Daily News Digest March 20, 2020

Another Example Capitalism as a Failed System: World Capilalism Was Aware of the Danger of Cornovavirus Threat 4 Years Ago and Did Nothing!

Capitalism Does Not, and Never Has, Worked for the Masses! In Its Death Agony, Capitalism Is Traveling About The World Like The Four Horsemen of the The Apocalypse, Spreading War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death. The very future of Humanity Is Now At stake!occupy1

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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.Scapegoat Blacks, Minorities, and ‘Illegal’ Immigrants for Unemployment, and 3.  The Iron Heel!

Always Remember:  That President Obama, With a Majority Democrat Legislature Supported the Wall Street Bailout and Remember, That he Established, in writing,  the United States Capitalist Austerity Program. —  The Race to the Bottom/Pauperization of the 99%!

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.!   Socialism Means True Democracy, that the 99% Will Rule, Not the Few!

Quotee of the Day:

Pensions Are Not Guaranteed — When the Obama/Bush Governments Bailed Out  Wall Street, It Left the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation To Go  Underfuned.:

Well, there’s something very radical happened that people haven’t been talking about very much. Normally a budget is supposed to decide what gets funded and what doesn’t get funded, and it’s simply a decision of what to cut back. A budget is not supposed to rewrite the law. But what happened is something very radical. They rewrote two laws. One of the laws was about bank derivatives that Elizabeth Warren has spoken about, promising to bail out Citibank and other banks. If they lose on derivatives, they’re going to get bailed out like they did in 2008. And the other was a decision not to bail out the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the government’s pension fund insurer. They’ve decided–they passed a new law. They rewrote the law. They declared the 1974 ERISA act protecting pensions illegal, and they said if pension funds cannot pay their retirees, they get to be cut back and they don’t get to go to the government to get guarantee. We’ve abolished the government guarantee on pension funds if the pension fund is run by a labor union, meaning if a pension fund is a multiemployer fund that has more than one employer contributing to it, like airline funds, truckers funds, Teamsters funds if you’re a truck driver, insurance employees, we’re going to give the fund managers, mainly the financial managers on Wall Street, the right to cut back on these pensions that are due. So the pensions that people had expected to receive when they made their wage contract saying, well, we’re not going to ask for as fast a wage increase if you give us security when we retire, all of this has been rewritten. — Michael Hudson, Playing the Pension Funds

Fracassi and Ramaioli, who work at 3-D printing startup Isinnova, were asked by physicist Massimo Temporelli to assist with producing the valves for only $1 after supplies from the source medical company were not forthcoming. The company, which charges $11,000 a piece for the devices, did not share the technical specifications for producing the valve—leading the volunteers to measure the valves and print from those numbers—and has threatened to sue for patent infringement. TechDirt‘s Glyn Moody noted on Tuesday that the greed at the heart of the threat to sue was staggering and indicative of the deeper problems in the world economic system laid bare by the coronavirus outbreak: This is a perfect example of how granting an intellectual monopoly in the form of a patent allows almost arbitrarily high prices to be charged, and quite legally. That would be bad enough in any situation, but when lives are at stake, and Italian hospitals struggle to buy even basic equipment like face masks, demanding such a sum is even worse. And when a pandemic is raging out of control, for a company to threaten those selflessly trying to save lives in this way is completely beyond the pale. — Italians Found Way to 3-D Print Key Ventilator Piece for $1 to Help Battle Coronavirus—So the Company With the Patent Is Threatening to Sue

Image of the Day:

Wall Street Has Put the 99% — Last The 99% 1st! — High Risk Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Insurance

Videos of the Day:


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! The United States takes from the poor and gives to the Rich.

Whether Trump Gets Elected or Biden Gets Elected, We Are Guaranteed to Have a Liar for President and an Advocate for Social Security Cuts! —Trump Calls for Social Security Cuts for the 4th Consecutive YearBiden’s Record on Social Security

 Bashing Probe of US War Crimes, Pompeo Threatens Family of ICC Staff With Consequences “If there remained any doubt that the Trump administration’s hostility towards the court is fundamentally punitive and callous in nature, these doubts have now been dispelled.”Amnesty International on Wednesday rebuked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over new comments bashing the International Criminal Court and threatening court staff—and their family members—investigating alleged war crimes committed by United States forces in Afghanistan. “Threats against family members of ICC staff who are seeking justice is a new low, even for this administration,” said Daniel Balson, Amnesty International USA’s advocacy director.  By Andrea Germanos

We Are Facing Economic Collapse on Top of a Pandemic. What We Do Now Matters. As the COVID-19 virus spreads, the U.S. economy has begun to crumble like a house of cards. The sudden collapse of the economy is revealing how the “great economy” that Donald Trump has been boasting about on Twitter for the past three years was in fact a mirage caused by wild Wall Street rallies, and boosted by Trump’s massive tax cuts and deregulatory efforts, which rolled back all kinds of environmental standards with total disregard for the impact on public health and the climate crisis.As the shutdowns orchestrated to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus create financial ruin for individuals and businesses across the country, the economy is “teetering on collapse,” points out Robert Pollin, distinguished professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, in this exclusive interview for Truthout. By C.J. Polychroniou

Progressive Lawmakers Demand Nationwide Moratorium on ‘Cruel and Dangerous’ Evictions Amid Coronavirus Pandemic “Evicting families puts their health at risk, imposes trauma on and disrupts the education of their children, and exacerbates the risk of outbreak in their communities,” said Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and other lawmakers. By Jake JohnsonEnvironment:

Global Warming Is Driving Increased Inequality The gap between the world’s richest and poorest countries is 25 percent larger than it would have been without climate change Since the 1960s, temperature changes caused by growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere have enriched cool countries like Norway and Sweden, while dragging down economic growth in warm countries such as India and Nigeria. “Our results show that most of the poorest countries on Earth are considerably poorer than they would have been without global warming,” said Stanford University Noah Diffenbaugh, lead author of a study published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “At the same time, the majority of rich countries are richer than they would have been.”Civil Rights/ Black Liberation:

Late-Stage Imperial Omni-Crisis: Death by Virus and Internal Contradictions The epidemic reveals the stark truth, that the US dismantled and privatized its public health system, to fatten the pockets of the oligarchy and render working people more helpless and dependent.  “Citizens have become aware that the oligarchs – their rulers — are the vectors of mass insecurity, sickness and death.” The nation that considers itself to be the apex of capitalist achievement on planet Earth turns out to have no health care system worthy of the name – a testament to the sucking moral vacuum at America’s imperial, white settler colony core. A lowly virus – a form of being that exists at the very border between “life” and “not-life” – has revealed the world’s superpower as butt-naked and very much afraidBy Glen Ford, BAR Executive Editor

Freedom Rider: COVID-19 Covers Up War and Financial Collapse COVID-19 is not just a health emergency. It has exposed the causes of inequality and suffering in this country. — “Thousands of symptomatic people go untested in a supposedly “advanced” country.” —  The COVID-19 corona virus is a newly discovered disease which killed thousands of people in China, its country of origin. Like every other communicable disease in history it has spread all over the world and is officially a pandemic. Questions about treatment and prevention are valid but media attention has allowed other crises to be covered up. This collusion helps the aggressors and thieves around the world act without fear of repercussion. By Margaret Kimberley, BAR senior columnist Sanders Gets Swallowed by the DNC Machine: It’s Time to #DemExit Only the demise of the Democratic Party can free up the potential of the people to resolve the many problems created by capitalism and imperialism. “Bernie’s millions of supporters  remain inside of an entity that is completely hostile to their demands.” By Danny Haiphong, BAR Contributing Editor“Virus or No Virus, We Can’t Lose Our Voice”: Cheri Honkala on Frontline Communities Coronavirus is just an extension of the war that we’ve been forced to fight under capitalism. “We’re assisting people who suddenly have no income and are stuck in their homes for the foreseeable future.”Cheri Honkala has been organizing in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, one of the US’s most devastated, post-industrial communities, for over 30 years. As of the 2010 census, Kensington was 38.9% Hispanic of any race, 37.4% non-Hispanic white, 14.8% non-Hispanic Black, 6.2% Asian, and 2.7% all other. And it’s beginning to be threatened by gentrification. By Ann Garrison, BAR Contributing EditorDebtors of the World, Unite! Debt’s ubiquity is a burden, but also an opportunity. “The point of debtors’ unions it is to build collective power—people power.” Moral thinking about debt has fluctuated throughout history, as Olivia Schwob’s recent piece  in these pages deftly details. The current moment, she notes, marks the possibility of still another turning point. By Hannah AppelThe Roots of Anti-Racist, Anti-Fascist Resistance in the US  The militant white supremacists of the current generation are either products of, or influenced by, the “third Klan” of the 1970s and 1980s. “The Klan’s resurrection was a reaction to the radical insurgencies of the era.” By Robin D.G. KelleyElon Musk Is Acting Like a Neo-Conquistador for South America’s Lithium The billionaire is leading the scramble for Bolivia’s lithium resources under a coup government. “Evo Morales’ pre-coup government made clear that these precious resources were not to be turned over to transnational corporations.” Elon Musk, the head of Tesla, wants to build an electric car factory in Brazil. He was supposed to meet Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, in Miami in early March, but he was too busy; instead, Musk will go to Brazil sometime this year. All eyes  are on the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, whose Secretary of International Affairs Derian Campos is in direct contact with Musk. Two automobile manufacturers—BMW and GM—already have factories in Santa Catarina. Marcos Pontes (Minister of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Communications) held a video conference with Anderson Ricardo Pacheco, a senior Tesla official. They were joined by Daniel Freitas, a congressman, and Claiton Pacheco Galdino, who is the business development director for Criciúma, a city in Santa Catarina. They are eager for Tesla to open a Gigafactory—Tesla’s name for a big factory—in South America’s largest economy. By Vijay Prashad and Alejandro Bejarano The Great Bernie Bust It is now all but certain that Joe Biden will be the Democratic candidate.“The Bernie bust shows that the US is exceptional after all — in a purely negative sense.” Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? The Bernie Sanders boom captivated the global left. Everywhere else, social democrats seemed to be on the rocks. Britain’s Labour Party was a shambles, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Insoumise was losing steam, while Syriza and Podemos were hardly more than memories of radical opportunities lost. Only in the United States did the story seem any different, thanks to Sanders’ long march through the Democratic Party. By Daniel LazareThe New White Moderate: Political Coercion, Liberalism, and the Failed Electoral Strategy A democracy is not just being “allowed” to “choose” your representatives, but having representatives that actually align with peoples material interests. Folks need to marshal their rage toward building a sustainable movement of people power.”  By Joshua BriondCalm Down About Coronavirus and Follow Africa’s Lead Europe – not Africa – is the current epicenter of the disease. “Nigeria’s experience with Ebola in 2014 has prepared the country for outbreaks such as coronavirus.” A hail Mary effort to delay the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. through “social distancing” and wholesale closing of schools, large events and major institutions has millions of people scrambling to adjust to a new and disturbing reality. The stated strategic objective of these measures is to prevent the healthcare system from becoming suddenly overwhelmed. But there are doubtless many individuals whose thoughts are less community-oriented and who, while looking out for self, are instead driven by a hope that they will somehow evade the reach of the pandemic entirely. By Mark P. FancherPrisoners and Coronavirus Prisoners and guards are at much greater risk than the general population. “Prison health care systems are not prepared to deal with this epidemic.” Prisons are a breeding ground for these kinds of diseases and once it hits it will spread like wildfire; we are anticipating a devastating infection rate. Now is the time for Prison Abolition.  People are going to die if we do not decarcerate right now. That means prisoners and guards alike are affected.  Abolition has never been more necessary. We are all connected.  Prison walls are an illusion, they create the false impression of separation. By  Noelle Hanrahan

COVID-19: The Monster is at the Door The danger to the global poor has been almost totally ignored by journalists and Western governments. “COVID-19 might take a different and more deadly path in the slums of Africa and South Asia.” . COVID -19 is finally the monster at the door.  Researchers are working night and day to characterize the outbreak but they are faced with three huge challenges.  First the continuing shortage or unavailability of test kits has vanquished all hope of containment.  Moreover it is preventing accurate estimates of key parameters such as reproduction rate, size of infected population and number of benign infections.  The result is a chaos of numbers.  By Mike DavisLabor:

Americans Need a Basic Income During the Coronavirus Outbreak The government should start sending checks to the hardest-hit workers. As the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic escalates, support is growing for immediate economic relief for the millions of Americans whose lives have been upended. Utah Senator Mitt Romney has  proposed sending a one-time infusion of $1,000 to every American adult during the crisis, while Trump Administration officials are also weighing the idea of direct cash payments to Americans. While one-time “stimulus checks” are an option— as they were in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis—many Americans are going to need longer-term support to weather the coming financial storm. Rather than a single shot of cash, struggling Americans will need an “emergency basic income” (EBI)—i.e. no-strings-attached, continuing cash support, similar to what former presidential candidate Andrew Yang proposed on the campaign trail.  By Anne Kim


On the other hand, a depression is an extended recession or serious decline in the economy that lasts for years. For a depression to be in effect, unemployment rates need to rise above 20 percent and there needs to be a significant decline in gross domestic product, among other factors. — What’s the Difference Between a Recession and Depression?

The Working Class Has Been in a Depression For the Past 10 Years!:

The seasonally adjusted Shadow Government Statistics Alternate Unemployment Rate for February 2020 is 21.1%.

Wall Street’s Crisis Began Four Months Before the First Reported Death from Coronavirus in China; Here’s the Proof U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Wall Street pundits are all over cable news, repeating the mantra that “this is nothing like the last financial crisis,” while seeking to lay the blame for all of the newly-announced bailout measures for Wall Street at the feet of the coronavirus. But in terms of Wall Street privatizing profits and socializing losses, this is exactly like the last financial crisis. Wall Street’s crisis has a specific launch date: September 17, 2019. That’s when the Fed, for the first time since the last financial crisis, began dumping hundreds of billions of dollars a week into Wall Street’s trading houses. That program, called “repo loans,” now tallies up to more than $9 trillion in cumulative loans made to Wall Street at super-cheap borrowing rates. The first article we wrote on that Fed program was dated September 18, 2019 and titled: The Fed Intervened in Overnight Lending for First Time Since the Crash. Why It Matters to You. By Pam Martens and Russ Martens


‘Literally Weaponizing Coronavirus’: Despite One of World’s Worst Outbreaks of Deadly Virus, US Hits Iran With ‘Brutal’ New Sanctions “As Iranians are ravaged by the coronavirus, the U.S. is complicit in their death. This is a crime against humanity.” By Julia Conley

 Fight the Pandemic With Workers’ Control and Planning As the coronavirus sweeps the globe, the Irish government has introduced measures to expropriate buildings to set up emergency hospitals, the Spanish government has given itself powers to requisition private health facilities, and France has promised to nationalise large companies “if necessary”. In a word, these governments have admitted the utter bankruptcy of the market in dealing with the crisis. In Britain however, the shortsighted Boris Johnson government has wedded itself entirely to market measures. The result will be catastrophic for millions of working class families. By Ben Curry

Economists Demand Trump Immediately Lift Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela Sanctions That Are ‘Feeding the Coronavirus Epidemic’  “This policy is unconscionable and flagrantly against international law. It is imperative that the U.S. lift these immoral and illegal sanctions.” A group of economists and policy experts on Wednesday called on President Donald Trump to immediately lift the United States’ crippling sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and other countries, warning that the economic warfare—in addition to being cruel in itself—is “feeding the coronavirus epidemic” by hampering nations’ capacity to respond. By Jake Johnson

Health, Science, 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 ‘governn’, 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 to be,  a democracy and part of the democratic way. — Roland Sheppard, Let the People  Vote on Healthcare! 

 Coronavirus Pandemic Reveals Just How Devastating the Greed of For-Profit Insurance Industry Has Become Remember: For-profit insurers are in the business to make a profit. Period.A word to the wise: During this coronavirus crisis, keep an eye on every move of my old industry: health insurers. Behind the PR spin, they’ll be doing everything they can to deny care and maintain profits while making it look like they’re heroes.  By Wendell Potter

Our Profiteering Robber Baron Trump Clan: Guess Who Previously Owned Health Insurance Co. Operating Coronavirus Testing Website President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House advisor Jared Kushner previously controlled a health insurance company that just unveiled a new website geared toward directing people to locations where they can be tested for the new COVID-19 coronavirus. The company, Oscar Health Insurance, had held itself out as being founded by Joshua Kushner, Jared’s brother. But state records uncovered by Mother Jones on Tuesday revealed that, when the business was incorporated in 2013, both Jared and Joshua owned Oscar’s parent company, Thrive Partners III GP LLC. By Jerry Lambe

Civilization Ruffled by Another Perfect Epidemiological Storm In a highly urbanized world, chronic and acute infectious diseases strike crowded populations again and again. Little has changed since humans elected to forgo survival strategies that ranged over a variety of ecological habitats for the concentrated production of grain and livestock in early states. Now we rely on agribusiness and factory farms to funnel food to endlessly conjoined urban, suburban and exurban developments. We wait helplessly for the latest vaccine while new strains of disease quietly gestate in fetid congeries of human habitation. By John Davis

Covid-19 and the Need, Right Now, For a Universal Basic Income Apart from the medical threat revealing a brutal class divide in healthcare, the coronavirus pandemic is creating social and economic havoc among non-rich populations. If ever the need for a universal basic income was evident, it is now. But governments, trying to save the neoliberal system, and making the most of the disaster to lay the foundations for a new round of disaster capitalism, won’t see it. To give a couple of examples of this catastrophe profiteering, laissez-faire entrepreneur par excellence, Sir Richard Branson, wants a £7.5 billion government bailout for his airline, and Trump has proposed a $700 billion stimulus package in which industries will be “stimulated” at the expense of Social Security and, once again, the poor. So much for the free market. By Daniel Raventós – Julie Wark