illegal’ Immigrants for Unemployment, and 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.
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State Capture Crisis Grips South African Elections Widespread corruption, unemployment, inequity and disillusionment hovers over South African elections. We must have higher expectations from a national liberation movement says Professor Rasigan Maharajh
Fear Mongering and Capitalism: A Recipe for Fascism? (1/2) The effort to sell security to the people of the US is based on stoking irrational fears, something Trump has taken to new extremes, but which Democrats are guilty of as well, explains Charles Derber, who discusses his new book
Fear Mongering and Capitalism: A Recipe for Fascism? (2/2) Progressives have been notoriously bad at countering the right-wing fear/security narrative, says Charles Derber. The trick is to address the real dangers, of climate change, economic insecurity, and war
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The Veterans Affairs Budget: The wars of this century have created a new generation of veterans. In all, over 2.7 million U.S. military personnel have cycled through the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. Many of them remain in need of substantial support to deal with the physical and mental wounds of war. As a result, the budget for the Department of Veterans ffairs has gone through the roof, more than tripling in this century to a proposed $216 billion. And this massive figure may not even prove enough to provide the necessary services. More than 6,900 U.S. military personnel have died in Washington’s post-9/11 wars, with more than 30,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. These casualties are, however, just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of thousands of returning troops suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), illnesses created by exposure to toxic burn pits, or traumatic brain injuries. The U.S. government is committed to providing care for these veterans for the rest of their lives. An analysis by the Costs of War Project at Brown University has determined that obligations to veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars alone will total more than $1 trillion in the years to come. This cost of war is rarely considered when leaders in Washington decide to send U.S. troops into combat. —Boondoggle, Inc.: Making Sense of the $1.25 Trillion National Security State Budget
If Federal regulators once again allow these mega banks on Wall Street to crash the U.S. economy, there will be a political revolution in the United States. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which had a statutory mandate to study the 2008 crash, had this to say about regulators and Citigroup specifically: “…we do not accept the view that regulators lacked the power to protect the financial system. They had ample power in many arenas and they chose not to use it. To give just three examples: the Securities and Exchange Commission could have required more capital and halted risky practices at the big investment banks. It did not. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and other regulators could have clamped down on Citigroup’s excesses in the run-up to the crisis. They did not. Policy makers and regulators could have stopped the runaway mortgage securitization train. They did not. In case after case after case, regulators continued to rate the institutions they oversaw as safe and sound even in the face of mounting troubles, often downgrading them just before their collapse. And where regulators lacked authority, they could have sought it. Too often, they lacked the political will—in a political and ideological environment that constrained it—as well as the fortitude to critically challenge the institutions and the entire system they were entrusted to oversee.” — A Troublesome Thing Happened in Yesterday’s Market Selloff
The United States is not a Democracy (A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly)! Only the 1%, through their ownership of the Republicrats and who profit from war and the war budget, vote for War and the war budget — A policy, which Gore Vidal called a Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace.— The 99% Should Decide On War — Not Just The 1% Who Profit From War! Under a Democracy, The 99% would have the right to vote on the policy of Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace!
Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a corresponding political advance of that class. An oppressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility, an armed and self-governing association in the medieval commune(4): here independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany); there taxable “third estate” of the monarchy (as in France); afterwards, in the period of manufacturing proper, serving either the semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility, and, in fact, cornerstone of the great monarchies in general, the bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern Industry and of the world market, conquered for itself, in the modern representative State, exclusive political sway. The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeois. The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part. The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation. — Communist Manifesto
For the past 50 years, the commander in chief has steadily expanded presidential power, particularly in foreign policy — Power and the Presidency, From Kennedy to Obama
Unhinged, Insensitive, and Lying’: Trump Uses Bar Graph to Spread Falsehood About Puerto Rico Hurricane Aid “His racism knows no boundaries,” said San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz “I brought a chart. Would you like to see a chart?” Trump said, pulling a piece of paper from his jacket pocket to cheers from the audience. “That’s Puerto Rico and they don’t like me,” said the president, pointing to a section of the bar graph purporting to show that Puerto Rico has received $91 billion in hurricane relief funding. As The Associated Press reported, Trump’s “number is wrong, as is his assertion that the U.S. territory has set some record for federal disaster aid. Congress has so far distributed only about $11 billion for Puerto Rico, not $91 billion.” By Jake Johnson
Boondoggle, Inc.: Making Sense of the $1.25 Trillion National Security State Budget In its latest budget request, the Trump administration is asking for a near-record $750 billion for the Pentagon and related defense activities, an astonishing figure by any measure. If passed by Congress, it will, in fact, be one of the largest military budgets in American history, topping peak levels reached during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. And keep one thing in mind: that $750 billion represents only part of the actual annual cost of our national security state. ByWilliam Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
Democracy Now!: Billion Dollar Loser: NYT Report on Trump’s Taxes & Massive Losses May Prompt Fraud Investigation We look at a major exposé from The New York Times, which obtained tax information on Donald Trump that shows his businesses lost $1.17 billion from 1985 to 1994. While Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns, printouts from his official IRS tax transcripts for a 10 year period ending in 1994 show that in multiple years during that stretch, Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual taxpayer in the country and paid no federal income taxes for eight of the 10 years. “Almost every two cents of every dollar reported as losses one year, by everyone in the United States, were recorded by Donald Trump,” notes our guest, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, an investigative reporter previously with the Times, now founder and editor of DC Report.org.. He has been reporting on Donald Trump since the 1980s and his new piece for the Daily Beast is headlined “Trump’s Tax Leak Hints at Potential Fraud Investigations.”Joe Biden Personifies a New “End of History,” This time for U.S. Imperial Rule Biden’s open support of corporate oligarchy and disdain for Black America won him the hearts and minds of the ruling class. “The contradictions of U.S. imperialism have become a drag on human progress itself.” Joe Biden officially entered the Democratic Party primary on April 25th. The former Senator and Vice President vowed to defeat Donald Trump and rescue the “soul” of the nation. His third attempt to capture the commander-in-chief position exemplifies the decrepit state of U.S. imperial rule. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, U.S. and Western oligarchs celebrated the “end of history.” The oligarchs assumed that unfettered imperial rule and capitalist exploitation would permanently dominate the globe. Biden is indeed a favorite among the oligarchsto continue this project, but his very essence represents quite the opposite development. By Danny Haiphong BAR contributor BAR contributorEnvironment:
Metal and Rubber with Your Chicken? No Problem Says Tyson Rubber and metal are some of the recent surprise “ingredients” found in Tyson chicken. In January, 36,420 pounds of Tyson chicken nuggets were recalled due to rubber contamination. In March, a recall for possible metal contamination of ready-to-eat Tyson chicken strip products began which continues–now encompassing 12 million pounds. Tyson Foods is the world’s second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork, operating the Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Sara Lee, Ball Park and other well known brands. By Martha Rosenberg
More Evidence of Undisclosed Carcinogens at Site of Enbridge’s Proposed Greater Boston Gas Project Newly uncovered air quality samplings by the State of Massachusetts showed elevated levels of carcinogens and other pollutants at Enbridge’s proposed natural gas compressor station in a densely populated site near Boston. The data, revealed in written testimony this week by a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) official responding to an appeal over the Weymouth station’s air permit, joins other samplings showing toxics in the area, which DeSmog exclusively reported last month. The samples were not disclosed in the project’s health impacts assessment (HIA), which Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker ordered following a public outcry over the risks posed by the facility that will keep gas pumping through pipelines and is situated near residential streets and environmental justice communities. “The fact that they would just ignore these samples is extremely troubling,” said Andee Krasner from the group Mothers Out Front, which is fighting the gas compressor project. “It’s a clear threat to the health of children and families in the Fore River Basin.” By Itai Vardi
Black Liberaation/Civil Rights:
Black Caucus Blasted for Turning Its Back on Rep. Omar It’s been more than a generation since the Congressional Black Caucus stood up for Black people, or progressive political principles, anywhere. “The Black Caucus remains silent on the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine and the creation of a system of apartheid in both Israel and the Occupied Territories.” An impressive list of Black intellectuals and activists is circulating an open letter to the Congressional Black Caucus, blasting the Black federal lawmakers for failing to mount a “robust defense” of one of their own, Ilhan Omar, the first-term Congresswoman from Minneapolis, who is a Muslim. Pro-Israel lawmakers had demanded that Omar be roundly rebuked for her critique of the power wielded on Capitol Hill by AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby. What finally emerged was a Resolution that condemned anti-Semitism, as well as Islamophobia and all other forms of racial, religious and ethnic hatred. Congresswoman Omar wasn’t named in the resolution, but was clearly the target. The signatories to the Open Letter say the Black Caucus has been passive in the face of pro-Israel power in Congress, and no longer lives up to its slogan as the “Conscience of the Congress.” By Glen Ford
Black Mothers Dying in US Only a social and economic transformation can lift Black America to a First World state of well-being. Black health requires Black Power.“Racism condemns its Black and Native citizens to shorter and sicker life spans than prevail in much of what used to be called the Third World.” Of all mothers in the U.S., Black women are the most likely to die in childbirth, according to data released this week by the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The death rate for Black mothers is 42.8 for every 100,000 live births. For Native American mothers, the second most at risk, mortality is 32.5 per 100,000. Non-Hispanic white mother’s death rates are only 13 per 100,000. But, even U.S. white mothers’ mortality is far higher than women in all the other rich countries of the planet. On a world scale the United States ranks 46thamong nations in maternal mortality, way behind every nation of western Europe, Japan and South Korea, and even trailing the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. By Glen Ford, BAR executive editor
Forces of Russian Trotskyism unite around the International Marxist Tendency! On 3-4 May 2019, the Thirteenth Congress of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party was held in Russia. Dozens of congress delegates voted to unify with the Russian section of the International Marxist Tendency, and the unified organisation voted to join the IMT! The congress was attended by representatives of regional organisations in Moscow, Primorye, Bashkortostan, Saratov, Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar Territory, Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Republic of Belarus, Chuvashia, the Komi Republic and others. In addition, representatives of the Russian section of the International Marxist Tendency took direct part in the work of the congress. A number of representatives of different left-wing political organisations were also present, including the Red Front, the Left Front and the United Communist Party.
Could Trump’s Jones Day Lawyers End Up in Deutsche Bank-Gate?If there is any hope for America to restore itself to a true democracy, the House must continue to take this investigation where the facts lead – including the outsized influence that the Jones Day law firm has had in the Trump administration and its ties, and the President’s ties, to Deutsche Bank. Another key area for investigation are the Jones Day ties to the Koch’s Freedom Partners and the role that group had played in dismantling critical regulations and safeguards that protect the American people. By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Health, Education, and Welfare:
The government of the United States can pass laws in a few days to spend tens of trillions of dollars for war and the bailout of Wall Street and the bankers. Yet, those who ‘govern’, pass universal healthcare for themselves, but they cannot spend even one trillion dollars for universal health for those who are ‘governed’! This is what is considered, by the powers the to be, a democracy and part of the democratic way. — Roland Sheppard, Let The People Vote on Healthcare!
Mercedes Schneider: The Utter Failure of Louisiana’s Voucher Program Mercedes Schneider summarizes here the story of vouchers in Louisiana, which are now widely recognized as a train wreck. New Orleans’ public radio station WWNO broadcast a detailed account of this policy failure, which steers students to D and F rated schools. State Superintendent John White, one of the voucher program’s most ardent advocates, refused to be interviewed for the program. ”Multiple local news outlets were involved in the investigation: ‘The Cost of Choice’ is the result of a reporting collaboration between NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, WVUE Fox 8 News, WWNO and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.” By Diana Ravitch