Daily News Digest October 20, 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.

Democracy?: As the Capitalist Robber Barons Steal from the 99% — Only the 1% Voted For Austerity — The 99% Should Decide On Austerity — Not Just Those  Who Profit From Austerity! Under Austerity, All of the World Will Eventually Be Pauperized, Humbled, and Desecrated Like Greece and Puerto Rico!

Daily News Digest October 20, 2017

Image of the Day:

 ‘Grabbing Em’ Trump’s rolling back birth control access while continuing to oppose abortion rights.  By Khalil BendibQuotes of the Day:

Then Alexander took the audience to school. She pulled no punches, exposing capitalism — as well as a fraudulent “free market” that uses black and brown bodies as commodities — for the dehumanizing vulture that it is. “Can we honestly imagine that the drug-reform victories last year in all those states would have been possible in the midst of the crack epidemic? Just for a moment, try to imagine the nation legalizing any drug, of any kind, in the middle of any drug epidemic that was affecting primarily black and brown people,” Alexander said, urging the rapt audience to interrogate the truth in front of us and the scars we bear. — Michelle Alexander on the War on Drugs: The Color of Drug Users Got Whiter, the Nation Got Nicer

“The Black elite’s job is to keep the lid on Black protest.” Ferguson thus created a crisis, not just for the ruling order in general, but also for the corporate-dependent Black Misleadership Class, rooted in the Democratic Party. The first casualties were the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, as well as lesser lights of their ilk, whose legitimacy as Black leaders was rejected by a new cadre of activists. The Democratic National Committee’s attempt to absorb #BlackLivesMatter was also rebuffed – for the time being, at least – in the late summer of 2015, when #BLM leaders declared: “The Democratic Party, like the Republican and all political parties, have historically attempted to control or contain Black people’s efforts to liberate ourselves. True change requires real struggle, and that struggle will be in the streets and led by the people, not by a political party.” Just two months before a Ferguson cop gunned down Michael Brown, the Congressional Black Caucus showed its true allegiances when 80 percent of its members voted against a bill that would have halted Pentagon transfers of weapons, gear and training to local police departments. (See BAR, “The Treasonous 32: Four-Fifths of Black Caucus Helps Cops Murder Their Constituents.”) “Ferguson created a crisis for the corporate-dependent Black Misleadership Class, rooted in the Democratic Party.” Two years later, when all of Black America was in mourning or engaged in outraged action over the police murders of Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, and Philando Castile, in Minnesota, the Congressional Black Caucus tried to change the subject, staging a diversionary sit-down on the floor of the U.S. House demanding gun control — as if that had anything to do with mass police killings of Black people. With the defeat of corporatist Democrat Hillary Clinton by the overt racist Donald Trump, the Black Caucus exited from reality-based politics altogether. Atlanta Congressman John Lewis forgot all about Republican voter suppression, which had stolen at least two presidential elections in this century and surely played a decisive role in Trump’s 2016 victory. Instead, the first thing out of Lewis’ mouth after the Electoral College verdict was “…Russians!” And that’s all the Black Caucus has talked about, ever since. Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters, who were among the eight Black Caucus members that voted to halt the Pentagon’s wholesale militarization of local police in 2014, have now made common cause with the rest of the Caucus in demanding that Facebook, Google and other social media gatekeepers censor their pages to prohibit “promotion of division and racial animosity and racial hatred.” Google was eager to interpret this as a mandate to censor the Left. The corporation openly brags that it has altered its algorithms to suppress “controversial” subject matter, resulting in dramatic declines in visitation to a whole range of left-wing web sites, especially those singled out by the Washington Post, right after the election, as giving aid and comfort to Russia. (Black Agenda Report is the only Black site targeted by the Post.) — Glen Ford

America has now been through various iterations of “it’s time to stop bashing Wall Street” by writers who seem to easily get air time or plenty of print space to make their case. An OpEd in the New York Times today is the latest in this endless series. We’ll get to that column shortly, but first some necessary background. Wall Street did not accidentally run a barge aground and leave a small oil slick on the Hudson River. Wall Street did not accidentally release tainted lettuce that sickened a few dozen people. What Wall Street did was intentional and criminal: it financially engineered a toxic subprime house of cards which it knew from its own internal reviews was going to collapse; it then molded the toxic product into inscrutable bundles; it sold the bundles to unsuspecting investors around the globe while making side bets that it would all come crashing down. Then, after causing the greatest financial collapse in the United States since the Great Depression, Wall Street’s unrepentant scoundrels paid themselves billions of dollars in bonuses with taxpayer bailout funds. One of the largest wrongdoers of this era, Citigroup, received the largest taxpayer bailout in history (over $2.5 trillion in loans, cash infusions and asset guarantees) and while this was occurring, one of its executives, Michael Froman, was staffing up the administration of the next President of the United States, Barack Obama, including an accepted recommendation for the head of the Justice Department. The 2007-2009 financial crash was more than the product of greed. There was both knowing and criminal wrongdoing, but none of those responsible have gone to jail. None of the regulatory gaps that allowed this to happen have been rectified. The biggest Wall Street banks have grown even bigger and remain too-big-to-fail; Wall Street is still paying the rating agencies for their Triple-A ratings; highly speculative Wall Street firms are still allowed to hold trillions of dollars in taxpayer-backstopped insured deposits in the commercial banks that they are allowed to own under a Byzantine bank-holding company structure with thousands of far-flung subsidiaries around the ßdollars of derivatives inside their insured depository banks – something the public was assured would end under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation. — Pam and Russ Martens, The Power Players Behind Silencing Wall Street Reformers

Videos of the Day:

 Prison vs. School The difference is blurring

California Judge Delivers ‘Knockout Punch’ to RICO Case Against Greens A California judge dismissed the charges from logging giant Resolute and awarded Greenpeace and other defendants their attorneys’ fees. ‘It could not have gone any better,’ says Todd Paglia, executive director of Stand.earth and a defendant in the case

Secretive Billionaire Wants to Expand Fossil Fuel Empire in the US  James Ratcliffe, the billionaire owner of the chemical giant Ineos Corporation, is pushing for a dangerous pipeline through Pennsylvania, while the company quietly works to start fracking operations in Scotland and the UK, says Food & Water Watch’s Patrick Woodall


National parks for all: that’s a populist cry we need Consider, for instance, America’s public lands – they offer a compelling case in point. The national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and more make up one of our country’s most beloved and iconic social institutions. Together they represent perhaps the greatest accumulation of collective wealth and beauty in the world. Yet our political leaders neglect these lands with shocking recklessness. By Jimmy Tobias Environment:

It is becoming clear that the struggle for the environment is a fight for human rights and the survival of the species–a struggle for environmental justice. We need to defend, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, humanity’s “Unalienable Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” We should demand that:  (1) All products must be tested for toxicity before being produced for the market. The present practice of experimenting on human beings and waiting for the human body counts before determining that substances are toxic must be stopped! (2) The production of toxic substances must be stopped and the least toxic alternatives must be used until all toxins can be eliminated from use! (3) Gravity, wind, and solar power must be developed to replace fossil fuels and nucleal power as sources of energy. The top priority throughout the world must be the elimination of pollution and the development of science to maintain the earth as a healthy biosphere for humanity;  (4) The squandering of trillions of dollars on military spending must stop and these trillions of dollars must be used to repair the environment! (In 1991, even after the end of the Cold War, military spending was almost 1 trillion dollars.); and (5)  There must be a 100 percent tax on the profits of companies that pollute!The environmental movement has raised many of these demands. In the past 30 years, many laws have been written incorporating some of these concepts. Yet despite these laws, environmental destruction has been allowed to proceed because these regulations have always been compromised by the incorporation of the concept of economic feasibility. ‘Economic feasibility’ means that the profitability of an economic enterprise cannot be subordinated to environmental needs. Therefore, environmental and safety laws, under capitalism, have always been a compromise between science and business. — Roland Sheppard, Whither Humanity? The Environmental Crisis of Capitalism

Greenwashing: Seduced by Greed: the Perils of Environmental Collaboration Back in the mid-’90s, Republican Gov. Marc Racicot and the natural resource extraction industries came up with a dandy strategy to divide and conquer environmentalists and conservationists. It was called “collaboration” and began with Racicot’s hand-picked Consensus Council. The concept was simple: put some malleable representatives of a few organizations in the room with industry representatives/lobbyists and find “consensus” on natural resource issues. by George Ochenski

Ongoing Big Energy Crisis:

Black Liberation/Civil Rights:

House (of Representatives) Negroes Rally Against Russia For the Black elite, ‘resistance’ means defense of the Democratic Party against all challengers – including independent political challenges from grassroots Black America.”“The Congressional Black Caucus is “the heart and soul of the resistance movement in Congress,” said California Rep. Barbara Lee , speaking at a “State of Black America” panel at Laney College, in Oakland, last week. Lee’s right. She and her Black corporate Democratic colleagues are in the forefront of a kind of “resistance” — but not resistance to the routine murder of Blacks by police, or the economic race to the bottom led by the Caucus’s patrons on Wall Street, or to gentrification, hyper-militarization and war. Instead, the Black Caucus has been waging a desperate resistance to the incipient grassroots movement that emerged in Ferguson, Missouri, three years ago. By Glen Ford, BAR executive editor Democrats Deploy the #BlackLivesMatter Brand for 2018 Campaign — The Electoral Justice Project  It was a bright cold Chicago day in January or February 1976. I was working as a security guard at an A&P store on 35th street. I had no interest in catching shoplifters, I was going to school, working two jobs and it was all I could do to stay awake so nobody would steal the gun off my hip. Bobby Rush, former co-leader of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, nowadays a 20 year congressman walked in. I’d been a rank and file member of the BPP in Chicago 6 and 7 years earlier, and worked in Bobby’s first political campaign for ward committeeman only two years before. By Bruce A. Dixon, BAR managing editorLabor:

The New Slavery: Why Are Women Prisoners Battling California Wildfires for as Little as $1 a Day? As raging wildfires in California scorch more than 200,000 acres — roughly the size of New York City — more than 11,000 firefighters are battling the blazes, and a number of them are prisoners, including many women inmates. We speak to Romarilyn Ralston with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners-Los Angeles Chapter, who is the program coordinator for Project Rebound at Cal State University. Romarilyn experienced 23 years of incarceration, and while she was incarcerated, she was a fire camp trainer and a clerk for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Reporter Jaime Lowe also joins us to discuss her New York Times Magazine report, “The Incarcerated Women Who Fight California’s Wildfires.”


The Power Players Behind Silencing Wall Street Reformers By Pam Martens and Russ Martens


 Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle and the dead-end of the ruling class  President Jacob Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle is deepening the troubles of the ANC and could be the prelude to the eventual breakup of the tripartite alliance of the ANC, COSATU and the SACP. By Ben Morken

A Family’s Long Search for Answers After Israel’s Killing of a Palestinian-American Teen By Alex Kane Health, Science, Education, and Welfare:

Make Big Pharma Pay for the Opioid Crisis Big Pharma is the culprit for the opioid crisis we have today.  This is about crime in the suites.   Big Pharma is the biggest legal drug pusher. The 2017 ranking of just the top 10 U.S. biotech and pharmaceutical companies equals $321 billion, based on revenue, according to a current Financial Times equity screener database. Drug overdoses, primarily from opioids are now the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50.  In 2016, drug overdoses killed more people than guns or car accidents. by Karen Hicks