Daily News Digest March 17, 2017

Daily News Digest Archives

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.

Daily News Digest March 17, 2017

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!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

(St Patrick Was Not a Catholic or Irish):

Patrick and the Early Celtic Church

Many have heard stories of the “Patron Saint” of Ireland: Patrick. But of these stories that abound, and the beliefs that are held concerning him, much is quite erroneous. Many think that Patrick (born ca. 360 CE) was Irish — he was not, but rather he was of Scottish/British origin.

“The place of his birth was Bonnaven, which lay between the Scottish towns Dumbarton and Glasgow, and was then reckoned to the province of Britain. This village, in memory of Patricius, received the name of Kil-Patrick or Kirk-Patrick. His father, a deacon in the village church, gave him a careful education.” (Dr. August Neander, General History of the Christian Religion and Church, Vol. II, p.122. Boston: 1855).

“Patrick himself writes in his Confession: ‘I, Patrick, …had Calpornius for my father, a deacon, a son of the late Potitus, the presbyter, who dwelt in the village of Banavan….I was captured. I was almost sixteen years of age…and taken to Ireland in captivity with many thousand men.'” (William Cathcart, D. D., The Ancient British and Irish Churches, p.127).

“Patrick, a son of a Christian family in southern Scotland, was carried off to Ireland by pirates about 376 A. D. Here, in slavery, he gave his heart to God and, after six years of servitude, escaped, returning to his home in Scotland. But he could not forget the spiritual need of these poor heathen, and after ten years he returned to Ireland as a missionary of the Celtic church.” (ibid, p. 70).

Many also believe Patrick to be of the Roman Catholic system, yet in Patrick’s own Confession which we read part of above, he claims that his father was a deacon and his grandfather a presbyter. While the Roman Catholic Church holds the doctrine of “sacerdotal celibacy,” wherein members of its ministry are to remain unmarried and thus virgins, the ministry of the Celtic Churches held no such doctrine. This is one of many doctrinal distinctions between the two faith sytems. The claims that Patrick was a Roman Catholic are mere fabrications as we shall see clearly. Read More

Bill Bigelow: The Real Irish American Story Not Taught in Schools

From Hunger on Trial Teaching Activity

To support the famine relief effort, British tax policy required landlords to pay the local taxes of their poorest tenant farmers, leading many landlords to forcibly evict struggling farmers and destroy their cottages in order to save money.

“Wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or get pinched.” That pretty much sums up the Irish-American “curriculum” that I learned when I was in school. Yes, I recall a nod to the so-called Potato Famine, but it was mentioned only in passing.

Sadly, today’s high school textbooks continue to largely ignore the famine, despite the fact that it was responsible for unimaginable suffering and the deaths of more than a million Irish peasants, and that it triggered the greatest wave of Irish immigration in U.S. history. Nor do textbooks make any attempt to help students link famines past and present. Read More

Image of the Day:

Rising Inequality Quote of the Day:

This is one of those political moments where there are bright lines which distinguish friends from foes. The American people have always wanted real healthcare for everyone and the only practical way to get that is to simply lower the Medicare age down to zero.  Those who say it cannot be done or should not be tried are on one side and the rest of us are on the other. That is a bright line and Our Revolution has placed itself on the wrong side. The question of war and global empire is another bright line.  Ossoff touts his top secret security clearance obtained by working on Capitol Hill as a national security staffer. But so far, in the tradition of warmongering corporate Democrats he has little or nothing to say about Trump’s one-upping the warlike Democrats with his ten percent hike in the military budget, and when he does have something to say it will be about Russia. This is the kind of Democrat that gets a DNC endorsement and a million dollars from the likes of Tom Perez, and the endorsement of John Lewis and Our Revolution, again on the wrong side of another bright line. We haven’t heard from Ossoff on school privatization, raising the minimum wage or championing the right to organize unions and strike, but apparently those too are outside and beyond the pale of respectable Democrats, and Berniecrats too.  These constitute still another bright line. Revolutions are not made by people with their eye on this week’s polling or next week selection. Revolutionaries set lofty goals that some deem unachievable, and that their foes declare illegitimate.  If politics is the art of the possible, politicians and political organizations who deem opposing war and militarism, fighting for Medicare for all impractical and impossible are peddling a politics of uselessness, in which the people’s needs cannot be satisfied, a politics where peace, jobs and justice are impossible.  Maybe “Our Revolution” ought to change its name. — The Bright Lines: Who Will Fight For Medicare For All, Who Will Stand Against Militarism and Austerity? Not John Ossoff or Our Revolution.

Videos of the Day:

February Job Growth Barely Made Dent in Record Low Labor Force Participation Newest government data still show trends of low wage job creation, racial disparities in employment, and workers continuing to leave the labor force, says economist Bill Black

Trump’s 2005 Tax Forms: ‘Like Going to Dinner And Being Served Pictures of Food’ Economists James Henry and Bill Black hypothesize that there are fraudulent and criminal activities lurking within Trump’s unreleased Tax forms


Donald Trump Isn’t Even Pretending to Oppose Goldman Sachs Anymore The continuity of Wall Street’s dominant role in American politics — regardless of what party sits in power or how reviled the financial industry finds itself across the country — was perhaps never more evident than when Jake Siewert, now a Goldman Sachs spokesperson, on Tuesday praised the selection of Jim Donovan, a Goldman Sachs managing director, for the No. 2 position in the Treasury Department under Steve Mnuchin, himself a former Goldman Sachs partner. By David Dayen Trump’s Budget Proposal Puts Border Wall and War Machine First, America’s Most Vulnerable LastDonald Trump’s $1.15 trillion government spending plan slashes programs that help those in need while redirecting taxpayer dollars to wage war on undocumented immigrants and boost military allowance by billions. By Natasha Hakimi

Why Progressives Should Care About US Agricultural Policy A small, well-managed organic farm earns more per acre in one year than an industrial farm does in 30 years, and pays more in taxes per acre annually than a large farm will in 100 years. Instead of subsiding corporate agribusinesses, we should be pushing tax breaks for the small family farmers who work the land and have the freedom to experiment. By Mark Willsey

Class, Media and the U.S. Election by Teresa L. Ebert and Mas’ud Zavarzadeh

Judge Blocks Ban: “Human Decency” Over Trump’s “Disgraceful” Discrimination Citing establishment clause of the First Amendment, federal judge orders nationwide injunction against president’s immigration ban by Common Dreams staff

Black Liberation/ Civil Rights:

The U.S. Deep State Rules – On Behalf of the Ruling Class The various organs of the Deep State, including the corporate media, work hard to convince the public that the Deep State does not exist. (Kind of like that story about the Devil.) In fact, the Deep State runs the show. “The truth is that an oligarchy rules, and makes war on whomever it chooses — internationally and domestically — for the benefit of corporate capital.” It has neutralized a sitting president, less than two months in office. by BAR executive editor Glen FordThe Bright Lines: Who Will Fight For Medicare For All, Who Will Stand Against Militarism and Austerity? Not John Ossoff or Our Revolution. If politics is the art of the possible, what do supposedly progressive politicians and political organizations fight for after they decide that jobs, justice and peace are impossible?  Do they fight for their positions and prerogatives?  For the biggest campaign contributions?  It’s not hard to tell who is on the side of the people.  There are after all, bright lines. by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon Environment:

Too early spring The book that triggered the environmental movement in America was Silent Spring, published by Rachel Carson in 1962. The subject of the book was the indiscriminate use of pesticides such as DDT — which was banned by the federal government a few years later, in part a result of the outcry that Carson had raised. The title refers to the fact that flagrant abuse of these chemicals was killing not just insects but some of the floral glory of springtime. I was thinking of that book when the New York Times published a fascinating short piece tonight on climate change and the impact it’s been having on the life cycle of plants and trees in the continental United States. Were you to publish the article in a book format, it might be called (in an ode to an earlier famous short story) Too Early Spring. By Stuart Smith

The Silent Spring  Ongoing Big Energy Crisis:


If the organized workers become fully conscious of their combined power and learn to use it in their own interests, no power inside this country or outside could stand up against them. Instead of the bosses dictating terms to the workers, they could, as they should, dictate terms to the bosses. Even today, in scattered strike situations, detachments of workers demonstrate their invincibility. They sweep forward against the bosses, against administration “troubleshooters,” against military men, and even against their own top leaders, to win their demands. The employers feel the enormous power of the workers and often assess it more accurately than the workers or their leaders. The bosses know that, by themselves, they cannot curb labor nor deny its demands. From all sides now the employers are summoning allies to their aid: government officials, defense commissioners, arbitrators, preachers of patriotism, army officers and, most important of all today, their lieutenants in the ranks of labor itself: Green, Hillman, Murray, Tobin, Lewis, and their staffs. The function of these labor lieutenants and their policy of class collaboration is to lower the self-confidence of organized labor, to underestimate its strength, to keep it from independent class action, and to weaken its will to struggle and to win. Fourth International, January 1941, American Labor and the War

One must accentuate especially the role which Jack London attributes to the labor bureaucracy and to the labor aristocracy in the further fate of mankind. Thanks to their support, the American plutocracy not only succeeds in defeating the workers’ insurrection but also in keeping its iron dictatorship during the following three centuries. We will not dispute with the poet the delay which can but seem to us too long. However, it is not a question of Jack London’s pessimism, but of his passionate effort to shake those who are lulled by routine, to force them to open their eyes and to see what is and what approaches. The artist is audaciously utilizing the methods of hyperbole. He is bringing the tendencies rooted in capitalism: of oppression, cruelty, bestiality, betrayal, to their extreme expression. He is operating with centuries in order to measure the tyrannical will of the exploiters and the treacherous rôle of the labor bureaucracy. But his most “romantic” hyperboles are finally much more realistic than the bookkeeper-like calculations of the so-called “sober politicians.”  It is easy to imagine with what a condescending perplexity the official socialist thinking of that time met Jack London’s menacing prophecies. If one took the trouble to look over the reviews of The Iron Heel at that time in the German Neue Zeit and Vorwärts, in the Austrian Kampf and Arbeiterzeitung, as well as in the other socialist publications of Europe and America, he could easily convince himself that the thirty-year-old “romanticist” saw incomparably more clearly and farther than all the social-democratic leaders of that time taken together. But Jack London bears comparison in this domain not only with the reformists. One can say with assurance that in 1907 not one of the revolutionary Marxists, not excluding Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg, imagined so fully the ominous perspective of the alliance between finance capital and labor aristocracy. This suffices in itself to determine the specific weight of the novel.  The chapter, The Roaring Abysmal Beast, undoubtedly constitutes the focus of the book. At the time when the novel appeared this apocalyptical chapter must have seemed to be the boundary of hyperbolism. However, the consequent happenings have almost surpassed it. And the last word of class struggle has not yet been said by far! The “Abysmal Beast” is to the extreme degree oppressed, humiliated, and degenerated people. Who would now dare to speak for this reason about the artist’s pessimism? No, London is an optimist, only a penetrating and farsighted one. “Look into what kind of abyss the bourgeoisie will hurl you down, if you don’t finish with them!” This is his thought. Today it sounds incomparably more real and sharp than thirty years ago. But still more astonishing is the genuinely prophetic vision of the methods by which the Iron Heel will sustain its domination over crushed mankind. London manifests remarkable freedom from reformistic pacifist illusions. In this picture of the future there remains not a trace of democracy and peaceful progress. Over the mass of the deprived rise the castes of labor aristocracy, of praetorian army, of an all-penetrating police, with the financial oligarchy at the top. In reading it one does not believe his own eyes: it is precisely the picture of fascism, of its economy, of its governmental technique, its political psychology! The fact is incontestable: in 1907 Jack London already foresaw and described the fascist regime as the inevitable result of the defeat of the proletarian revolution. Whatever may be the single “errors” of the novel — and they exist — we cannot help inclining before the powerful intuition of the revolutionary artist. — Trotsky and the Iron Heel

The Ruling Class Takes Aim: Labor Must Unite and Fight! In classic “divide and rule” fashion, Donald Trump seeks to drive a wedge into the working class. By giving tiny crumbs to a few and scapegoating others, he hopes to distract us from the real source of the problems faced by all workers: capitalism. Unfortunately, the current crop of labor leaders has led the movement into a dead end. With this or that exception, they have accepted decades of concessions and moved might and main to keep their own members in check. In the name of a class-collaborationist “team partnership,” they use the unions to control the workers and impose give-backs on behalf of the bosses. Far from representing the workers’ interests as a whole, the union bureaucrats represent an objective obstacle to working class militancy and struggle. By John Peterson


Once Again, Wall Street Salary and Bonuses Show America’s Rich Are Getting Richer as Inequality Deepens Forget their base salaries—their bonuses could mean living wages for millions. By Steven Rosenfeld Shadow Government Statistics — Commentary No. 872, March 15, 2017 Real Wages have Fallen Since the Wage Price Freeze of 1972:

Graph 3 plots the seasonally-adjusted earnings as officially deflated by the BLS (red-line), and as adjusted for the ShadowStats-Alternate CPI Measure, 1990-Base (blue-line). When inflation-depressing methodologies of the 1990s began to kick-in, the artificially-weakened CPI-W (also used in calculating Social Security cost-of-living adjustments) helped to prop up the reported real earnings. Official real earnings today still have not recovered their inflation-adjusted levels of the early-1970s, and, at best, have been in a minimal uptrend for the last two decades (albeit spiked recently by negative headline inflation). Deflated by the ShadowStats (1990-Based) measure, real earnings have been in fairly-regular decline for the last four decades, which is much closer to common experience than the pattern suggested by the CPI-W. See the Public Commentary on Inflation Measurement for further detail.


Health, Science, Education, and Welfare: