Daily News Digest July 18, 2016

Daily News Digest Archives

Daily News Digest July 18, 2016

Despite its Size, I believe that Michelle Alexanders’ Statement about Police Brutality in the Atlanta Black Star Reflects an Important Change in the Conciousness of Black Americans (This copy of the article as reprinted by the San Francisco BayView Newspaper):

Michelle Alexander Has Something to Say About Recent Cases of Police Brutality and We Should All Listen Michelle

I have struggled to find words to express what I thought and felt as I watched the videos of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile being killed by the police. Last night, I wanted to say something that hasn’t been said a hundred times before. It finally dawned on me that there is nothing to say that hasn’t been said before.

Every day since the police murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, protesters have been shutting down major streets and highways all over the country.

As I was preparing to write about the oldness of all of this, and share some wisdom passed down from struggles of earlier eras, I heard on the news that 11 officers had been shot in Dallas, several killed from sniper fire. My fingers froze on the keys. I could not bring myself to recycle old truths. Something more is required. But what?

I think we all know, deep down, that something more is required of us now. This truth is difficult to face because it’s inconvenient and deeply unsettling. And yet silence isn’t an option. On any given day, there’s always something I’d rather be doing than facing the ugly, racist underbelly of America. I know that I am not alone.

I think we all know, deep down, that something more is required of us now.

But I also know that the families of the slain officers, and the families of all those who have been killed by the police, would rather not be attending funerals. And I’m sure that many who refused to ride segregated buses in Montgomery after Rosa Parks stood her ground wished they could’ve taken the bus, rather than walk miles in protest, day after day, for a whole year. But they knew they had to walk. If change was ever going to come, they were going to have to walk. And so do we.

What it means to walk today will be different for different people and different groups and in different places. I am asking myself tonight what I need to do in the months and years to come to walk my walk with greater courage. It’s a question that requires some time and reflection. I hope it’s a question we are all asking ourselves.

In recent years, I have come to believe that truly transformative change depends more on thoughtful creation of new ways of being than reflexive reactions to the old. What is happening now is very, very old. We have some habits of responding to this familiar pain and trauma that are not serving us well. In many respects it’s amazing that we endure at all.

What it means to walk today will be different for different people and different groups and in different places.

I am inspired again and again by so much of the beautiful, brilliant and daring activism that is unfolding all over the country. Yet I also know that more is required than purely reactive protest and politics. A profound shift in our collective consciousness must occur, a shift that makes possible a new America.

I know many people believe that our criminal justice system can be “fixed” by smart people and smart policies. President Obama seems to think this way. He suggested yesterday that police-community relations can be improved meaningfully by a task force he created last year. Yes, a task force. I used to think like that. I don’t anymore.

I no longer believe that we can “fix” the police, as though the police are anything other than a mirror reflecting back to us the true nature of our democracy. We cannot “fix” the police without a revolution of values and radical change to the basic structure of our society.

Of course important policy changes can and should be made to improve police practices. But if we’re serious about having peace officers –  rather than a domestic military at war with its own people  – we’re going to have to get honest with ourselves about who our democracy actually serves and protects.

I no longer believe that we can “fix” the police, as though the police are anything other than a mirror reflecting back to us the true nature of our democracy.

Consider this: Philando Castile had been stopped 31 times and charged with more than 60 minor violations – resulting in thousands of dollars in fines – before his last, fatal encounter with the police. Alton Sterling was arrested because he was hustling, selling CDs to get by. He was unable to work in the legal economy due to his felony record. His act of survival was treated by the police as a major crime, apparently punishable by death.

His act of survival was treated by the police as a major crime, apparently punishable by death.

How many people on Wall Street have been arrested for their crimes large and small – crimes of greed and fraud that nearly bankrupted the global economy and destroyed the futures of millions of families? How many politicians have been prosecuted for taking millions of dollars from private prisons, prison guard unions, pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, tobacco companies, the NRA and Wall Street banks and doing their bidding for them – killing us softly?

Oh, that’s right, taking millions from those folks isn’t even a crime. Democrats and Republicans do it every day. Our entire political system is financed by wealthy private interests buying politicians and making sure the rules are written in their favor.

But selling CDs or loose cigarettes? In America, that’s treated as a serious crime, especially if you’re Black. For that act of survival, you can be wrestled to the ground and choked to death or shot at point blank range. Our entire system of government is designed to protect and serve the interests of the most powerful, while punishing, controlling and exploiting the least advantaged.

Our entire political system is financed by wealthy private interests buying politicians and making sure the rules are written in their favor.

This is not hyperbole. And this is not new. What is new is that we’re now watching all of this on YouTube and Facebook, streaming live, as imagined super-predators are brought to heel. Fifty years ago, our country was forced to look at itself in the mirror when television stations broadcast Bloody Sunday, the day state troopers and a sheriff’s posse brutally attacked civil rights activists marching for voting rights in Selma. Those horrifying images, among others, helped to turn public opinion in support of the Civil Rights Movement.

Perhaps the images we’ve seen in recent days will make some difference. It’s worth remembering, though, that none of the horrifying images from the Jim Crow era would’ve changed anything if a highly strategic, courageous movement had not existed that was determined to challenge a deeply entrenched system of racial and social control.

This nation was founded on the idea that some lives don’t matter. Freedom and justice for some, not all. That’s the foundation. Yes, progress has been made in some respects, but it hasn’t come easy. There’s an unfinished revolution waiting to be won.

Michelle Alexander is the author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness“ (The New Press, 2010). The former director of the Racial Justice Project of the ACLU in Northern California, she also served as a law clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court. Currently, she holds a joint appointment with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. She originally posted this piece on her Facebook page, where she can be reached, and later on Medium, where she serves on the EmbraceRace National Advisory Board.

Images of the Day:

Austerity for The World Backed Up by the MilitaryImageoftheDaySchool To Prison Industrial ComplexImageoftheDay2 Quotes of the Day:

“We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin … the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Jan. 15, 1929—Apr. 4, 1968) from speech at Riverside Church on Apr. 4, 1967 in opposition to the Vietnam War, one year before he was assasinated. — Apr. 4, 1967: Martin Luther King Jr. Delivers His “Revolution of Values” Speech

Perhaps this is no longer really the American century at all, despite the continuing status of the U.S. as the planet’s sole superpower.  A recent U.N. report estimates that, in 2015, a record 65 million people were uprooted, mainly in the Greater Middle East. Tens of millions of them crossed borders and became refugees, including staggering numbers of children, many separated from their parents.  So perhaps this really is the century of the lost child. — America’s a Super Power — But What Does That Mean If the Entire World Is Falling Apart?

President Obama spoke about the need for real change and new “practices” following the murders by police officers of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. He followed that by stating last weekend, “One of the great things about America is that individual citizens and groups of citizens can petition their government, can protest, can speak truth to power. And that is sometimes messy and controversial but because of that ability to protest and engage in free speech, America over time has gotten better. We’ve all benefited from that.” But the real truth is that federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, under the Obama administration, are continuing to fuel and encourage a repressive crackdown on peaceful demonstrators exercising their First Amendment rights and moving for social change in America. — FBI Greenlights Crackdown on Black Lives Matter Protesters

Old Guard Labor Party Bureaucrats Deny Results of a Democratic Election Which ‘The Good Old Boys Club’ Lost by 66%!:

The Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party has been suspended and its recent election results annulled, according to its new secretary. On Saturday (July 9), the city’s Labour party voted for its new executive committee – and Corbyn supporters took the top jobs. But the recently-elected secretary Greg Hadfield said this afternoon the branch received a letter from Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), which said it had been suspended. Mr Hadfield said: “We are going to go ahead with the first meeting of the executive committee on Tuesday. “It is only three days since up to two thirds of voters of the 6,000 members voted for the new executive committee. “We are not going to be cowed by such undemocratic and inexplicable intervention, whose only motivation is the fact that so many people in the biggest party, with the biggest number of votes, won by the biggest majority to keep Jeremy Corbyn as our leader.” — Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party suspended by NEC

Videos of the Day:

Democracy Now! : “Colonial Control Board” Poised to Have Hands on Puerto Rico’s Finances

Bodycam Video Shows Police Shooting Of Unarmed 19-Year-Old In Fresno

Corbyn delivers anti- austerity opposition to #QueensSpeech

Labour’s Civil War: Defend Corbyn! Fight for Socialism!


Donald Trump Praises Dictators, But Hillary Clinton Befriends Them: While Hillary Clinton runs ads criticizing Donald Trump for praising dictators, Clinton herself has a history of alliances with strongmen in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Honduras. By Alex EmmonsClintonDictatorsDirty Obama Secrets: From Warsaw to Dallas and Baton Rouge: One of Barack Obama’s dirty little secrets when he first ran for the United States presidency was that he was first and foremost an Empire man. Beneath his illusory and carefully crafted brand as an antiwar candidate and behind the primacy of domestic questions (chiefly the onset of the Great Recession and the color of the mixed-race Obama’s skin) in the 2008 election, Obama’s main goal was to sit atop the “Great Game” of global empire. All his stump speaking on “hope” and “change” in the homeland was just fluff on the path to wielding power on the world stage, the main place where the U.S. presidents are free to make history. by Paul StreetPaulStreetFBI Greenlights Crackdown on Black Lives Matter Protesters By Mara Verheyden-HilliardFBIGreenlightsAmerica’s a Super Power — But What Does That Mean If the Entire World Is Falling Apart?: The United States is the default superpower in an ever more recalcitrant world. By Tom EngelhardtSuperpowerLone-Wolf Terrorism: the Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost: On Thursday, July 7th, Micah Johnson shot and killed four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer in what authorities called a “sniper ambush.”  Endless media reports remind people that this was the worst episode in police killings since the nightmare of 9/11.  CounterPunch’s Eoin Higgins details the events and how the Dallas police executed Johnson as an act of anti-terrorist warfare. by David RosenLone-WolfTerrorismEnvironment:

Ongoing/Big Energy Disasters:

Black Liberation/Civil Rights:

 Obama has failed victims of racism and police brutality: The president and his cheerleaders refused to engage deeply with systemic problems facing our country. That came back to haunt America last week By Cornel West CornelWestThe “Fundamentalism” in Police Operations: As police murders accumulate, and police chiefs get fired and replaced because they cannot stop it (as in Oakland and San Francisco), the notion that this represents a political crisis becomes a truism. It is not a “crisis of policing,” which would suggest a situation beyond the capacities of the police. It is the police who have become the crisis. by Steve Martinot The“Fundamentalism”The Costs of Incarceration: How Prison Fees Maintain the Social and Economic Order of America by Caitlin Munchick

 Caught on Camera: Police Racism A recent wave of police violence against African Americans isn’t anything new. It’s just been caught on video. By Peter DreierPeterDreier Labor:


Real Average Weekly EarningsShadowA Travesty of Financial History: Bank Lobbyists will Applaud by Michael HudsonMichaelHudsonWallStreetOnParadeIs Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Legislation a Hoax?:  The problem with stereotyping Republicans is that when they are screaming from the rooftops about a legitimate fraud, Democrats don’t believe them — even when the evidence is overpowering that they are right.  By Pam Martens and Russ Martens MartensWorld:

The New Colonialism Britain’s scramble for Africa’s energy and mineral resources:

The continent of Africa is today facing a new colonial invasion, no less devastating in scale and impact than that which it suffered during the nineteenth century. As before, the new colonialism is driven by a determination to plunder the natural resources of Africa, especially its strategic energy and mineral resources. At the forefront of this ‘scramble for Africa’ are British companies, actively aided and abetted by the UK government.

Conclusion A New Colonialism?

The scale of the UK’s involvement in the exploitation of Africa’s minerals, oil and gas resources is staggering. The number of companies involved, the resource wealth they control and the profits they syphon away are astonishing. This leaves African countries losing tens of billions every year, higher than some countries’ Gross Domestic Product. Whilst Africa is stripped bare of its resources and of its revenues, leaving it poorer still, it still remains one of the main beneficiaries of British aid. NewColonialismLabour war over Jeremy Corbyn takes new twist as Unite votes for reselecting MPs every 5 years: Britain’s biggest union says MPs should face a vote by Labour members before every general election to ensure they “reflect their views”Corbyn Balance sheet of the movement against the French labour law: The [new French] labour law will be adopted in the National Assembly by 22 July, after final feedback from the Senate. The “Socialist” government has won this battle. To do so, they resorted to levels of police repression unprecedented in recent history, as well as a violent campaign of insults and stigmatization against the activists of the CGT involved in the struggle. Using the presence of “thugs” (“rioters”) as a pretext to discredit the movement, the government subjected the latest protests in Paris to massive police supervision and security screening, de facto restricting the right to demonstrate. By Jérôme Métellus FranceHealth, Education, and Welfare: